How to Become a

Product Engineer

The complete career guide to be a Product Engineer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $69,820
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 2.1%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Product engineers design new products, primarily for manufacturing companies. They may be employed to design a wide variety of products: appliances, electronics, vehicles, computers, etc. Their role is multi-faceted because it involves designing products that can be used to satisfy consumers and drive profits.


What is a Product Engineer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in product engineer roles:

  • Design different types of products that are desirable to consumers and profitable for companies
  • Develop cost models for proposed products to be used to determine budget and profitability
  • Create product roadmaps that consider time-to-production, development, and testing cycles
  • Conduct thorough testing on produced products to ensure proper functionality, durability, and reliability
  • Troubleshoot issues with produced products and recommend recalls if necessary

A Day in the Life

Product engineers typically work for manufacturing companies and are the individuals behind the development of exciting new products. They plan, design, and develop a variety of types of products used by consumers, such as appliances, electronics, computers, and vehicles. Product engineers are provided with a set of guidelines to be used when planning new products. They may seek to make products more durable, more functional, more ergonomic, or cheaper.

The goal of a product engineer is two-fold: they need to design products that will delight consumers while also resulting in profitability for the companies they work for. Often, product engineers work closely with project managers and cost estimators to select product features, materials, and components that result in a pricing model that won’t detract from purchases and will result in company return on investment (ROI).

Product engineers may also maintain the product roadmap for the products they design. They allocate certain amounts of time to research, development, testing, and production cycles in order to determine when a product will be complete and released to the public. They also conduct a significant amount of quality assurance testing during the research and development phases to ensure that products function as designed and are without flaw. Finally, they troubleshoot issues with produced products as needed.

Typical Work Schedule

Most product engineering roles are full-time positions conducted during normal business hours. Overtime may be required on occasion to support high production times or to meet deadlines.

Typical Employers

Most product engineers work in the manufacturing industry where new products are mass produced. However, product engineers may also work for industries like government, technology, and transportation, or they may work in research and development or for engineering companies.


How To Become a Product Engineer

The first step to becoming a product engineer is to earn a bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline. While some colleges may offer specializations in product engineering, specialization is not an absolute requirement. Degrees in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or mechanical engineering also offer the education needed for aspiring product engineers to succeed in the field. After graduation, you should be able to qualify for entry-level engineering positions at manufacturing companies.

After earning a degree, becoming a product engineer is mostly a process of gaining experience and proving your talents. Talented electrical engineers may start in technician or assistant engineering roles, but showing promise may allow them to move into higher-paying and more senior-level positions over time. Because product engineers are required to innovate and must be able to do so within a specified budget, full product engineering roles are usually offered to very experienced engineers.

To improve your chances of qualifying for open product engineering roles, you may want to consider pursuing a master’s degree or earning a professional certification or license. These additional credentials can prove your dedication to the field of product engineering and may help you stand out against even more experienced engineers. Common master’s degrees pursued by aspiring product engineers include product development engineering, product design, and product innovation.


Product Engineer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$50,300

Average

$69,820

High Range

$104,730

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$24/hr

Average

$34/hr

High Range

$50/hr

How do Product Engineer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Product Engineer's can make an average annual salary of $69,820, or $34 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $50,300 or $24 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #201 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Product Engineer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Product Engineers

  • 1.4%   Doctorate
  • 8.7%   Masters
  • 47.4%   Bachelors
  • 12.7%   Associates
  • 17.6%   College
  • 9.8%   High School
  • 2.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

38,400

2024 Est. Jobs

39,200

Job Growth Rate

2.1%

Est. New Jobs

800

How does Product Engineer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 800 jobs for a total of 39,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 2.1% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #547 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally


What Companies Employ The Most Product Engineers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 8,800 200 0%
Specialized design services 4,200 300 0%
Engineering services 2,400 300 0%

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