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High School Principal Careers

While many of us may have been more concerned with social status and college or career tests coming up in high school, an important player in the background kept our daily systems running smoothly. A high school principal is responsible for keeping the gears of a school well oiled so that the machine can function properly.

Being a High School Principal means regularly meeting with teachers, staff, and parents to ensure everyone is not only on the same page but as satisfied as possible with the processes and policies you put into place. You're there to ensure an efficient workflow and develop quality guidelines for schedules, budgets, and other strategies pertaining to your school. Making sure everyone under your care is safe, healthy, and well taken care of is your main priority.

To become a high school principal, you'll typically need a bachelor's or master's degree in teaching, education, or a related field. You'll also be required to have a number of years as a teacher or in a position within the school system or school board. What may surprise you is that, on average, a High School Principal makes about $95,000 a year!

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a high school principal. For example, did you know that they make an average of $46.98 an hour? That's $97,722 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 4% and produce 11,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a High School Principal Do

There are certain skills that many high school principals 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 communication skills, decision-making skills and leadership skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a high school principal, we found that a lot of resumes listed 18.7% of high school principals included student learning, while 11.7% of resumes included professional development, and 7.0% of resumes included staff members. 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 high school principal job title. But what industry to start with? Most high school principals actually find jobs in the education and non profits industries.

How To Become a High School Principal

If you're interested in becoming a high school principal, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 47.4% of high school principals have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 30.3% of high school principals have master's degrees. Even though most high school principals have a college degree, it's possible 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 high school principal. When we researched the most common majors for a high school principal, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on high school principal resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a high school principal. In fact, many high school principal jobs require experience in a role such as teacher. Meanwhile, many high school principals also have previous career experience in roles such as assistant principal or principal.

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Average Salary
$97,722
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
23,021
Job Openings

High School Principal Career Paths

Top Careers Before High School Principal

Teacher
17.7 %
Principal
12.5 %

Top Careers After High School Principal

Principal
18.5 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a High School Principal

High School Principals in America make an average salary of $97,722 per year or $47 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $138,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $68,000 per year.
Average Salary
$97,722

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Sunnyvale, CA
Salary Range99k - 151k$123k$122,631
Niles, IL
Salary Range80k - 147k$108k$108,460
Austin, TX
Salary Range63k - 102k$80k$80,295
Colorado Springs, CO
Salary Range55k - 92k$72k$71,935
$55k
$151k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
High School Associate Principal
High School Associate Principal
Great Falls Public Schools
Great Falls Public Schools
03/18/2021
03/18/2021
$87,66003/18/2021
$87,660
High School Principal
High School Principal
St. Clair R-Xiii School District
St. Clair R-Xiii School District
03/10/2021
03/10/2021
$85,00003/10/2021
$85,000
High School Principal-Yorba Linda High School #469
High School Principal-Yorba Linda High School #469
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$133,42901/30/2021
$133,429
Principal-Inderkum High School
Principal-Inderkum High School
Natomas Unified School District
Natomas Unified School District
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$123,54401/30/2021
$123,544
Associate Principal-John Hersey High School
Associate Principal-John Hersey High School
Township High School District 214
Township High School District 214
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$141,34701/27/2021
$141,347
See More Recent Salaries

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High School Principal Demographics

Gender

male

60.3 %

female

33.5 %

unknown

6.2 %

Ethnicity

White

69.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.4 %

Black or African American

10.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.6 %

French

15.1 %

Portuguese

3.8 %
See More Demographics

High School Principal Education

Majors

Education
17.4 %

Degrees

Bachelors

47.4 %

Masters

30.3 %

Certificate

11.0 %

Top Colleges for High School Principals

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

4. New York University

New York, NY • Private

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

5. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,094
Enrollment
32,974

7. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,099
Enrollment
21,404

8. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

9. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

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

10. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a High School Principal

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, 18.7% of high school principals listed student learning on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and decision-making skills are important as well.

  • Student Learning, 18.7%
  • Professional Development, 11.7%
  • Staff Members, 7.0%
  • Instructional Materials, 5.6%
  • Community Members, 4.0%
  • Other Skills, 53.0%
  • See All High School Principal Skills

Best States For a High School Principal

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a high school principal. The best states for people in this position are Nevada, California, New Jersey, and Connecticut. High school principals make the most in Nevada with an average salary of $129,928. Whereas in California and New Jersey, they would average $121,088 and $119,370, respectively. While high school principals would only make an average of $118,903 in Connecticut, 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. Rhode Island

Total High School Principal Jobs:
227
Highest 10% Earn:
$198,000
Location Quotient:
2.25
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. Connecticut

Total High School Principal Jobs:
478
Highest 10% Earn:
$200,000
Location Quotient:
1.74
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. New Jersey

Total High School Principal Jobs:
1,024
Highest 10% Earn:
$201,000
Location Quotient:
1.56
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 High School Principal Employers

1. American School
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$72,724
High School Principals Hired: 
4+
2. Oakland Unified School District
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$83,983
High School Principals Hired: 
4+
3. Chula Vista
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$90,819
High School Principals Hired: 
4+
4. Youth Elementary School
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$78,083
High School Principals Hired: 
4+
5. Rockingham County Schools
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$78,643
High School Principals Hired: 
3+
6. Grossmont Union High School District
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$93,452
High School Principals Hired: 
3+
Updated October 2, 2020