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Engineer of Record Salary

Engineer of Record Salary

Engineer of Record Salary


I'm a licensed Structural Engineer in San Diego with over 10 years experience and recently been approached about a job opportunity. The job offer entails being engineer of record for all projects out of that office. At my current position I project manage, supervise, and design; however, the principal stamps and signs the projects, I do not. Is there a salary increase for becoming engineer of record or principal? If so, does anyone have an idea what a good salary might be in San Diego.


RE: Engineer of Record Salary

If you are going to stamp drawings, you better be a principal, meaning you will be buying into the company.

I don't know about San Diego, but I would expect a minimum of 150 to 200k.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

RE: Engineer of Record Salary


Is there a salary increase for becoming engineer of record or principal?
Depends on the market at the time.

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RE: Engineer of Record Salary

My thoughts are that becoming engineer of record with the corresponding liability would seem justify additional compensation, over say a senior engineer not stamping drawings. I've done quite a bit of research and can find nothing regarding this transition in an engineers career. Any thoughts would be helpful.

RE: Engineer of Record Salary

We do provide pay increases once an engineer gets licensed. All our engineers sign plans if they are the one's doing the design and/or have direct supervision....not just the principals.

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RE: Engineer of Record Salary

Thanks for the input. Any ideas about salary for someone supervising 2-3 engineers in a small firm (30 employees), being the engineer of record, with an SE in California and +10 years experience?

RE: Engineer of Record Salary

To quote Upton Sinclair...
"Whatever the market will bear".

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

RE: Engineer of Record Salary

According to SEA's 2016 salary survey, average for 10-13 years of experience is just shy of six figures.

Would guess that trends a little lower for a small firm, a bit higher for sealing drawings, and a bit higher for California.

Link to full report is here: Link

RE: Engineer of Record Salary


I wouldn't expect an increase solely based on stamping plans. Really, (in my opinion), you should already be doing that since per your description of job duties, you are essentially in responsible charge of the project.

That said, if you will be managing and directing others work (as well as stamping their end work product) then your role is no longer purely technical and yes, it likely merits some nominal increase due to the additional responsibilities above and beyond just doing the work yourself.

As far as a number goes, I agree with Mr. Hershey's table above - I'd try to get at least six figures for the extra work.

RE: Engineer of Record Salary

Agree with msquared48. One of the reasons it is good to be a principal when you are also EOR is that you are in essence the "employer" so, the only way your employer is going to get in the way of your EOR decisions is if you get in the way of yourself. Being a principal also allows for more direct dominion and control of budgets, schedules, and risk exposure (insurance) - very important to have significant input on these items, regardless. I'm making some big assumptions, based on my own experience, that if you become EOR in responsible charge for this new employer the job will come with a significant amount of added work. This can be a lot of non-engineering, supervisory, and administrative efforts on top of having to do the more complex engineering work if staff below you are not yet qualified, experienced, etc, and, you will also have increased liability exposure - make sure you are getting adequately compensated for all of what your new employer wants! msquared48's suggestion of 150-200K is a good range if you are EOR for "all projects". Benefits/profit sharing/bonus structure need to be considered though as part of the complete compensation package. Suggest figuring out your realistic minimum total compensation requirements (including benefits) and then negotiate the best deal you can get beyond your minimum. If the employer can't at least meet your minimum then walk away gracefully. Finally, and it should go without saying, if you go with this new employer make sure you can handle "all projects" - see CA Board Rules CCR Title 16, Division 5 section 404.1 especially 404.1.3.b

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