Common Engineering Grades and Experience Levels (2023)

Do you know what your engineering ranking should be called? Job titles in the public sector can vary from company to company, but there are still several levels of seniority for engineers, with the number depending on the organization’s size. Knowing where employees fit on the career ladder, as well as where skills need to be developed, is important for both employers and employees. Clear explanations of rankings allow employees to strategize in their careers while allowing managers to define job title, responsibilities, and pay. We’ve written this article to help you contextualize engineering roles, so you can clearly outline the scope of your job or an employee’s.

There are several directions an engineer can take as they advance. Moving directly upward allows someone to become a project manager. Project managers oversee other engineers, which require leadership, communication, and organizational skills. Research and development careers, on the other hand, generally require a Master’s degree, as well as creativity and a strong working knowledge of science. Consultants, which move entirely outside a company, work with engineers in other fields as well as non-engineers, so communication skills are an important asset. Additionally, engineers can inhabit the academic field to act as professors or researchers, which requires strong writing and research skills.

Are you between jobs right now or looking to hire other engineers? We've got you covered with our resource hubs for both industrial job seekers and employers looking to hire. If you have a job opening, you can also submit it for a chance to be featured in the Thomas Monthly Update.

ASCE Engineering Job Guidelines

For more specific details on engineering positions in the career ladder, the American Society of Civil Engineers offers a set of guidelines on general positions for engineers, rating job levels from Grade I-VIII. We’ve summarized the details on the responsibilities for each position below, including common job titles for the role, responsibilities, and the experience and education engineers at that level are expected to have. We’ve also included the equivalent federal level (also known as the GS or General Schedule level) for those who will work with or in the government.

Grade I, II, and III Engineers (GS-5 to GS-9)

Engineering Rankings:

Engineer in Training, Engineering Intern, Assistant Engineer, Junior Engineer, Staff Engineer, Engineering Instructor


Responsibilities for Grade I-III engineers vary from basic data collection and analysis to working on small projects, adapting methods to finish work, preparing project documents, and assigning work to entry-level employees. While beginning engineers will need guidance on all aspects of the job, more senior employees only need direction on complex problems that need to be solved. They also help with client communications and contracts.

Experience and Education:

Engineers at this level typically have up to three years’ experience, as well as an engineering Bachelor’s degree. More experienced engineers may also be part of a professional practice organization or a local program or committee.

Grade IV Engineers (GS-11)

Engineering Rankings:

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Civil Engineer, Associate Engineer, Project Engineer, Resident Engineer, Assistant Professor


The next level of engineers design and work on moderate projects or parts of large projects while presenting project-specific information at meetings. They also deal with customers, contractors, and officials. These engineers generally adapt procedures, assign and coordinate work while helping with proposals for funding or potential jobs. Meanwhile, they are given guidance on complex problems and key objectives.

Experience and Education:

Grade IV engineers usually have master’s degrees and more than four years’ experience, as well as Professional Engineer licenses. Faculty members should have doctorates. However, they should continue learning to keep up with the field. These engineers can also organize community service and be members of professional practice organizations, or act as chairs of local programs or committees.

Grade V Engineers (GS-12)

Engineering Rankings:

Senior Engineer, Project Manager, Associate Professor


Grade V engineers work on major or complicated projects, overseeing budgets and schedules, and developing techniques to finish the job while advising upper-level managers. They also write proposals for jobs or funding and approve budgets and represent the organization while presenting at conferences about their specific work.

Experience and Education:

This level of engineer usually has at least eight years’ experience with the same educational and license qualifications as a Grade IV engineer. They can be national board, technical or policy committee members, national board officers, or members of a professional organization.

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Grade VI Engineers (GS-13)

Engineering Rankings:

Principle Engineer, District Engineer, Engineering Manager, Professor


Grade VI engineers expand their expertise to organization-wide problems and developments while acting as technical specialists advising in how methods and concepts should be applied in their area. They also plan activities for multiple major projects as well as the full work schedule of the organization to which they belong. These engineers also lead presentations and represent the organization. The only guidance they need is broad objectives and limits from upper management.

Experience and Education:

These engineers generally have the same education and licenses as Grade IV, but they’ll have more than ten years of experience and can also have advanced certifications in specialties or other areas. Their professional memberships can also be the same as Grade V engineers.

