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2013 Corrosion Salaries Set Records

Thursday, August 1, 2013

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Call it a rust-to-riches story. Corrosion careers are paying better than ever, with average annual salaries for professionals in the United States, Canada and the European Union reaching new highs, according to a new survey by NACE International.

Average annual salaries for corrosion professionals in the United States topped six figures for the first time, and salaries for Canadian and EU professionals also set records, according to the new 2013 Corrosion Career Survey, conducted by NACE’s Materials Performance magazine.

Corrosion Engineers
NACE Foundation of Canada

The NACE Foundation of Canada is helping to educate the next generation of
corrosion engineers and technicians. Salaries in Canada are rising.

On the Rise

Including salary and bonuses, the average annual U.S. compensation for corrosion professionals is now $103,148, up 4.6% from the 2012 figure of $98,384, reported Houston-based NACE.

In Canada, the average compensation rose by 0.69% to CAN$108,108. Last year, the increases were 2.6% for the U.S. and 2.3% for Canada.

In Europe, the annual average salary is now €68,637 ($88,336 USD), up by 3.7% from last year’s €66,098, NACE said. The society noted that corrosion salaries actually declined by 1.8% in Europe from 2011 to 2012.

Average Salary by Highest Education Level (U.S. / Canada / Europe)

High School U.S. $90,433 CAN$116,959 €59,950
Associate Degree U.S. $91,977 CAN$105,260 €63,583
Bachelor Degree U.S. $110,744 CAN$105,450 €76,444
Master Degree U.S. $122,414 CAN$93,275 €65,500
Doctorate U.S. $136,618 CAN$102,833 €65,133
Post-Doctorate U.S. $135,354 CAN$98,785 €88,666

Materials Performance has conducted its annual corrosion career survey of NACE members since 1998.

The survey collects information on annual compensation, job duties, work experience, education level, company size, number of years in the profession and challenges for today’s professionals. Survey results provide the latest details on demographics and salary levels for corrosion professionals in all fields of corrosion control.


Tushar Jhaveri, NACE International president, said the good news not only reflected the professional expertise of corrosion professionals but validated the maturity and significance of the industry.

“It is encouraging that this year’s survey revealed that the U.S. average salary has reached the six-figure milestone, and that Canada and Europe are experiencing salary increases as well,” says Jhaveri, chief executive of Vasu Chemicals in Mumbai, India.

Average Salary by Years of Corrosion Experience (U.S. / Canada / Europe)

<2 years U.S. $102,154 CAN$76,812 €52,500
2 to 4 years U.S. $95,836 CAN$86,696 €58,450
5 to 9 years U.S. $107,776 CAN$106,339 €55,479
10 to 19 years U.S. $104,813 CAN$121,412 €66,068
20+ years U.S. $103,491 CAN$121,855 €92,760
Graphics: NACE International

“It is a sure sign that corrosion control is a well-established industry with professionals that continue to prove the value of their knowledge and expertise.”

Industries and Demographics

Other highlights of the survey include average salary by NACE certification level, average salary by job type, average salary by U.S. state, average salary by Canadian province and territory, and average salary by European country.

The survey also examines salaries as related to NACE certification.

NACE International's president called the increasing salaries "a sure sign that corrosion control is a well-established industry with professionals that continue to prove the value of their knowledge and expertise.”

The largest group of survey participants in North America works in oil and gas pipelines/storage tanks. Fifteen percent of U.S. respondents work in coatings and linings, compared with 18 percent of respondents from Canada and Europe.

Other highlights:

  • Average annual incomes in the U.S. generally increase with increasing education, but the same is not necessarily true in Canada and Europe. There, the survey found, higher education levels do not necessarily correlate with higher salaries.
  • Those with a Professional Engineer (P.E.) license comprise 9% of U.S., 15% of Canadian, and 23% of European respondents.
  • Other professional certifications are also held by 21% of U.S. respondents, 31 percent of Canadian respondents, and 36 percent of respondents from Europe.
  • Across all surveys, respondents serving in the industry for 10 years or more outnumber those with less corrosion experience. In the U.S. survey, for example, 63% of participants have been professionally involved in corrosion prevention and mitigation for 10 years or more (same as 2012), while 42% have worked in the industry for 20 years or more (vs. 40% in 2012). One in five U.S. respondents have worked in corrosion control for four years or less (vs. 17% last year).

