Principal Electrical Engineer Salary
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.
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.Read More...
The principal design engineer is also be involved in making hiring decisions for his or her team. They assess design and project needs and put teams together to address these requirements as efficiently as possible. They regularly review performance and assess their teams based on accepted quality assurance standards for electrical engineering and design.
A principal electrical engineer normally works in an office or manufacturing environment during regular business hours, although overtime may be required depending on project needs.
To work as a principal electrical engineer, an individual generally needs at least a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, although postgraduate study may be required. In many states, these engineers are also required to possess some form of licensing or certification as well. Because of the management nature of this position, a company is likely to look for individuals with at least five to seven years experience in electrical engineering or electrical design.
Principal Electrical Engineer Tasks
- Manage all aspects Electrical Engineering projects from beginning phases until completion.
- Develop policies and procedures for use of the created products.
- Develop, design, and test electrical devices.
Common Career Paths for Principal Electrical Engineer
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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
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.