Controls Engineer Salary: How Much Can You Make?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

This guide covers top-rated employers, in-demand industries, and tips for increasing your current salary.

[Featured Image] A controls engineer works on machinery with tools in a manufacturing organization.

Control engineering refers to the management, design, and optimization of control systems. Control systems are sets of devices that regulate the behavior of other devices or systems. This role is important because it ensures the safety, efficiency, and quality of manufacturing processes. Below, you can explore controls engineer salary insights by expertise level, location, and company. 

What is a controls engineer?

A controls engineer or control systems engineer oversees and analyzes the systems involved with equipment production. Their primary responsibility is to enhance the design, layout, and placement of devices or machinery. These processes involve mechanical devices as well as organization members and stakeholders. For this reason, control engineers are technically proficient, highly skilled communicators.

Control engineer job outlook 2023

Control systems engineers belong to the occupational field of architecture and engineering. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 6 percent job growth for these careers, most of which can be attributed to engineering rather than architecture [1]. This growth statistic translates into around 146,000 new roles. Some of the most in-demand services include robotics, oil and gas, and energy. As of May 2023, 56,085 controls engineer jobs are listed on Glassdoor [2]. 

Average controls engineer salary in the US

The average controls engineer salary in the US is $84,874 per year. Glassdoor reports the median additional pay per year to be $19,980. Additional wages may represent profit-sharing, commissions, or bonuses. Combining the average controls engineer salary with the median additional income per year equals a total annual pay of $104,854 [3]. 

Controls engineer salaries by job title and experience

Controls engineer jobs can vary slightly in responsibilities and pay, despite the primary job function being the same. Often, these differences depend on the industry or specialization to which the role belongs. Here are a few different job titles in this field and their respective salaries:

*Below US salary information was sourced from Glassdoor in May 2023. Figures include the average salary and median yearly additional pay.

  • Entry-level Controls Engineer salary - $74,098

  • Junior Controls Engineer salary - $90,857

  • Senior Controls Engineer salary - $132,644

  • Project Controls Engineer salary - $92,639

  • Control Systems Engineer salary - $101,535

  • Process Control Engineer salary - $95,748

  • Automation Controls Engineer salary - $109,004

  • Electrical Controls Engineer salary - $106,126

Controls engineer salaries by location: 5 highest-paying cities

One of the factors that can influence the average salary of control systems engineers is location. Still, remember that factors like the cost of living can also impact wages.

*The following average US salaries were sourced from ZipRecruiter in May 2023 [4].

LocationAverage salary
San Jose, CA$126,727
Oakland, CA$124,975
Hayward, CA$121,021
Seattle, WA$120,874
Santa Cruz, CA$118,646

Top companies employing controls engineers in 2023

To determine the top companies, we looked at Glassdoor’s list of the top companies hiring for control engineer jobs. We further curated it to adequately represent several industries and eliminate companies with low employee ratings. Employee ratings are measured on a scale of one to five stars. They are calculated based on six categories: culture and values, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, senior management, compensation and benefits, and career opportunities. 

CompanyIndustryEmployee ratingControls engineer average annual US salary
CumminsTransportation Equipment Manufacturing4.2/5$128,632
HoneywellComputer Hardware Development4.0/5$131,913
SiemensElectrical & Electronic Manufacturing4.1/5$116,456
Burns & McDonnellConstruction4.2/5$101,645
ChevronOil & Gas Exploration & Production4.1/5$157,679
Lockheed MartinAerospace & Defense4.1/5$111,387

3 ways to increase your controls engineer salary

The average controls engineer salary is well above the US average wage of $45,760 per year for all occupations  [1]. You can take several actions to increase your salary further and build upon your expertise. For example, many job listings cite a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related discipline. However, some senior-level positions like a lead control systems engineer may require a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. These roles tend to pay higher than the average control engineer salary due to the levels of experience and expertise needed to perform them.

1. Earn Professional Certificates for essential skills.

Earning a Professional Certificate in a relevant area of expertise is an excellent way to demonstrate your value to employers. The list below matches a couple of essential skills for control engineers to certification programs you can use to gain them.

  • Risk management. Control engineers regularly confer with stakeholders to identify, assess, and manage risks. They are integral to the project planning process and must be confident in their decision-making ability. To increase your risk management capabilities, consider earning a certificate from the University of Leeds in Major Engineering Projects: Governance, Risk and Scope.

  • Leadership. Many control systems engineers lead engineering and automation teams through concept planning, configuration, and development. This responsibility requires high-level leadership and people management skills. You can enhance your engineering leadership skills with Rice University’s Leadership Development for Engineers Specialization

2. Enhance your resume.

Enhancing your resume is a vital step for any job seeker to take. One way to ensure that recruiters notice your resume is to match the language you use to describe your skill set to the language employers use in job postings. Often, employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to process applicants quickly. These systems filter by keywords, meaning you have a better chance of being selected if your language matches the language they’ve input in the ATS. You can read nine more ways to enhance your resume with the article below.

Read more: 10 Ways to Enhance Your Resume

3. Stay current with industry trends and technologies.

Controls engineers work in several different industries. Once you have decided on a specialization to pursue, consider following industry leaders and fellow professionals in that field. They likely post blogs and share social media insights that you can use to identify in-demand skills and tools. For example, r/controlengineering is a Reddit community of current or aspiring engineers who share wisdom and ask questions forum-style. The insight you gain from staying up to date on industry trends can help you further optimize your resume. 

Earn relevant credentials with Coursera

Take another step toward increasing your controls engineer salary with a certificate in Engineering Project Management from Rice University:

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Architecture and Engineering Occupations,” Accessed May 31, 2023.

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