The full survey can be found here.

Founded in 1943, NACE International, The Corrosion Society, serves 30,000 members in 130 countries. The organization offers technical training and certification programs, conferences, industry standards, reports, publications, technical journals, and government relations activities.


Tagged categories: Certifications and standards; Corrosion; Education; Engineers; Europe; Linings; NACE; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline; Program/Project Management; Protective Coatings; Tanks and vessels; Workers

Comment from Andrew Mumford, (8/1/2013, 9:07 AM)

As an Owner of an Inspection firm, a problem I have with NACE's message is that there is too much emphasis on how much money you can make, and not enough emphasis on retaining and implementing the knowledge and practices your taught. As someone that is continually hiring inspectors, it is amazing the salary expectations of applicants who lack basic written communication skills, and when interviewed cannot demonstrate that they've retained the fundamentals of their training. It is also amazing how many individuals once hired lack the effort to satisfactorily perform their job. I would like to see more emphasis on the necessity of the professional to develop beyond the one week training course, and less on dangling the golden carrot in front of their eyes. With a strong honest work ethic, training, knowledge, and experience the salary rewards will follow. I think there is a flaw with the survey of average salary by years of corrosion experience.

Comment from Jerry Hardenbergh, (8/1/2013, 10:30 AM)

Andrew, well said!!!

Comment from Patrick C Sweeney, (8/1/2013, 11:30 AM)

I agree with Andrew. Also, I had hoped that this annual survey would have progressed over the years to be more than a simple online survey - clearly without any verification for accurate responses. A technical organization like NACE should not be publishing such misleading data. A NACE CIP Level 2 with Marine "ON AVERAGE" makes $167,750 per year? Really? Placing a simple footnote that this data is only based on 5 respondents (out of thousands of people) with this qualification is not responsible journalism or statistical reporting. NACE reports that the survey has a 95% confidence level? Really? I am curious how NACE analyzed the data. If a highly compensated coating supplier sales-manager also happens to carry a NACE CIP level 2 Marine Certification, should his compensation be presented/included as an inspector classification? MP should take a closer look at this accuracy of the information that they are presenting to our community.

Comment from James Hill, (8/1/2013, 6:37 PM)

Food for thought........ As a seasoned professional in the Coatings Industry with over 23 years experience in Sales and Technical Service, as well as BS in Business Management from the University of Southern California, I am appalled and outraged as to the quality of NACE Inspectors (Levels I, II, and III) I encounter out in the field today. I am an expired NACE Level I. I have worked for two of the top six Coating Manufacturers in the world (PPG and RPM). NACE puts uneducated personnel through their courses because there happens to be a shortage of inspectors. I encounter NACE level III inspectors with 7 years experience and they know nothing about surface preparation and coating of concrete? The Industry is watered down. More coming...............

Comment from James Hill, (8/1/2013, 6:42 PM)

Also,In today's devalued American dollars $120,000 is not a lot of money. While Ben Bernanke continues to purchase $85 billion dollars worth of mortgage backed securities, those dollars have less purchasing power.

Comment from James Hill, (8/1/2013, 6:48 PM)

Disclaimer.....please excuse any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes within the previous two comments for they were sent from a "smartphone".

Comment from James Hill, (8/1/2013, 6:53 PM)

....that's 85 billion dollars a month........

Comment from James Schuster, (8/2/2013, 7:20 AM)

I too am very dissappointed by this survey. I have been a peer reviewed NACE CIP for 20 plus years with a bachelors degree and too often these days see Level 1 and 2 inspectors with salary expectations that are ridiculous ! Since NACE has done away with the minimum experience requirement i too often find inspectors with one week of training representing themselves as "Coatings Experts" and find facility owners who assume that because an individual is NACE Certified expect these inspectors to truly be coatings experts and too often are dissappointed in the knowledge they are getting for what they are paying for. Bring back the minimum experience requirement !

