Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer Salary
Job Description for Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer
Radio frequency (RF) engineers are responsible for performing research that furthers the success of intelligence sensors and surveillance radars, including research in the fields of bistatic, passive and active multiple inputs, multiple outputs, monostatic, and over-the-horizon radar.Read More...
RF engineers must expand their current knowledge about radio frequency sensor components, data collection, and analysis to improve radar designing, testing, and evaluation. They are tasked with using measures of performance, effectiveness, and suitability in the lab and creating systems which allow other engineers to test these areas in the lab, and some of their work may be directly supervised by senior management engineers. Senior engineers typically help RF engineers execute all aspects of data campaigns and collection, and cleaning and clerical duties may also be necessary in any given shift.
At least five years of experience in radio frequency are generally required for this position. Some facilities require at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, while others may require a master’s degree. Knowledge of analytical software such as Matlab, C, or VHDL is also required by some employers.
Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer Tasks
- Conducts research that tests and analyzes design, operation, and performance of components and systems.
- Designs, develops, and maintains radio frequency systems.
- Gathers information to prepare and present reports on project topics.
- Performs bench tests and evaluates radio frequency systems.
Common Career Paths for Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer
Radio Frequency Engineers who go on to become Design Engineering Managers may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Design Engineering Managers is $102K annually. With an annual salary of $96K, Senior Electrical Engineer is the most common role for Radio Frequency Engineers to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Wireless RF Network Engineer role — which usually pays $67K — is also typical for Radio Frequency Engineers, though less common by comparison.
Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer
Ericsson Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, First RF Corporation, Verizon Wireless, and Northrop Grumman Corporation are all popular places to work. Nokia, Inc. leads the field in terms of pay, with a median salary of $102K. Other employers shelling out big bucks include T-Mobile, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp, and Verizon Wireless, where Radio Frequency Engineers typically earn around $95K, $92K, or $88K, respectively.
Employees at C Squared Systems, First RF Corporation, and U.S. Cellular Corporation can also expect below-average earnings of $63K, $69K, and $73K.
Popular Skills for Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer
Radio Frequency Engineers seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in Engineering Design, Semiconductor, Project Management, Engineering Design, and Satellite, Microwave Technology are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 3 percent and 14 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Windows Operating System General Use, C, and Microsoft Word. Most people familiar with Engineering Design also know Satellite, Microwave Technology, Test Engineering, and Microsoft Excel. Those familiar with Wireless tend to be well versed in Microsoft Excel.
Pay by Experience Level for Radio Frequency (RF) Engineer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Salaries for inexperienced workers average out to $85K, and those with five to 10 years' experience earn a higher median of $72K. After one to two decades on the job, professionals can reap plentiful salaries that average out to the six-figure sum of $101K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $105K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Radio Frequency Engineers in San Jose enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 38 percent above the national average. Radio Frequency Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Plano (+10 percent), Los Angeles (+7 percent), Boulder (+6 percent), and Baltimore (+6 percent). Boston ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 14 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Phoenix (11 percent less) and Atlanta (9 percent less).