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Become A Head Engineer

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Working As A Head Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $107,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Head Engineer Do

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.

Duties

Mechanical engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem
  • Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design
  • Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
  • Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed
  • Oversee the manufacturing process for the device

Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.

Mechanical engineers design power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, as well as power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

Mechanical engineers design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators. They also design material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations.

Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.

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How To Become A Head Engineer

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineers who sell services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia.

Education

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

ABET accredits programs in engineering and engineering technology. Most employers prefer to hire students from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery. A creative mind is essential for this kind of work.

Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists. They must listen to and analyze different approaches made by other experts to complete the task at hand.

Math skills. Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems.

Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific discoveries and use them to design and build useful products.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a mechanical engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education to renew their licenses every year. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Several professional organizations offer a variety of certification programs for engineers to demonstrate competency in specific fields of mechanical engineering.

Advancement

A Ph.D. is essential for engineering faculty positions in higher education, as well as for some research and development programs. Mechanical engineers may earn graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology, broaden their education, and enhance their project management skills. Mechanical engineers may become administrators or managers after obtaining the requisite experience.

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Average Length of Employment
Chief Engineer 5.4 years
Principal Engineer 4.9 years
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Staff Engineer 4.2 years
Head Engineer 4.0 years
Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Team Lead Engineer 3.3 years
Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Head Engineer
Engineer 11.2%
Internship 7.8%
Owner 4.3%
Manager 4.1%
Consultant 3.4%
Top Careers After Head Engineer
Engineer 9.7%
Consultant 5.7%
Owner 5.5%
President 3.6%
Manager 3.6%
Technician 3.6%

Do you work as a Head Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$107,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$74,000
Min 10%
$107,000
Median 50%
$107,000
Median 50%
$107,000
Median 50%
$107,000
Median 50%
$107,000
Median 50%
$107,000
Median 50%
$107,000
Median 50%
$153,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Redwood City, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Head Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Head Engineer in the United States is $107,232 per year or $52 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $74,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $153,000.

Real Head Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Head of Engineering 1-0 Mortgage LLC New York, NY Feb 16, 2015 $250,000
Head of Product, People Insights and Engineering Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jan 18, 2016 $225,000
Head of Data Engineering & Science Myfitnesspal, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 20, 2016 $201,000 -
$220,000
Head of Mobile Engineering Pocket Gems, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 20, 2016 $200,366 -
$205,024
Head of Mobile Engineering Engagement Marketo, Inc. San Mateo, CA Sep 12, 2016 $200,366 -
$220,366
Head of Engineering Nokia Siemens Networks Us LLC Herndon, VA Oct 01, 2011 $200,000
Head of Search Engine Optimization Carfax, Inc. Centreville, VA May 19, 2016 $200,000
Head of Growth Engineering Gofundme Inc. Redwood City, CA May 09, 2016 $200,000
Head of Growth Engineering Gofundme Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 05, 2016 $200,000
Head of Technology, Engineering and Technology Elsevier Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $195,300 -
$205,300
Head of Engineering Realreal Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 03, 2015 $190,258
Head of Engineering, Renzu Surveymonkey Inc. Palo Alto, CA May 17, 2015 $190,000
Head of Engineering Therealreal, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 26, 2013 $185,000
Head of Engineering C3DNA, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 15, 2014 $150,000
Head of Systems Engineering Avogy, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 08, 2013 $150,000 -
$180,000
Head of Engineering Forgame Us Corporation Burlingame, CA Aug 20, 2015 $150,000 -
$165,000
Head of Product and Engineering Skedadel, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 01, 2015 $150,000
Head of Systems Engineering Avogy, Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 03, 2014 $150,000 -
$180,000
Head of Engineering Eminent Inc. DBA Revolve Clothing Cerritos, CA Jan 29, 2016 $147,368
Head of Engineering Eminent Inc. Cerritos, CA Jul 29, 2014 $145,000
Head of Video Engineering Altia Systems, Inc. Cupertino, CA May 29, 2013 $129,394
Head of Video Engineering Ngcodec, Inc. San Jose, CA May 20, 2014 $129,394
Head of Engineering The Mill Group, Inc. Chicago, IL Mar 20, 2015 $126,148
Head IOS Engineer ROOY, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 10, 2015 $126,000
Head IOS Engineer ROOY, Inc. Seattle, WA Dec 28, 2015 $126,000
Head of Engineering The Mill Group, Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2015 $125,000 -
$135,000
Head of Gyft Web Engineering GYFT, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 20, 2016 $125,000
Head of Engineering Cask Data, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Nov 27, 2015 $124,758 -
$160,000

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Top Skills for A Head Engineer

  1. Engineering Department
  2. Audio Equipment
  3. Platform
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Defined, promoted and maintained adopted curriculum and program support in the engineering department.
  • Directed, developed and implemented the design of complex control software for factory production equipment using the KaSiP manufacturing platform.
  • Provide technical support to maintenance people and instrumentation projects.
  • Guided maintenance and repair operations for three five-story office buildings, including HVACR, electrical, plumbing, and locksmith services.
  • Developed a facility preventative maintenance program and implemented a computerized maintenance management system.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Head Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. Texas
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Colorado
  5. California
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Wyoming
  8. Arizona
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Michigan
  • (1,471 jobs)
  • (3,567 jobs)
  • (1,890 jobs)
  • (1,137 jobs)
  • (9,090 jobs)
  • (128 jobs)
  • (48 jobs)
  • (770 jobs)
  • (443 jobs)
  • (1,342 jobs)

Head Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

78.2%

Unknown

12.6%

Female

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

57.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

10.7%

Unknown

6.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.0%

French

8.0%

German

8.0%

Russian

6.0%

Chinese

6.0%

Mandarin

4.0%

Carrier

4.0%

Tagalog

4.0%

Portuguese

4.0%

Japanese

4.0%

Arabic

4.0%

Swedish

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Dutch

2.0%

Korean

2.0%

Indonesian

2.0%

Ukrainian

2.0%

Malay

2.0%

Thai

2.0%

Cebuano

2.0%
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Head Engineer Education

Schools

Full Sail University

13.0%

University of Phoenix

9.3%

Purdue University

7.4%

Carnegie Mellon University

5.6%

Institute of Audio Research

5.6%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

4.3%

North Carolina State University

4.3%

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

4.3%

Santa Clara University

4.3%

Berklee College of Music

4.3%

Oklahoma State University

4.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.7%

Pennsylvania State University

3.7%

New York University

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

Old Dominion University

3.7%

University of Texas at Austin

3.7%

University of Houston

3.7%

Iowa State University

3.7%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.7%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

16.8%

Business

14.4%

Electrical Engineering

10.4%

Engineering

10.1%

Civil Engineering

8.0%

Computer Science

7.1%

Music

4.5%

Management

3.7%

Chemical Engineering

3.4%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

2.9%

Finance

2.6%

Computer Engineering

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Automotive Technology

1.9%

Physics

1.9%

Project Management

1.8%

Marketing

1.8%

Drafting And Design

1.6%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.1%

Masters

24.5%

Other

19.0%

Associate

7.6%

Doctorate

5.2%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.1%
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