Everyone knows that principals are in charge of schools. But what does being in charge actually mean? Mostly, it means a lot of responsibility—for supervising teachers and staff, for making sure everything is well-run and that the school is safe. It also means dealing with serious disciplinary problems, and overseeing the school curriculum. Being responsible for educating of hundreds of kids—thousands, in a big school—is a very big responsibility, but it’s an important job.
Annual salaries for school principals will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2013, the average annual salary for senior education administrators, including school principals, working in the U.S. was $90,840 per year.
For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for school principals, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.
Texas has the greatest number of employment opportunities for education leaders, with 22,320 positions offering a yearly average salary of $76,020. California is second, with just over 20,000 education leaders earning an average salary of $102,090.
The metro areas employing the most school principals are:
The metro areas employing the highest concentration of school principals are:
The metro areas employing the best-paid school principals are:
Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as an educational leader. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.
It takes hard work (and usually graduate school) as well as many years’ experience to become a school principal, but for many educators the effort is well worth it. Here are a few of the reasons why:
School principals need multiple skill sets. They need to be experts in education: what makes a good or a bad teacher, or a strong curriculum. They have to lead and manage others and must be excellent with people. And since they often get the tough disciplinary cases, they need to be good with the kids, too. A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.
Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about school principal careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.
There are sometimes opportunities for those with extensive experience in teaching and school administration to take over the role of a school principal.
Most public and private schools will require aspiring school principals to have a master’s degree in education leadership or administration. These programs are widely offered, including courses that teach students how to train and supervise teachers and staff, manage school budgets, set institutional goals, and work with parents or other community leaders.
Many states also require principals become licensed as school administrators. Getting a license usually involves passing a test and some continuing education.