Automobile engines are not the only kind of engine a mechanical engineer might design.
Engineers who design engines are known as mechanical engineers. Those employed in the profession are trained to create a variety of mechanical systems. As a result, the salary for a mechanical engineer who works as an engine designer depends on the industry in which he works and the type of engines he designs.
The mean annual wage for a mechanical engineer was $83, 550, or $40.17 per hour, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made an average of $119, 950. The lowest-paid 10 percent averaged $51, 340 per year.
Mechanical engineers employed in the aerospace manufacturing industry make engines for aircraft of all kinds. As of 2011 these engineers earned an above-average mean annual wage of $89, 390, or $42.97 an hour. The aerospace industry was the third-largest employer of mechanical engineers, according to the BLS, with 11, 800 of these engineers working in the industry.
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Mechanical engineers in the automotive industry design auto and truck engines; they made $95, 080 per year, or $45.71 an hour, as of May 2011, according to the BLS. Although 6, 440 mechanical engineers were employed in motor vehicle manufacturing and the yearly average wage was more than $10, 000 above the average for the profession, neither figure was among the bureau's top five for employment or pay, respectively.
Mechanical engineers who create engines for the power transmission industry earned a mean annual wage of $78, 990 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. Those making train engines for the railroad manufacturing industry earned $73, 110 a year on average. Those in the industrial machinery manufacturing industry making engines for such machines earned $72, 770 on average.