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Principal Electrical Engineer Salary (United States)

Salaries for Principal Electrical Engineers in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($120K) per year. Cash earnings for Principal Electrical Engineers — including $20K in bonuses and $17K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $88K to $162K depending on individual performance. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Almost all workers report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction for Principal Electrical Engineers is high. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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  
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  
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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Principal Electrical Engineers who transition into an upper level Senior Principal Engineer position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. Senior Principal Engineers typically make $131K a year.

Principal Electrical Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Principal Electrical Engineer

Principal Electrical Engineers seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Field-Programmable Gate Array , 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. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Controls, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Office. Most people who know 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, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Whereas the median salary for inexperienced employees is approximately $103K, incomes in the five-to-10 year group are significantly higher, averaging to the comfortable six-figure sum of $80K. Principal Electrical Engineers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $119K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of 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. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like San Jose, Boulder, Houston, and Seattle, top-paying markets where Principal Electrical Engineers rake in more than the national norm (+22 percent, +13 percent, +12 percent, and +7 percent). With compensation 16 percent below the national average, Pittsburgh is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Milwaukee (13 percent less) and Dallas (12 percent less).

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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%