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Become A Principal

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Working As A 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

  • $120,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Principal Do

A Principal directs and supervises the education and teaching programs for an assigned school. They are responsible for ensuring that their schools run smoothly, remain safe, and provide an excellent learning environment for students.

How To Become A 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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Principal jobs

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Real Principal Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal KPMG LLP Santa Clara, CA May 20, 2016 $475,000 -
$1,625,000
Principal Pricewaterhousecoopers New York, NY Jan 10, 2015 $455,000
Principal Warburg Pincus LLC New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $425,000
Principal Indaba Capital Management, L.P. San Francisco, CA Sep 23, 2015 $400,000
Assurance Principal Partner Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP Florham Park, NJ Jan 06, 2016 $375,000
Principal QIC Us Investment Services Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 17, 2016 $324,127
Principal, Healthcare Structured Finance TPG Opportunities Partners, L.P. San Francisco, CA Aug 26, 2015 $300,000
Principal TPG Opportunities Partners, L.P. San Francisco, CA Feb 08, 2016 $300,000
Principal Nanodimension, Inc. Woodside, CA May 09, 2016 $275,000
Principal Nanodimension Redwood City, CA Oct 26, 2015 $275,000

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Top Skills for A Principal

FinancialServicesBusinessStrategyCurriculumDevelopmentProductDevelopmentRegulatoryComplianceBusinessDevelopmentWebRealEstateProjectManagementProfessionalDevelopmentSafetyBusinessPlanHealthcarePolicySmallBusinessHumanResourcesCustomerServiceStaffMembersAdditionalSupervise

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Top Principal Skills

  1. Financial Services
  2. Business Strategy
  3. Curriculum Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed large business, technology and organizational improvement projects for software, professional services, entertainment, and financial services clients.
  • Line of business strategy development and execution.
  • Assist with curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Facilitated focus group and workshops that assisted in uncovering root cause issues to barriers of product development and services.
  • Managed regulatory compliance, corporate maintenance, and employment law issues.

Principal Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Vice Principal by Amanda H (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming a Vice Principal by Amanda H (Highlights)

A Principal provides Parenting Advice for parents of preschoolers from drkit.org