The median annual wage of sales engineers was $87,390 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $51,940 and the top 10 percent earned more than $146,580.
How much a sales engineer earns varies significantly by the type of firm and the product sold. Most employers offer a combination of salary and commission payments or salary plus a bonus. Some sales engineers who work for independent sales companies earn only commissions. Commissions usually are based on the value of sales. Bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all workers in the group or district, or on the company's performance. Earnings from commissions and bonuses may vary from year to year depending on sales ability, the demand for the company's products or services, and the overall economy.
In addition to their earnings, sales engineers who work for manufacturers usually are reimbursed for expenses such as transportation, meals, hotels, and customer entertainment. Besides receiving typical benefits, sales engineers may get personal use of a company car and frequent-flyer miles. Some companies offer incentives such as free vacation trips or gifts for outstanding performance. Sales engineers who work in independent firms may have higher, but less stable earnings and, often, relatively few benefits. For example, most independent sales engineers do not get paid vacations, a common benefit for many other workers.
Some sales engineers may work long and irregular hours to meet sales goals and client needs. However, many sales engineers can decide their own schedules.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition