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Principal Electrical Engineer Salary

On average, Principal Electrical Engineers in the United States earn six-figure salaries ($116K) annually, making for a very well-paid profession. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $20K and $18K, respectively — total cash payment to Principal Electrical Engineers can bottom out near $90K or peak near $163K depending on individual performance. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Job satisfaction for Principal Electrical Engineers is high. Nearly all enjoy medical while most get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a strong majority. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$88,486 - $150,297
(Median)
$88K
$120K
$150K
MEDIAN: $115,587
10%
50%
90%

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$30.60 - $97.87
(Median)
$31
$58
$98
MEDIAN: $57.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$88,486 - $150,297  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,079  
Profit Sharing
$992 - $17,687  
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).
)
$90,084 - $162,665  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 838
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$33$66$99
Hourly Rate
$30.60 - $97.87  
   
Overtime
$44.72 - $79.72  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,079  
   
Profit Sharing
$992 - $17,687  
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).
)
$90,084 - $162,665  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 28

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United States (change)


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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 $132K a year.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

Jobs by Simply Hired
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Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer


Survey takers working as Principal Electrical Engineers report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Field-Programmable Gate Array, Board Design / Debug, Design, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 5 percent, 4 percent, 3 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include System Integration, Microsoft Word, and Controls. Most people familiar with Engineering Design also 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.


Principal Electrical Engineers with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $89K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $107K. For Principal Electrical Engineers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $122K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $129K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


Santa Clara offers some of the highest pay in the country for Principal Electrical Engineers, 25 percent above the national average. Principal Electrical Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+24 percent), Irvine (+16 percent), Los Angeles (+8 percent), and Austin (+7 percent). Pittsburgh ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 17 percent below the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Dallas (13 percent lower) and Minneapolis (5 percent lower).

Principal Electrical Engineer Advice

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

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.

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United States (change)

Experience Affects Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries



National Average
$122,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 27%

Skills That Affect Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries

Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
up arrow 5%

Board Design / Debug
up arrow 4%

Design
up arrow 3%

Systems Engineering
up arrow 2%

Engineering Design
up arrow 1%

Simulation
0%

National Average
$122,000

Software Development
up arrow 2%

Project Management
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 5%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 5%

Controls
up arrow 6%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 7%

System Integration
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 193 votes.

Gender

Female
5 %
Male
95 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
15%
10-19 years
34%
20 years or more
49%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 94% dental benefits Dental: 86%
vision benefits Vision: 71% employee benefits None: 5%
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