Grade VII Engineers (GS-14)

Engineering Rankings:

Director, Program Manager, City Engineer, County Engineer, Division Engineer, Department Head, Vice President


Engineers at Grade VII plan for and deal with unexpected problems while setting priorities and developing standards and guidelines, either for broad programs or intensely specialized fields. They generally supervise multiple teams or departments, take care of legal and financial issues, and can persuade and negotiate in terms of critical issues. They also maintain contact with other organizations and interact with leaders and key officials.

Experience and Education:

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Engineers at this level can have similar qualifications to engineers at lower levels. The main difference is their level of experience, at over 15 years. They can, however, also be recognized experts in statewide activities and act as a resource for national organizations.

Grade VIII Engineers (GS-14, Senior Executive Service (SES))

Engineering Rankings:

Bureau Engineer, Director of Public Works, Dean, President


As the top level of engineer, these people make broad decisions and set programs for an organization, answering to regional councils or boards of directors. Grade VIII engineers can advise either on broad programs or innovative and important specialized programs, but they also negotiate critical issues with other organizations and represent their organization in the media and at functions like conferences.

Experience and Education:

Grade VIII engineers generally have more than 20 years of experience with the same educations and certifications as lower levels. However, they can also serve on state and national boards or be recognized experts on the national level, as well as being spokespeople for the profession.


Knowing what the next step in your career looks like makes it easier to get there, while knowing what your employees should be able to do allows you to understand their place in the company. While engineering jobs can involve anything from basic training in skills and management to running the entire company, it’s important to be familiar with the skill required in each role. Want to know more about a career in engineering? Our engineering guides can help you with all areas of this career path, from how to become an aerospace engineer to types of engineering to the top engineering companies for everything from RFID software to machine vision.



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What is a Level 3 engineer called? ›

Level 3 - Staff Engineer

This position is often 6 or more years into your career, and now it starts to become a benefit if those years are at the company.

What is a Level 4 engineer? ›

Engineer Level 4 (equivalent to GS-11 or Assistant Professor): A fully competent engineer in the subject matter or the functional areas of the assignments. Plans and conducts work requiring judgment in the evaluation, selection, and adaptation or modification of standard techniques, procedures, and criteria.

Is engineer 1 higher than engineer 2? ›

Engineer I is the entry level engineer classification. Incumbents perform less complex office and field civil engineering work under direct supervision in preparation for advancement to the journey level of Engineer II. Engineer II is the advanced level class in the engineering series, not requiring registration.

What is a Level 2 engineer? ›

Engineer II is the intermediate level in the environmental engineering series. Under general supervision within a framework of established policies and procedures, incumbents perform a variety of engineering and administrative tasks of moderate difficulty requiring the use of some independent judgment.

Is an engineer 3 a senior engineer? ›

A level 3 staff engineer is a mid-level engineer bridging the gap between fresher engineers and top management.

What is the difference between engineer 2 and 3? ›

Civil Engineer II: Receives general supervision/direction from a higher level professional engineer. May incidentally give direction to lower level engineering staff. Civil Engineer III: Receives direction from the City Engineer. Provides lead direction to lower level professional and technical staff.

What is a level 7 engineer? ›

Senior Staff Software Engineer (Level 7)

Senior staff software engineers usually carry the responsibilities of a Level 6 software engineer and are considered equivalent to senior managers.

What are the 4 job levels? ›

The different job experience levels
  • Entry-level.
  • Intermediate.
  • Mid-level.
  • Senior or executive-level.

What salary grade is engineer 3? ›

Salary Grade will be 19 amounting to Php 48,313.00.

Which is higher engineer 2 or 3? ›

The titles go like this: I - Junior Engineer. II - Engineer. III - Senior Engineer.

Do engineers have ranks? ›

A diploma holder engineer will be a Naib Subedar or Subedar or a Subedar Major . A degree holder engineer , newly commissioned , will be a Lieutenant . He may then keep rising in rank to become a Lt General and may get appointed as Engineer in Chief .

What is 2nd engineer 3rd engineer? ›

A third engineer or second assistant engineer is a rank of engine officer who is part of the engine department on a ship. Sea Time on Previous License, Professional Training.

