Principal Engineer—ASCE Definition of Classification
Makes decisions and recommendations that are recognized as authoritative and have an important impact on extensive engineering activities. Initiates and maintains extensive contacts with key engineers and officials of other organizations and companies, requiring skill in persuasion and negotiations of critical issues. At this level individuals will have demonstrated creativity, foresight, and mature engineering judgment in anticipating and solving unprecedented engineering problems, determining program objectives and requirements, organizing programs and projects, and developing standards and guides for diverse engineering activities.
Direction Received Supervision received is essentially administrative, with assignments given in terms of broad general objectives and limits
Typical Duties & Responsibilities One or more of the following: (1) In a supervisory capacity is responsible for (a) an important segment of the engineering program of an organization with extensive and diversified engineering requirements, or (b) the entire engineering program of an organization when it is more limited in scope. The overall engineering program contains critical problems the solution of which requires major technological advances and opens the way for extensive related development. The extent of his/her responsibilities generally require several subordinate organizational segments or teams. Recommends facilities, personnel, and funds required to carry out programs that are directly related with and directed towards fulfillment of overall organizational objectives. (2) As an individual researcher and consultant is a recognized leader and authority in the organization in a broad area of specialization or in a narrow but intensely specialized field. Selects research problems to further the organization's objectives. Conceives and plans investigations of broad areas of considerable novelty and importance for which engineering precedents are lacking in areas critical to the overall engineering program. Is consulted extensively by associates and others with a high degree of reliance placed on his/her scientific interpretations and advice. Typically, will have contributed inventions, new designs, or techniques that are regarded as major advances in the field. (3) For higher education faculty positions, typical duties include research, publication of findings, classroom instruction, student advising, serving on governance committees, and serving on doctoral review committees.
Responsibilities for Direction of Others Directs several subordinates supervisors or team leaders, some of whom are in positions comparable to Engineer VI, or, as an individual researcher and consultant, may be assisted on individual projects by other engineers and technicians.
Typical Position Titles Principal Engineer, Division or District Engineer, Department Manager, Director or Assistant Director of Research, Consultant, Professor, Distinguished Professor or Department Head, Assistant Chief or Chief Engineer, City or County Engineer
Education Bachelor's Degree in engineering from an ABET accredited curriculum, or equivalent, plus appropriate continuing education.
Registration Registered Professional Engineer (PE)
Typical Professional Attainments Member of professional society (Member grade); Publishes engineering papers, articles, textbooks, or make presentations, gives lectures, provides training, etc.
Equivalent Federal General Schedule Grade GS-14