Principal Electrical Engineer Salary

Six-figure salaries are the norm for Principal Electrical Engineers in the United States, with median pay hovering around $117K per year. Cash earnings for Principal Electrical Engineers — which occasionally include more than $20K from bonuses and more than $18K from profit sharing — stretch from around $94K to approximately $165K. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is location, followed by the company and years of experience. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a large number collect dental insurance. Most Principal Electrical Engineers report high levels of job satisfaction. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$92,215 - $152,638
(Median)
$92K
$120K
$150K
MEDIAN: $117,145
10%
50%
90%

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$30.72 - $98.39
(Median)
$31
$60
$98
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
$92,215 - $152,638  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,203  
Profit Sharing
$575 - $18,000  
Commission
$0.00  
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).
)
$94,330 - $164,836  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 850
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$33$66$99
Hourly Rate
$30.72 - $98.39  
   
Overtime
$1.64 - $81.30  
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$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,203  
   
Commission
$0.00  
Profit Sharing
$575 - $18,000  
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).
)
$94,330 - $164,836  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | 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.

Common Career Paths for Principal Electrical Engineer


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Principal Electrical Engineers who go on to become Senior Principal Engineers may see somewhat stagnant compensation. On average, a Senior Principal Engineer, an upper-level role, pays $134K.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Principal Electrical Engineer


BAE Systems Inc. offers the least pay with a median salary of $108K; furthermore, salaries there max out at only $160K.

Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer


Principal Electrical Engineers seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Engineering Design, Semiconductor, Board Design / Debug, Field-Programmable Gate Array, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include System Integration, Controls, and Software Development. 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. Six-figure salaries are not unusual for those just entering the occupation — survey respondents with less than five years' experience under their belts report receiving an average of $101K per year. On average, Principal Electrical Engineers make $124K following one to two decades on the job. Principal Electrical Engineers who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $130K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $123,693

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

For Principal Electrical Engineers, busy San Jose offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 25 percent above the national average. Principal Electrical Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Santa Clara (+23 percent), San Francisco (+21 percent), Austin (+14 percent), and San Diego (+12 percent). In Pittsburgh, salaries are 15 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Dallas and Minneapolis are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 8 percent lower and 5 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.

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Experience Affects Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries



National Average
$124,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 18%

Skills That Affect Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries

Board Design / Debug
up arrow 3%

Engineering Design, Semiconductor
up arrow 3%

Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
up arrow 2%

Design
up arrow 1%

Systems Engineering
up arrow 1%

Engineering Design
0%

Simulation
0%

Microsoft Excel
0%

National Average
$124,000

Microsoft Word
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 2%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 2%

Project Management
up arrow 3%

Software Development
up arrow 4%

Controls
up arrow 6%

System Integration
up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 162 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: 88%
medical benefits
Vision: 72%
dental benefits
None: 4%
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