What type of engineer is Elon Musk? ›

Elon Musk has no formal engineering degree, but he clearly is industrial engineer by profession. His approach to business and problem solving is typical industrial engineering approach. His actual degrees (BS in both economics and physics) have good overlap with undergraduate curriculum in IE.

What are the six basic engineering classifications? ›

Six Specialized Types of Engineers
  • Civil Engineers. Civil engineering is considered the oldest engineering discipline. ...
  • Mechanical Engineers. ...
  • Production Engineers. ...
  • Chemical Engineers. ...
  • Biomedical Engineers. ...
  • Aerospace Engineers.

What are the 21 types of engineering? ›

  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Civil Engineering. ...
  • Aerospace Engineering. ...
  • Nuclear Engineering. ...
  • Biomedical Engineering. ...
  • Chemical Engineering. ...
  • Computer Engineering.

What are the 9 sectors of engineering? ›

Some of the engineering sectors, engineered products and engineering companies with which you are probably familiar include:
  • Chemical engineering. ...
  • Mechanical engineering. ...
  • Electrical and electronic engineering. ...
  • Civil engineering. ...
  • Aerospace engineering. ...
  • Telecommunications. ...
  • Motor vehicle engineering.

What are 8 types of engineering? ›

  • Design engineering.
  • Civil engineering.
  • Mechanical engineer.
  • Computer engineering.
  • Electrical engineering.
  • Quality engineering.
  • Network engineering.
  • Software engineering.

Which engineering is hardest? ›

Biomedical Engineering

With a lot of courses in chemistry and biology, biomedical engineering ranks as one of the hardest engineering majors there is. Many engineering majors focus on physics while this one requires much more than that. It's a great choice for students who like taking all types of science courses.

How do you become an engineer 3? ›

Must have or be RA 1080 Eligibility, Bachelor's Degree in Engineering relevant to the Job, 8 hrs of relevant training and 2 yrs of working experience.

What is a Level 3 software engineer? ›

Software Engineer III designs and develops software applications. Performs coding, debugging, testing and troubleshooting throughout the application development process. Being a Software Engineer III may direct a few junior level software engineers. Requires a bachelor's degree.

What is the difference between engineer I and II? ›

Civil Engineer I: Receives immediate supervision and direction from a higher level professional engineer. May give technical or functional direction to technical staff within the engineering division. Civil Engineer II: Receives general supervision/direction from a higher level professional engineer.

What are the 4 major engineering categories? ›

In broad terms, engineering can be divided into four main categories – chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.

How long does it take to go from engineer 1 to engineer 2? ›

The Engineer II gains exposure to some of the complex tasks within the job function. Occasionally directed in several aspects of the work. To be an Engineer II typically requires 2 to 4 years of related experience.

Is system engineer a III? ›

Systems Engineer III designs, develops, supports, and maintains the organization's systems infrastructure, including the implementation and design of hardware and software. Analyzes, develops, modifies, tests and maintains the system.

Is engineering 3 or 4 years? ›

A Bachelor of Engineering (BE or BEng) or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) is an academic undergraduate degree awarded to a student after three to five years of studying engineering at an accredited college or university.

What is a senior engineer III? ›

The Engineer III position is the advanced level of the Engineering classification hierarchy. Employees in the Engineer III position solve complex problems in engineering areas of specialization with limited supervision.

How long does it take to become an engineer 3? ›

The Engineer III contributes to moderately complex aspects of a project. Work is generally independent and collaborative in nature. To be an Engineer III typically requires 4 to 7 years of related experience.

Is L4 a senior engineer? ›

Job Description. The Network Engineer (L4) is the most senior role.

Is L5 a senior engineer? ›

L5- Senior Software Engineer: 6-9 years of industry experience. This is the level most engineers are at internally within Google. You're expected to be able to operate with little direction and handle complex tasks on your own.

What is an L8 at Google? ›

Directors of engineers at Google, sometimes called “principal” engineers at the “L8” job level, can earn base salaries of $300,000 or more, but the verified Google professional reports a total compensation package of $1.5 million—split between a base salary of approximately $400,000, a bonus and stock-based ...

