Test Engineer Salary

Median pay for Test Engineers in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $71K annually. In the world of Test Engineers, overall income ranges from $50K near the bottom to $100K at the top; this can include more than $9K from bonuses and more than $12K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the company, but geography and years of experience are influential factors as well. For the most part, Test Engineers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a large number earn dental coverage. Test Engineers who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 86 percent. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$52,601 - $98,741
$53K
$71K
$99K
MEDIAN: $70,603
10%
50%
90%

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$16.56 - $41.48
$17
$26
$41
MEDIAN: $25.65
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$52,601 - $98,741  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $8,842  
Profit Sharing
$39.15 - $11,807  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$49,967 - $100,283  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 1,744
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$16.56 - $41.48  
   
Overtime
$22.69 - $55.25  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $8,842  
   
Profit Sharing
$39.15 - $11,807  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$49,967 - $100,283  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 275

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Test Engineer

Test engineers are involved in creating and designing processes or experiments to test the quality of a product to be manufactured. Test engineers mainly deal with the inner workings of computer hardware and software; however, many test engineers work with a variety of different fields and test a wide range of equipment and products, from medical equipment such as X-ray machines to commercial transportation vehicles like airplanes. Some independence is expected of test engineers, so they must be able to work both on their own as well as with others as a team. These engineers work hand in hand with the hardware and software engineers to try to achieve a near flawless product. In these group settings, the engineers are involved in reviewing the many steps in designing a product. Test engineers are responsible for reviewing the initial schematics, the electrical wiring and finally the debugging towards the end. Despite working with others, most of the time the test engineers are left to themselves to decide whether the final product is of desirable quality. Test engineers have the last say in determining quality in many situations. To be a test engineer, one must have at least a bachelor’s in computer science, or something similar to that field such as electrical engineering. A master’s or PhD in these fields would be ideal for certain test engineer positions. They need to be familiar in various programming languages, such as Java or C++, as they will be involved in debugging various aspects of software. Additionally, prospective test engineers should be creative, have good problem solving skills, and work well under stressful situations.


Test Engineer Tasks

  • Understand complex systems to create test plans and cases.
  • Automate tests and interpret results.
  • Provide test result information to other teams to improve product quality.
  • Create tests to inform debugging, root cause analysis, and improvement recommendations.

Common Career Paths for Test Engineer


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Test Engineers may progress into high-paying roles like Test Engineering Manager, where median compensation is $104K annually. As Test Engineers progress in their field, many go on to become Senior Test Engineers. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $88K per year. Another common career choice for Test Engineers is to move into an Electrical Engineer role. Typically, Electrical Engineers get paid $69K.

Test Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Test Engineer


Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Cisco Systems Inc, L-3 Communications, and Qualcomm Inc are all popular places to work. The biggest paychecks can be found at Cisco Systems Inc — the median salary there is $93K; however, employees are subject to a wide range in pay, with the lowest salaries sitting near $65K and highest ones in the neighborhood of $117K. Northrop Grumman Corporation, Qualcomm Inc, and The Boeing Company also offer top salaries for Test Engineers. Workers at these firms can expect to earn about $88K, $85K, and $85K, respectively.

Flextronics International, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Honeywell International Inc also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $64K, $66K, and $69K-paychecks on average.

Popular Skills for Test Engineer


Test Engineers seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, skills in C, Labview, Test Automation, and C++ are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Microsoft Office, Quality Assurance / Quality Control, and Technical Writing. It is often found that people who know Test Engineering are also skilled in System Testing, Electronic Troubleshooting, and Test Automation.

Pay by Experience Level for Test Engineer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $65K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $79K. For Test Engineers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $86K. Test Engineers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $88K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $70,711

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Home to some of the best pay for Test Engineers, San Jose offers exceptional salaries, 33 percent above the national average. Test Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Mountain View (+32 percent), Seattle (+12 percent), Boston (+11 percent), and San Diego (+10 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Melbourne, 7 percent below the national average. Workers in Chicago and Los Angeles earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (3 percent less and 1 percent less, respectively).

Test Engineer Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Test Engineer?

Test Engineer in Santa Barbara:
"Test Engineer for Small Aerospace Manufacturing Company."
Pros: Multi-faceted. Great people and work atmosphere. Perform testing on Space Flight Hardware with no supervision. Endless learning. Amazing experience for first job out of college. Room for growth.
Cons: Understaffed and overworked. A lot of overtime. A lot of travel.

Test Engineer in Lisle:
"Organize Tests, Manage work load, analyze results, write rep."
Pros: Dynamic work with new challenges every project. Manage projects. Great office.
Cons: Workload very heavy at times. Priority projects come through and make other projects late.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Test Engineer

Gender

Female
14 %
Male
86 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 224 votes.
Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
45%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
7%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Test Engineer Salaries

▲24%

▲22%

▲12%

National Average
$71,000

▼7%

Skills That Affect Test Engineer Salaries

C
▲3%


▲2%

C++
▲1%

System Testing
▼0%

National Average
$71,000











Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 224 votes.

Gender

Female
14 %
Male
86 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
45%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 88%
dental benefits
Dental: 81%
vision benefits
Vision: 70%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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