ALEXANDRIA, VA—The average salary for engineers rose from $88,163 to $91,741 per year between 2000 and 2001, an increase of 4.06 percent, according to a survey by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). The median income for an engineer at the beginning of 2001 was $79,000 per year.

This information was derived from a questionnaire mailed to 53,458 members of the NSPE. Additional cash income included fees, bonuses, commissions and profits earned in addition to base salary, but specifically excluded overtime pay.

The survey reveals that engineers in the research and development function were among the most highly compensated, with a median annual income of $80,500. Engineers who described their primary function as "design" were the second most poorly compensated group, by function, in the study, with a median income slightly higher than those who described their function as "drafting/estimating." Design engineers reported a median income of $58,600 per year.

Engineers employed by state and local governments, civil and structural engineers in private practice, chemical and mechanical engineers in private practice and those in the transportation services and transportation equipment industries fell to the bottom of the list in terms of annual income. Median annual salaries for engineers in these lines of work ranged from $65,000 to just over $75,000.