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Become A High School Principal

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Working As A High School Principal

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Developing and Building Teams
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Make Decisions

  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does A High School Principal Do

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage all school operations, including daily school activities. They coordinate curricula, oversee teachers and other school staff, and provide a safe and productive learning environment for students.

Duties

Elementary, middle, and high school principals typically do the following:

  • Manage school activities and staff, including teachers and support personnel
  • Establish and oversee class schedules
  • Develop, implement, and maintain curriculum standards
  • Counsel and discipline students
  • Observe teachers and classroom activities
  • Assist teachers in managing students’ behavior
  • Evaluate teachers’ performance
  • Meet with parents and teachers to discuss students’ progress and behavior
  • Assess and prepare reports on test scores and other student achievement data
  • Organize professional development programs and workshops for staff
  • Manage the school’s budget, order school supplies, and schedule maintenance
  • Establish and coordinate security procedures for students, staff, and visitors

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage the overall operation of schools, including building maintenance and cafeteria services. They set and oversee academic goals and ensure that teachers have the necessary equipment and resources. In public schools, principals also implement standards and programs set by the school district, state, and/or federal regulations. They evaluate and prepare reports on their school’s performance based on these standards by assessing student achievement and teacher performance. Principals may establish and oversee additional programs in their school, such as counseling, special education programs, and before- and after-school childcare programs.

Principals serve as the public face of their school. They meet with superintendents, legislators, and members of the community to request or explain funding for their schools. They also address the concerns of parents and members of the community.

The duties of principals vary by the size of the school and district. In larger schools and districts, principals have additional resources and staff to help them achieve goals. For example, large school districts often have instructional coordinators who help with data analysis and with teachers’ professional development. Principals also may have staff who oversee the hiring process of all school personnel, including teachers, custodians, and cafeteria workers. Principals in small school districts may need to assume these and other duties themselves.

Many schools have assistant principals who help principals with school administration. Principals typically assign specific administrative duties to their assistant principals. In some school districts, assistant principals are hired to handle a specific subject area, such as literacy or math. Assistants may be assigned to handle student safety, provide student academic counseling, or enforce disciplinary or attendance rules. They may also coordinate buses or supervise building and grounds maintenance.

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How To Become A High School Principal

Most schools require elementary, middle, and high school principals to have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership. Most principals also have work experience as teachers.

Education

Principals typically need a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. These master’s degree programs prepare future principals to manage staff, prepare and manage budgets, set goals, and work with parents and the community. To enter the master’s degree programs, candidates typically need a bachelor’s degree in education, school counseling, or a related field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Principals typically need several years of work experience as a teacher. For more information on how to become a teacher, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require public school principals to be licensed as school administrators. Licensure requirements vary by state, but most require a master’s degree. Some states have alternative programs for candidates who do not have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership. Most states also require candidates to pass an exam and a background check.

Principals in private schools are not required to have a state-issued license.

Advancement

An assistant principal can advance to become a principal. Some principals advance to become superintendents, which may require completion of additional education. Others become instructional coordinators.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Principals must communicate effectively with students, teachers, and parents. For example, when dealing with student disciplinary or academic issues, they consult with and listen to parents and teachers to understand the problem.

Critical-thinking skills. Principals analyze student test results and testing procedures to determine if improvements are needed. They must assess the available options and choose the best means to help students achieve better results.

Decisionmaking skills. Because principals are responsible for students, staff members, and the overall operation of the school, they consider many factors when making decisions.

Interpersonal skills. Because principals work with teachers, parents, and superintendents, they must be able to develop positive working relationships with them.

Leadership skills. Principals set educational goals and establish policies and procedures for the school. They need to be able to motivate teachers and other staff to achieve set goals.

Problem-solving skills. Teachers, students, and other staff members report problems to the principal. Principals need to be able to analyze problems, and develop and implement appropriate solutions.

