Principal Electrical Engineer Salary (United States)

Principal Electrical Engineers in the United States can expect to earn a very comfortable salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $120,128) surpassing six figures annually. Total cash compensation varies from around $85,564 to approximately $148,734; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $20K and $16,565, respectively. Geographic location and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of Principal Electrical Engineers claim high levels of job satisfaction. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
Principal Electrical Engineer Salary (?
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.
)
$85,564 - $148,734
(Median)
86K
99K
110K
130K
150K
MEDIAN: $114,108
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Principal Electrical Engineer Salary (?
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.
)
$31.54 - $97.59
(Median)
32
49
59
77
98
MEDIAN: $59.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
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
$85,564 - $148,734  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,239  
Profit Sharing
$992 - $16,565  
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).
)
$87,643 - $162,463  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 677
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
$31.54 - $97.59  
   
Overtime
$1.36 - $80.36  
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 - $20,239  
   
Profit Sharing
$992 - $16,565  
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).
)
$87,643 - $162,463  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 29
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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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Compensation does not increase for Principal Electrical Engineers who advance in their career. Oftentimes, upper-end positions like Senior Principal Engineer earn similar amounts to lower-end positions.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer

Principal Electrical Engineers report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), Board Design / Debug, Design, and Engineering Design are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 7 percent, 6 percent, 4 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Controls, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Office. 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.
Principal Electrical Engineers generally obtain higher salaries for more plentiful past experience. Starting salaries hover around $80K but quickly overtake six figures to $103K after five to 10 years. After spending one to two decades on the job, pay usually hovers around $119K. Salary increase slows as Principal Electrical Engineers pass 20 years in their field, with average salaries hovering around $128K.

Pay Difference By Location

Santa Clara
up arrow 31%
San Jose
up arrow 22%
Boulder
up arrow 13%
Houston
up arrow 12%
Seattle
up arrow 7%
up arrow 6%
Austin
0%
National Average
$120,000
Tucson
up arrow 4%
Minneapolis
up arrow 5%
Phoenix
up arrow 6%
Dallas
up arrow 12%
Milwaukee
up arrow 13%
Pittsburgh
up arrow 16%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Principal Electrical Engineers, working in the bustling city of Santa Clara has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. San Jose, Boulder, Houston, and Seattle also offer top salaries for Principal Electrical Engineers. Workers in these cities can expect to earn about 22 percent, 13 percent, 12 percent, and 7 percent more, respectively. The smallest paychecks in the market, 16 percent south of the national average, can be found in Pittsburgh. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Milwaukee (-13 percent) and Dallas (-12 percent).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries

National Average
$120,000
Entry-Level
up arrow 33%

Skills That Affect Principal Electrical Engineer Salaries

Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
up arrow 7%
Design
up arrow 4%
Engineering Design
up arrow 1%
Software Development
0%
National Average
$120,000
Project Management
up arrow 2%
Simulation
up arrow 2%
Systems Engineering
up arrow 2%
Windows Operating System General Use
up arrow 2%
Microsoft Excel
up arrow 4%
Microsoft Office
up arrow 5%
Microsoft Word
up arrow 6%
Controls
up arrow 16%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 179 votes.

Gender

Female
5%
female alumni
 
Male
95%
male alumni

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: 93% dental benefits Dental: 85%
vision benefits Vision: 69% employee benefits None: 6%
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