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What Is the Average Sales Engineer Salary in the US?

career growth Jul 08, 2024

Read Time: 6 Minutes

 Are you interested in making a career pivot into tech as a sales engineer (SE)? To ensure you're making the right decision, it's important to learn how much this role makes in a year. Knowing the salary figures helps you plan your career better and negotiate higher pay.

Sales engineers earn an average salary between $102,000 and $281,000. The total compensation can vary depending on numerous factors.

In today's guide, we'll look at recent sales engineer salaries based on responses gathered from top websites. We'll also discuss the factors that affect the average salary of sales engineers.

Sales Engineer Salary Structure

The salary structure for a sales engineer typically includes a combination of base salary and variable pay, together forming the total on-target earnings (OTE). Here’s a breakdown of the common structure:

  • Base salary: This is the fixed annual income that provides financial stability. It generally forms a significant portion of the OTE, offering a predictable income regardless of performance metrics.
  • Variable pay: The remaining portion of the OTE comes from variable pay, which includes performance-based components such as commissions, bonuses, and incentives. This part of the salary is designed to reward SEs for meeting or exceeding sales targets and other performance goals.

Compensation Components

  • Cash compensation: This includes the base salary and any performance-based bonuses or commissions. These are typically awarded for achieving specific sales targets, closing deals, or meeting other key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Equity: Many companies, especially startups and tech firms, offer stock options or equity as part of the compensation package.
  • Benefits: Comprehensive benefits packages often include health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks such as paid time off, wellness programs, and flexible working hours.
  • Development and growth: Companies may also invest in the professional development of their SEs by providing funds for training, certifications, and advanced education. 

A Detailed Breakdown of Sales Engineer Salaries in the United States

"How much does a sales engineer make in a year?" is probably among your questions when making a career change or before accepting a job offer. Let's take a closer look below:

National Average Sales Engineer Salary

The average salary of a sales engineer in the United States ranges from $102,000 to $281,000. These figures include the base salary and additional pay based on data collected from anonymous sales engineer employees.

You may wonder why the difference between the lower and higher figures is vast. That's because several factors affect the final wage. 

For one, an enterprise sales engineer earns more than a similar role working in a startup.

Sales Engineer Salary Ranges by Experience

An experienced sales engineer can also earn more than an entry-level candidate.

In fact, according to Glassdoor users who prefer to share their details, early-career SEs can earn around $102,000 to $176,000 annually.

Meanwhile, sales engineers with one to three years of experience receive $112,000 to $191,000 per year.

Mid-career CEs with four to nine years of experience have an average salary of $129,000 to $248,000 yearly.

Finally, a senior sales engineer who's been working for more than a decade enjoys between $163,000 and $281,000. These figures are significantly higher than entry-level SEs.

Comparison of Sales Engineer Salaries Based on Location

Location can also impact the take-home pay of sales engineers.

SEs living in San Francisco, California, make $190,000 annually (total compensation).

Meanwhile, sales engineers in Colorado, for instance, earn around $164,000 every year.

Remote employees also receive higher pay than the median rate for SEs. They enjoy $148,000 per year.

SEs in Salt Lake City, who earn $148,000 annually, follow behind remote workers.

Common Sales Engineer Salary by Industry

The industry where a sales engineer works also plays a crucial role in determining the average salary.

For example, SEs working in information technology make between $166,000 and $269,000 every year.

In contrast, sales engineers in the hotels and travel sector earn less. They receive $104,000 to $167,000 per year.

In general, the tech job market offers more competitive compensation for a sales engineer.

Average Additional Cash Compensation for Sales Engineer Jobs

Besides the base salary, a sales engineer can also earn extra pay, which includes additional cash compensation, bonuses, stock shares, tips, and commissions.

The average additional pay for a sales engineer ranges from $59,000 to $109,000.

What Are the Factors that Affect Sales Engineer Salaries?

Below are the factors that affect how much a sales engineer can make in a year.

Experience Level

Experience is among the biggest factors that significantly impact the salary of a sales engineer. As they gain more years of experience, their expertise in the field grows. This makes them more valuable to employers.

Entry-level sales engineers typically start with lower salaries because they are just beginning to develop their skills. However, as they learn how to close deals and solve complex technical issues, the average salary can increase substantially.

Senior-level sales engineers often command higher salaries due to their technical expertise and proven performance.

Location

The location where SEs work plays a big role in determining their annual wage.

Salaries can vary widely based on the cost of living and demand for sales engineers in different regions.

For example, major metropolitan areas and tech hubs often offer higher salaries to attract top talent and compensate for the higher cost of living.

In contrast, regions with a lower cost of living or less demand for sales engineers usually provide lower compensation.

Industry

The industry in which SEs work can greatly influence their annual salary.

Sales engineers in technology-related industries, such as software, IT services, and telecommunications, generally earn higher salaries. That's because these sectors have rapid growth and high demand for technical sales expertise.

Manufacturing and healthcare industries also employ sales engineers. However, they may offer different salary ranges based on their specific business needs and economic conditions.

Educational Background

Companies often pay more for a sales engineer with a strong educational background.

Entry-level positions usually require a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field.

Additional certifications or advanced degrees can be beneficial for a senior sales engineer position. These show expertise in specific technologies and sales aspects, which demand higher pay.

Further education also provides a competitive edge for candidates. It opens up more lucrative opportunities, not only as a sales engineer but also as a cybersecurity engineer data architect.

Company Size

The company size can also influence the salary of a sales engineer.

Enterprises often offer higher salaries and better benefits to attract and retain top talent. These large companies can also provide more opportunities for career advancement and professional development.

In contrast, smaller companies may offer lower starting salaries. That said, they are known for their flexible and dynamic work environments. These give sales engineers a faster career progression.

Let Better Career Help You Highlight Your Value

Need help in getting the best possible sales engineer salary and securing your dream job? Here's how Better Career can assist you:

  • Job Accelerator Program: Follow our step-by-step guide to land a tech job quickly and efficiently. This includes tips on how to negotiate your salary once you get the job offer. Say goodbye to the frustration and guesswork of a typical job search.
  • 1-on-1 Career Coaching: Work closely with experienced career coaches to start or advance your career as a sales engineer. We'll customize the program to meet your unique goals and needs.
  • B2B Tech Job Board: Connect directly with key people at hiring companies through our curated job board for B2B tech positions. This includes direct LinkedIn profiles and posts for each listing.

Haven't found what you're looking for? Fill out our contact form, and we'll get in touch with you soon!

FAQs About Sales Engineer Salary

 

What does the job title sales engineer mean?

A sales engineer, also known as a pre-sales engineer, combines sales skills with technical expertise to sell complex products or services. They work closely with clients to understand their needs and demonstrate how their products can solve specific problems.

What is the average total compensation for a sales engineer?

The average compensation for a sales engineer is $102,000 to $281,000. This range is so wide because of factors like experience, location, industry, and educational background. In general, a sales engineer can earn competitive salaries for their technical expertise, sales acumen, and strong communication skills.

How do I earn higher pay as a sales engineer?

You can earn higher pay as a sales engineer by negotiating your salary with the human resources team. However, you must have a strong track record to get higher compensation. Focus on gaining more experience and expanding your technical skills. You can also pursue additional certifications or advanced degrees to help you secure better pay.

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