3 minute read

School Principal

Education and Training: Master’s or doctoral degree in education or related discipline; State licensure and on the job training may be required
Average Salary: $85,907-$97,486
Job Outlook: Excellent

School principals are responsible for overseeing the academic tone of an elementary, middle or secondary school. Principals work with teachers to ensure that the students meet academic standards required at the state and national level. Duties of most school principals include meeting with parents and students, hiring teachers and other school staff members, conducting teacher evaluations, visiting the classrooms and observing the teaching methods, and preparing school budgets and reports ordered by the school district.

School principals must also display strong interpersonal skills and effective communication abilities. The school principal works with students and parents to address behavioral and academic issues and must be able to convey and resolve problems openly and effectively.

Education and Training Requirements

Education and training requirements for a school principal consist of master’s and doctoral degree in education administration or a related field of study. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Ongoing training and continual education is required through attending workshops, seminars and conferences annually. During college courses emphasized include educational leadership, school finances, education and politics, and community relations.

Accredited programs help to fulfill the requirements of state licensure and can be taken through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The program is geared toward teachers who are pursuing a school principal position.

Getting the Job

Securing a job as a school principal requires schooling, application and an interview process. Most school principals have proven themselves as a teacher or administrator in the school. Depending on the requirements of the school, some states recommend on-the-job training with a mentor prior to being hired as the head principal. Individuals may work as an assistant principal for many years before moving into the role as school principal.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Opportunities for school principals are highly favorable with the large number of anticipated retirements and limited applicants for the available positions. The United States Department of Labor and Statistics reports that fewer teachers are moving into the role of school principal because of the increased number of responsibilities now required by the state. Competition for jobs has decreased because of the changes.

Working Conditions and Environment

School principals work in the schools they are employed at. The principal normally has a private office designed for meetings with staff, parents and students. Most school principals work more than 40 hours per week due to requirements with school activities that occur after hours or on weekends. While most work year round, some school principals take time off in the summer and work only during the academic year.

Stressful situations may arise as the school principal must deal with disciplining students and resolving conflicts. Principals are responsible for the school meeting state and federal standards regarding student performance and the qualifications of the school’s teachers.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a school principal varies by which type of school the individual is employed at. Elementary and middle school principals earn less than secondary and post-secondary school principals. The typical salary range for this position is $85,907-$97,486 per year.

Medical and health insurance and an extensive benefits package are offered with this position. Typical benefits packages for a school principal include life insurance, retirement plans, paid annual leave and sick leave.

Where to Go for More Information

NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 418
Washington, DC 20009

The National Association of Elementary School Principals
1615 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3483

The Association of California School Administrators
1029 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training