Comment from WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN, (8/4/2013, 12:26 AM)

Gone are the days when we use to have quality CIP. Now people are interested in making more money . Everything in this world is being commercialized. So we have now is quantity instead of quality CIP.

Comment from Billy Russell, (8/5/2013, 9:28 PM)

In total agreement with Andrew, and all, LMFAO @ Level 2 making 167,750 that is a complete misleading joke. period

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/6/2013, 11:29 AM)

Billy - that number is Level 2 with Marine. These guys are probably working offshore on oil platforms, 80+ hours a week - and possibly being paid as 1099, not as an employee. It's also "fewer than 5 responses"

Comment from Billy Russell, (8/7/2013, 4:20 AM)

Tom, offshore level 2 with marine working 90 hours a week does not make that, the 5 are not being truthful, nor is it representative of the average salary range, the Market has been flooded with the now "NO EXPERIENCE Necessary" certified in 1 week guys who are in the field with Vis 1 and a shiny new hard hat, look at me Im in charge attitudes, accepting the new price range that we all know the bottom fell out of I know level 3 &2 being offered 24- 31 an hour by the major inspection firms. this survey is a marketing tool and nothing realistic about it.

Comment from James Schuster, (8/7/2013, 9:09 AM)

Billy you hit the nail on the head, marketing tool and nothing realistic about it !This survey in no way is representative of actual salaries being offered by most major inspection firms.

Comment from Chris Langston, (9/23/2014, 4:07 PM)

It really stinks to read about how the standards have been lowered right now, and this was a year ago! I am taking the level 1 course in a week. I guess one has to start somewhere? I understand and respect all the comments above. God Bless

Comment from Billy Russell, (9/26/2014, 7:49 PM)

A more accurate survey should be published, detailing actual pay stubs, the truth is they are not working 12 months a year include how many months they are drawing unemployment, how many graduates of the NO EXPERIENCE necessary fiasco most are still looking for work , Look at the CIP group on linked in the majority of the post are not anything technical, it is mostly former Bartenders and carpenters looking for work again a year later those are completely misleading Numbers, based on a 3 month project during the season, you do not get to add the other 9 months thinking that's what I would of made, Marketing tricks to increase numbers is shameful and extremely disappointing, put inspectors back on the committee and get the accountants that decided to change the experience requirement out of policy procedures watching the deterioration of the respect level is infuriating...

Comment from Karen Fischer, (9/30/2014, 9:56 AM)

This is an insult to those of us who took NACE nearly 20 years ago.... Being judged by the assembly line now called NACE... I never made the wages they list, not even remotely close.

Comment from William Bastian, (10/1/2014, 8:21 AM)

I agree whole heartedly with Karen. NACE is now nothing more then an insult to those of us who have worked hard and diligently over the years to refine and understand the nuances of our professions and responsibilities within the coatings community. It has become an assembly line that cares only about cranking out the courses, without any real thought to why individuals are taking them. I know from speaking to individuals during my sessions, many were there for a holiday from work, with no desire to pursue or even have any intention of pursuing a career in the inspection world. As to the NACE salary debacle they chose to post, perhaps you should be more concerned with who, what, where, and why than with how much money the NACE Inspector is making annually. I was recently at a job site where an individual went to the CIP I class. He went because his company thought it would "look" good on his resume. He will earn more salary then I, because of his position within his company and will never once be called upon to do any coatings inspection.

Comment from Steve Sparks, (8/30/2016, 10:55 AM)

I have been in the coating field for 40 years and recently met an inspector who was Just completing peer review and had only been a level 2 for a few weeks. their prior field time was as a safety inspector. Less than 2 years in the coating field and already a NACE III. They thought at was a great way to make money! And they were encouraging their friends to become inspector as well. My 40 years gets me nothing!

Comment from Steve Sparks, (8/30/2016, 10:59 AM)

Let's see them make that kind of money working for KTA!

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