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High School Principal Jobs

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High School Principal Career Paths

High School Principal
Superintendent Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Superintendent Owner
Vice President
6 Yearsyrs
Superintendent Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Superintendent Project Manager
Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Assistant Superintendent Owner
Executive Director
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Superintendent Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Athletic Director Director
Managing Director
11 Yearsyrs
Athletic Director Program Director
Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Athletic Director Executive Director
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Executive Director President
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Executive Director Operations Vice President
Senior Vice President-Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Director
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
Director President
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
President Senior Vice President
President & Chief Operating Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Vice President
Development Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Chief Finance Officer
Chief Administrative Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Development Director
Director Of Advancement
11 Yearsyrs
Education Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Education Director Vice President
Advisory Board Member
5 Yearsyrs
Education Director Nursing Director
Interim Director
10 Yearsyrs
Owner Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Instruction Program Director
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Director Of Instruction Operations Director
Director Of Service And Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Instruction Director Of Music
Founder And Director
6 Yearsyrs
Vice President Managing Director
Area Director
8 Yearsyrs
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Athletic Director Program Director
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Athletic Director Sports Information Director
Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Athletic Director Development Director
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer President/Chief Executive Officer
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer Founder And Chief Executive Officer
Commissioner
5 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer Director Of Technology And Services
Director Of Support Services
9 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Supervisor General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Curriculum Director Center Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Curriculum Director Director Of Admissions
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Curriculum Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a High School Principal?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Building Principal 4.6 years
School Principal 4.3 years
Vice Principal 3.9 years
School Director 3.7 years
Instruction Dean 2.9 years
Top Careers Before High School Principal
Teacher 15.2%
Principal 12.0%
Internship 2.2%
Director 1.9%
Volunteer 1.6%
Top Careers After High School Principal
Principal 16.6%
Teacher 4.9%
Internship 3.8%
Volunteer 3.7%
Director 3.2%
Consultant 2.6%
Owner 2.2%

Do you work as a High School Principal?

Average Yearly Salary
$79,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$160,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
City of Chula Vista
Highest Paying City
Colorado Springs, CO
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a High School Principal make at top companies?
The national average salary for a High School Principal in the United States is $79,206 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $160,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a High School Principal?

Have you worked as a High School Principal? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a High School Principal.

Top Skills for A High School Principal

  1. Curriculum Development
  2. Student Learning
  3. Staff Members
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Constructed students' master schedule and curriculum development; new data-driven assessment implementation; and disciplinary action for staff and students.
  • Promote a school environment that is safe and conducive to individualized instruction, cooperative curriculum development, and student learning.
  • Ensured academic excellence by working collaboratively to direct and nurture all staff members and communicate effectively with parents and students.
  • Provide instructional leadership to staff in curriculum planning, review and implementation, and professional development.
  • Coached teachers in classroom management and behavioral interventions for at-risk students and children with disabilities in coordination with School Psychologist.

High School Principal Demographics

Gender

Male

54.6%

Female

31.3%

Unknown

14.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.6%

French

15.1%

Portuguese

3.8%

German

3.8%

Mandarin

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Chinese

1.9%

Filipino

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Cayuga

1.9%

Amharic

1.9%

Hebrew

1.9%

Cantonese

1.9%
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High School Principal Education

Schools

University of Washington

7.2%

Liberty University

7.2%

Ohio State University

5.5%

Nova Southeastern University

5.5%

Texas A&M University

5.5%

University of Phoenix

5.5%

Grand Canyon University

5.5%

Arizona State University

5.0%

Florida State University

5.0%

University of North Texas

5.0%

Indiana State University

5.0%

Capella University

5.0%

University of Houston

4.4%

Stephen F Austin State University

4.4%

Walden University

4.4%

Ball State University

4.4%

Michigan State University

3.9%

Northern Arizona University

3.9%

University of Central Arkansas

3.9%

Northwest Missouri State University

3.9%
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Majors

Educational Leadership

39.8%

Education

14.7%

Business

9.8%

Elementary Education

4.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.5%

Management

2.7%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.5%

Psychology

2.5%

Special Education

2.5%

History

2.2%

English

2.1%

School Counseling

1.9%

Health Education

1.8%

Communication

1.6%

Counseling Psychology

1.6%

Secondary Education And Teaching

1.6%

Mathematics

1.5%

Kinesiology

1.3%

Theology

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.2%
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Degrees

Masters

39.6%

Other

22.4%

Bachelors

19.0%

Doctorate

11.8%

Certificate

4.2%

Associate

2.2%

License

0.4%

Diploma

0.4%
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