Principal Electrical Engineer Salary

Principal Electrical Engineers in the United States can expect to earn a very generous salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $117K) surpassing six figures annually. Total incomes of Principal Electrical Engineers incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $20K from bonuses and close to $18K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $94K and $165K. Location is the main element affecting pay for this group — the company and tenure are driving factors as well. For the most part, Principal Electrical Engineers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Almost all enjoy medical while a large number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a fair number. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed 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' salary tends to stay somewhat level for those who assume higher-end positions like Senior Principal Engineer. Median pay for Senior Principal Engineers is $134K.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Principal Electrical Engineer


Salaries are easily beat at BAE Systems Inc., where median pay comes to just $108K, the lowest in the field. What's more, with base pay starting at $99K and ending at $160K, range in salary is rather small.

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 Engineering Design, Semiconductor, Board Design / Debug, Field-Programmable Gate Array, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include System Integration, Controls, and Software Development. 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 many Principal Electrical Engineers, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Even the relatively untried can take home bulky six-figure salaries; employees who have worked for fewer than five years report earning $101K on average. Principal Electrical Engineers bring in $124K after working for 10 to 20 years. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $130K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $123,693

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

San Jose is home to an above-average pay rate for Principal Electrical Engineers, 25 percent higher than 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). Pittsburgh ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 15 percent below the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Dallas (8 percent lower) and Minneapolis (5 percent lower).

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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