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Working as a Principal Project Engineer

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a principal project engineer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $59.66 an hour? That's $124,095 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 8% and produce 23,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Principal Project Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many principal project engineers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed speaking skills, writing skills and listening skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a principal project engineer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 38.7% of principal project engineers included project management, while 6.2% of resumes included dod, and 5.6% of resumes included risk management. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the principal project engineer job title. But what industry to start with? Most principal project engineers actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Principal Project Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a principal project engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 37.7% of principal project engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 45.7% of principal project engineers have master's degrees. Even though most principal project engineers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a principal project engineer. When we researched the most common majors for a principal project engineer, we found that they most commonly earn master's degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on principal project engineer resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a principal project engineer. In fact, many principal project engineer jobs require experience in a role such as project engineer. Meanwhile, many principal project engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as senior engineer or project manager.

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Average Salary$124,095
Job Growth Rate8%

Principal Project Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Principal Project Engineer

Top Careers After Principal Project Engineer

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Average Salary for a Principal Project Engineer

Principal Project Engineers in America make an average salary of $124,095 per year or $60 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $166,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $92,000 per year.
Average Salary
$124,095

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Houston, TX
Salary Range114k - 201k$152k$152,064
Santa Clara, CA
Salary Range105k - 176k$136k$136,315
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range102k - 152k$125k$124,853
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range100k - 149k$122k$122,300
Milwaukee, WI
Salary Range99k - 146k$121k$120,940
Bothell, WA
Salary Range93k - 156k$121k$120,563
$76k
$201k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Principal Project Engineer-Distribution Centers
Principal Project Engineer-Distribution Centers
Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA
01/12/2021
01/12/2021
$250,00001/12/2021
$250,000
Principal Project Engineer-Distribution Centers
Principal Project Engineer-Distribution Centers
Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA
12/23/2020
12/23/2020
$250,00012/23/2020
$250,000
Principal Project Engineer-Distribution Centers
Principal Project Engineer-Distribution Centers
Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA
10/27/2020
10/27/2020
$250,00010/27/2020
$250,000
Principal Project Manager-Engineer Principal
Principal Project Manager-Engineer Principal
State of Minnesota
State of Minnesota
07/26/2020
07/26/2020
$70,80407/26/2020
$70,804
Principal Project Engineer
Principal Project Engineer
Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA
07/09/2020
07/09/2020
$250,00007/09/2020
$250,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Principal Project Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

82.6 %

female

11.7 %

unknown

5.7 %

Ethnicity

White

69.4 %

Asian

16.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

23.8 %

German

14.3 %

French

9.5 %
See More Demographics

Principal Project Engineer Education

Degrees

Masters

45.7 %

Bachelors

37.7 %

Doctorate

9.0 %

Top Colleges for Principal Project Engineers

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

3. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

7. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

8. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

9. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

10. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105
See More Education Info
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Internship
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Top Skills For a Principal Project Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 38.7% of principal project engineers listed project management on their resume, but soft skills such as speaking skills and writing skills are important as well.

Best States For a Principal Project Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a principal project engineer. The best states for people in this position are Texas, Rhode Island, Delaware, and California. Principal project engineers make the most in Texas with an average salary of $145,213. Whereas in Rhode Island and Delaware, they would average $140,614 and $134,853, respectively. While principal project engineers would only make an average of $131,310 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Texas

Total Principal Project Engineer Jobs:
4,664
Highest 10% Earn:
$225,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Rhode Island

Total Principal Project Engineer Jobs:
185
Highest 10% Earn:
$195,000
Location Quotient:
0.94
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Delaware

Total Principal Project Engineer Jobs:
176
Highest 10% Earn:
$194,000
Location Quotient:
0.97
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Principal Project Engineer Employers

1. Honeywell
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$145,043
Principal Project Engineers Hired: 
22+
2. WorleyParsons
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$217,046
Principal Project Engineers Hired: 
15+
3. Medtronic
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$112,846
Principal Project Engineers Hired: 
13+
4. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$189,605
Principal Project Engineers Hired: 
11+
5. Parsons
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$215,657
Principal Project Engineers Hired: 
10+
6. CSC Holdings
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$136,283
Principal Project Engineers Hired: 
10+

Principal Project Engineer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020