Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal Career

principal-500Elementary, middle and high school principals work in private and public schools and are responsible for the daily operations of that school. They are the ones who keep an eye on educators to ensure that they meet the demands of students and the ones who handle the design of new curriculum used by the school.

Principals must also follow the school budget and approve any fundraising efforts suggested by students, faculty or parents. They also ensure the safety of all workers and students and can implement new programs to improve safety.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal Career Snapshot

Elementary, middle and high school principals often work more than 40 hours a week. In addition to working on school days, they may stay later to assist students or to meet with parents and hold meetings with teachers. Though principals do not receive overtime, they often work nights and weekends at school events.

Further details on a career as a principal are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for principals.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree while 21% have a Post-Master’s certificate.

Principal Education

Principals generally need both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Many principals study education in college, get a teaching license and then work as a teacher before become a principal. Some states also require that principals go through a civil and criminal background check before working in a school.

Principal Job Duties

One of the primary duties of a school principal is the management of both students and workers. They evaluate teachers to ensure that those teachers should keep their jobs, assign raises based on the performance of teachers and the amount of money in the budget, order supplies as needed during the school year and punish students with expulsions and suspensions based on their behavior.

Principal Salaries

According to May 2015 BLS.gov reports, the median pay for elementary, middle and high school principals is $90,410 a year, but the lowest 10% of all principals earn less than $50,000 a year. The top 10% of all principals earn more than $130,000 a year. Most schools base salary on education and experience and pay those principals more.

Principal Job Outlook

The job outlook for elementary, middle and high school teachers is average and expected to grow at a rate of 6% by 2024. This rate equates to employment change of around 14,000 new jobs. The reason for this growth relates to the idea that baby boomers will retire in the coming years and leave open jobs behind as well as the fact that new charter and alternative schools will open in the future and have a need for experienced principals.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal Skills & Traits

Principal Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Principals:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Reading Comprehension
• Speaking
• Critical Thinking
• Writing
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Written Comprehension
• Written Expression
• Deductive Reasoning
• Fire alarm systems
• Notebook computers
• Photocopying equipment
• Interactive whiteboards
• Two way radios
• Communicating with Others
• Interpersonal Relationships
• Decision Making
• Developing and Building Teams
• Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Others

Related Careers

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Master’s Degree

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