What are the 5 levels of careers? ›

The five career stages are:
  • Exploration. Typical age range: 21-25. Exploration refers to the stage before gaining permanent employment. ...
  • Establishment. Typical age range: 25-35 years old. ...
  • Mid-career. Typical age range: 35-45 years old. ...
  • Late-career. Typical age range: 45-55 years old. ...
  • Decline. Typical age range: 55-65 years old.

What are the 3 levels of work? ›

A Job Category defines the type of work performed, as opposed to the occupation or subject matter. The three categories are: 1) Operational & Technical, 2) Professional, 3) Supervisory & Managerial.

What are the position levels? ›

What are job levels?
  • Executive or senior management.
  • Middle management.
  • First-level management.
  • Intermediate or experienced (senior staff)
  • Entry-level.

What is the salary grade of engineer 4? ›

What is the salary trajectory of an Engineer IV? The salary trajectory of an Engineer IV ranges between locations and employers. The salary starts at PHP 55,422 per year and goes up to PHP 109,707 per year for the highest level of seniority.

How much is C3 salary? ›

CSIR Salary FAQs

The average salary for a Technician - C3 is ZAR 476,400 per year in South Africa, which is 3% lower than the average CSIR salary of ZAR 493,165 per year for this job. What is the salary trajectory of a Technician - C3? The salary trajectory of a Technician - C3 ranges between locations and employers.

What is a P3 level job? ›

P3. Career Level Professional Seasoned professional in the job family. This is the level of full competence that all professionals are expected to achieve in the function.

Which is the No 1 engineer? ›

1. Nikola Tesla. Arguably at the top of the list of greatest engineers is Nikola Tesla.

What is considered a mid level engineer? ›

Junior developers usually have 1-3 years of development experience. They should be proficient in one or two languages/frameworks and have dabbled in a few other languages. A mid-level engineer should have 3-5 years of experience or a bachelor's in computer science with a year or two of experience.

What is an engineer with a PHD called? ›

The Doctor of Engineering, or Engineering Doctorate, (abbreviated DEng, EngD, or Dr-Ing) is a degree awarded on the basis of advanced study and a practical project in the engineering and applied science for solving problems in the industry. In the United States, it is a terminal professional doctorate.

What are engineers titles? ›

Engineering titles you can pursue as a career
  • Chemical engineer.
  • Industrial engineer.
  • Manufacturing engineer.
  • Environmental engineer.
  • Biomedical engineer.
  • Design engineer.
  • Civil engineer.
  • Nuclear engineer.
29 Jan 2021

Do most engineers make 6 figures? ›

The average annual salary for all industrial engineers is around $92,000 a year, which is just shy of six figures. Most industrial engineers reach six figures after they have five years of work experience in their career.

What is the richest type of engineer? ›

10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs
  • Civil Engineer. ...
  • Mechanical Engineer. ...
  • Industrial Engineer. ...
  • Biomedical Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer. ...
  • Chemical Engineer. ...
  • Software Engineer. ...
  • Computer Engineer.
21 Jun 2022

What does a 4th engineer do? ›

The 4th Engineer as in charge of Purifier, Compressor, and machinery other than main engine, auxiliary engine and boiler, is responsible for: Record keeping of machinery running hours under his charge. For carrying out planned maintenance routine under the supervision of chief or second engineer.

How long does it take to become 2nd engineer? ›

An examination can help you gain the post of a fourth engineer and if you perform well, you can become the third engineer on board. It will, however, take another exam after sailing for 18 months to make you a second engineer and another one after 12 months that will make you Chief Engineer.

What is a B1 3 engineer? ›

A B1. 3 allows you to work on multiple helicopters with one or more turbine engines. A b1. 3 licensed engineer is responsible for all aspects of maintenance and repair of helicopters.

Which engineering is highest level? ›

In terms of median pay and growth potential, these are the 10 highest paying engineering jobs to consider.
  • Systems Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer. ...
  • Chemical Engineer. ...
  • Big Data Engineer. ...
  • Nuclear Engineer. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Computer Hardware Engineer. ...
  • Petroleum Engineer.
24 Mar 2022

Which engineer is toughest? ›

Biomedical Engineering

Like chemical engineering, biomedical engineering relies a lot on science rather than physics. With a lot of courses in chemistry and biology, biomedical engineering ranks as one of the hardest engineering majors there is.


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