An average Test Engineer in the United States can expect to take home roughly $71K annually. Cash earnings for Test Engineers — including $9K in bonuses and $10K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $50K to $99K depending on individual performance. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by location, but the specific employer and years of experience are influential factors as well. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a large number earn dental coverage. Most Test Engineers like their work and job satisfaction is high. The vast majority of Test Engineers (86 percent) who took the survey are men. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$52,692 - $97,795
(Median)
$53K
$71K
$98K
MEDIAN: $70,536
10%
50%
90%

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$15.88 - $42.54
(Median)
$16
$26
$43
MEDIAN: $25.00
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$34K$68K$102K
Salary
$52,692 - $97,795  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,081  
Profit Sharing
$40.55 - $9,863  
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).
)
$49,838 - $99,230  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,779
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$19$38$57
Hourly Rate
$15.88 - $42.54  
   
Overtime
$22.93 - $54.04  
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 - $9,081  
   
Profit Sharing
$40.55 - $9,863  
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).
)
$49,838 - $99,230  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 283
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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

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

Common Career Paths for Test Engineer


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Test Engineers may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Test Engineering Manager. The latter position pays an average of $104K annually. Going from Test Engineer to Senior Test Engineer is the transition that occurs most often in this field, where the paychecks are $88K. Many others choose to work as Electrical Engineers, where pay is typically $69K.

Test Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Test Engineer


Dominating the field, Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corporation, L-3 Communications, Cisco Systems Inc, and Qualcomm Inc are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Test Engineers. 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. Other leaders in compensation levels are The Boeing Company at $88K, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc at $86K, and Qualcomm Inc, where Test Engineers annually earn $85K.

Also approaching the lower end are Lockheed Martin Corp at $67K, Micron Technology, Inc. at $67K, and Honeywell International Inc at $69K.

Popular Skills for Test Engineer


Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in C, Labview, Test Automation, and C++ are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Microsoft Office, Quality Assurance / Quality Control, and Technical Writing. Those educated in Test Engineering tend to be well versed 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.


Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. 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. Test Engineers bring in $86K after working for 10 to 20 years. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $88K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $70,687

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

Santa Clara is home to an above-average pay rate for Test Engineers, 38 percent higher than the national average. Test Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+29 percent), San Diego (+15 percent), Auburn Hills (+11 percent), and Seattle (+11 percent). Chicago is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 4 percent.

Test Engineer Reviews

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

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Experience Affects Test Engineer Salaries




National Average
$71,000


Skills That Affect Test Engineer Salaries

C
up arrow 3%

Test Automation
up arrow 2%

Labview
up arrow 2%

C++
up arrow 1%

System Testing
0%

National Average
$71,000

Test Engineering
up arrow 2%

Data Analysis
up arrow 2%

Engineering Design
up arrow 2%

Test Planning
up arrow 3%

Electronic Troubleshooting
up arrow 4%

Software Test
up arrow 4%





Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 229 votes.

Gender

Female
14 %
Male
86 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
44%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

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