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Principal Electrical Engineer Salary

Principal Electrical Engineers enjoy a hefty income, with average pay passing six figures ($115K) annually in the United States. Total incomes of Principal Electrical Engineers incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $20K from bonuses and close to $17K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $90K and $163K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Principal Electrical Engineers. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$88,068 - $149,851
(Median)
$88K
$120K
$150K
MEDIAN: $115,386
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
$88,068 - $149,851  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,126  
Profit Sharing
$990 - $16,642  
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).
)
$89,700 - $162,529  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 829
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
$23.75 - $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 - $20,126  
   
Profit Sharing
$990 - $16,642  
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).
)
$89,700 - $162,529  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 28

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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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Many Principal Electrical Engineers move into a Senior Principal Engineer role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Senior Principal Engineers on average bring in a similar salary to Principal Electrical Engineers.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer


Survey results imply that Principal Electrical Engineers deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Field-Programmable Gate Array, Board Design / Debug, Design, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like System Integration, Controls, and Microsoft Word. Most people experienced in 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.


For Principal Electrical Engineers, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Inexperienced workers earn around $88K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years pull down a much higher average of $106K. For Principal Electrical Engineers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $122K. Principal Electrical Engineers who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $129K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


Home to some of the best pay for Principal Electrical Engineers, San Jose offers exceptional salaries, 27 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), Boulder (+12 percent), and Los Angeles (+8 percent). Pittsburgh is the lowest-paying area, 17 percent south of the national average. Dallas and Minneapolis are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 11 percent lower and 6 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 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

United States (change)

Experience Affects Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries



National Average
$122,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 28%

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 1%

Project Management
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Office
up arrow 5%

Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 5%

Controls
up arrow 7%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 7%

System Integration
up arrow 7%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 199 votes.

Gender

Female
5 %
Male
95 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
2%
5-9 years
15%
10-19 years
35%
20 years or more
48%

Common Health Benefits

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