Principal Electrical Engineer Salary

Principal Electrical Engineers receive generous compensation in the United States — earning an average of $116K per year, their standard salaries shoot well into the six-figure range. Cash earnings for Principal Electrical Engineers — which occasionally include more than $20K from bonuses and more than $19K from profit sharing — stretch from around $91K to approximately $163K. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. Most Principal Electrical Engineers report high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$89,193 - $150,412
(Median)
$89K
$120K
$150K
MEDIAN: $115,934
10%
50%
90%

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$30.44 - $98.39
(Median)
$30
$62
$98
MEDIAN: $62.00
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
$89,193 - $150,412  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,106  
Profit Sharing
$964 - $18,502  
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).
)
$90,888 - $163,132  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 842
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
$30.44 - $98.39  
   
Overtime
$24.00 - $79.98  
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 - $20,106  
   
Profit Sharing
$964 - $18,502  
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).
)
$90,888 - $163,132  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 26
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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.

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Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer


Survey results imply that Principal Electrical Engineers deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. 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. At the other end of the pay range are skills like System Integration, Controls, and Windows Operating System General Use. Most people skilled in Engineering Design are similarly competent in Design and Simulation.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal Electrical Engineer

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


For Principal Electrical Engineers, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Although inexperienced employees take home approximately $91K, those who have five to 10 years under their belts benefit from a six-figure median of $107K. Principal Electrical Engineers see a median salary of $122K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $129K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Principal Electrical Engineers, busy San Jose offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 26 percent above the national average. Principal Electrical Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Santa Clara (+25 percent), Irvine (+17 percent), Los Angeles (+9 percent), and Austin (+7 percent). Trailing the national average by 16 percent, Pittsburgh is the market with the smallest paychecks. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Dallas (13 percent less) and Minneapolis (5 percent less).

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.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries



National Average
$122,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 25%

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 3%

Engineering Design
up arrow 1%

Simulation
up arrow 1%

National Average
$122,000

Project Management
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 2%

Software Development
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 4%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 4%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 5%

Controls
up arrow 6%

System Integration
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 181 votes.

Gender

Female
4 %
Male
96 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
14%
10-19 years
36%
20 years or more
48%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 94% dental benefits Dental: 87%
vision benefits Vision: 71% employee benefits None: 5%
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