Principal Electrical Engineers receive generous compensation in the United States — earning an average of $122K per year, their standard salaries shoot well into the six-figure range. Incomes of Principal Electrical Engineers vary widely depending on performance components; bonuses and profit sharing that can occasionally exceed $21K cause paychecks to spread between $101K on the low end and $171K on the high end. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by geography, but the specific employer and tenure are influential factors as well. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Principal Electrical Engineers. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.

$98,870 - $158,591
(Median)
$99K
$120K
$160K
MEDIAN: $122,226
10%
50%
90%

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$29.88 - $155.13
(Median)
$30
$59
$160
MEDIAN: $59.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$98,870 - $158,591  
   
Bonus
$1,005 - $20,650  
Profit Sharing
$515 - $20,071  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$100,853 - $170,921  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 513
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60$120$180
Hourly Rate
$29.88 - $155.13  
   
Overtime
$50.54 - $84.56  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$120K$240K$360K
Bonus
$1,005 - $20,650  
   
Profit Sharing
$515 - $20,071  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$100,853 - $170,921  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 13
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Job Description for Principal Electrical Engineer

A principal electrical engineer oversees electrical-related building or design projects within their organization, as well as oversees a staff of junior engineers who work in their planning and execution. The principal electrical engineer serves in a project manager capacity, regularly inspecting and reviewing the work being done, noting any needed corrections or adjustments. For many building and design firms, the principal engineer also performs cost forecasting, projections, and estimations; these are essential to provide clients with an accurate assessment of costs. It then falls to the principal electrical engineer to ensure the project comes in at (or near) the forecasted cost.

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Principal Electrical Engineer Tasks

  • Develop, design, and test electrical devices.
  • Develop policies and procedures for use of the created products.
  • Manage all aspects Electrical Engineering projects from beginning phases until completion.

Common Career Paths for Principal Electrical Engineer


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Principal Electrical Engineers who transition into an upper level Senior Principal Engineer position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average Senior Principal Engineer makes $135K a year.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Principal Electrical Engineer


Broadcom Corporation offers the largest salaries in town — $150K on average.

Principal Electrical Engineers will find the worst pay at BAE Systems Inc., where the median salary crawls in at $108K. Furthermore, compensation is curbed at $160K, leaving little room for growth.

Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer


Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Simulation, Controls, Engineering Design, and Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Robotics, System Integration, and Software Development. Those familiar with Engineering Design also tend to know Design and Simulation.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal Electrical Engineer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $114K on average. Interestingly, those who have worked for five to 10 years report receiving a smaller median salary of $114K. For Principal Electrical Engineers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $128K. Big financial gains seem to result from working for more than two decades; veterans in this group report earning $134K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $128,169

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

San Jose is home to an above-average pay rate for Principal Electrical Engineers, 22 percent higher than the national average. Principal Electrical Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Santa Clara (+19 percent), San Francisco (+18 percent), Detroit (+12 percent), and Los Angeles (+10 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Pittsburgh, 15 percent below the national average. Houston and Dayton are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 9 percent lower and 7 percent lower, respectively.

Principal Electrical Engineer Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Principal Electrical Engineer in Clearfield:
"Work hard and be patient with the pay raises."
Learn the company's way of doing business. Win people's favor by accepting and completing task on time.

Principal Electrical Engineer in Denver:
"Hindsight is 20/20."
Knowing that I would make a salary at the top of my industry, I probably would have spent more energy learning more to get there faster. I was fortunate it turned out the way it did for me, but chance does not have to be part of the equation if you have the skills someone wants. Study hard, intern with what you love, and go for the area of expertise you really want to spend your life doing. A love for what you do makes it so much easier and rewarding.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries



National Average
$128,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 11%

Skills That Affect Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries


Controls
up arrow 3%

Engineering Design
up arrow 1%

Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
up arrow 1%

Board Design / Debug
0%

Systems Engineering
0%

National Average
$128,000

Project Management
up arrow 1%

Design
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 2%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 3%

Software Development
up arrow 4%

System Integration
up arrow 12%

Robotics
up arrow 15%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 67 votes.

Gender

Female
3 %
Male
97 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
10%
10-19 years
40%
20 years or more
47%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 96%
dental benefits
Dental: 89%
medical benefits
Vision: 76%
dental benefits
None: 3%
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