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What is a Principal

We all had that principal in school that had a lasting impression on us. Whether they helped us make a change in our lives that was for the better or they taught us valuable lessons, like the importance of showing up on time. Now, it's your turn to have a lasting impression on some kids' lives.

As principal, everyone is going to know who you are. You're the one that gets to enforce all of the rules, and make sure the teachers are following them, too! But you also get to go to fun conferences with your teachers and learn new ways to teach your kiddos.

The best part of being a principal is getting to watch your students go on to the next step. Whether that's middle school, high school, or college. Knowing that you had a hand in each students' education and future has to make you feel good at the end of the day.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Principal. For example, did you know that they make an average of $67.58 an hour? That's $140,569 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 Principal Do

There are certain skills that many 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 Decision-making skills, Interpersonal skills and Leadership skills.

Learn more about what a Principal does

How To Become a Principal

If you're interested in becoming a Principal, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 63.4% of Principals have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 22.4% of Principals have master's degrees. Even though most Principals have a college degree, it's impossible 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 Principal. When we researched the most common majors for a Principal, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Master's Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Principal resumes include Doctoral Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Principal. In fact, many Principal jobs require experience in a role such as Teacher. Meanwhile, many Principals also have previous career experience in roles such as Assistant Principal or Vice President.

What is the right job for my career path?

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

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Boston Consulting Group Jobs (96)
  2. A.T. Kearney Jobs (44)
  3. Deloitte Jobs (46)
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers Jobs (46)
  5. Accenture Jobs (39)
Average Salary
$140,569
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
101,834
Job Openings
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Principal Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Principal

Principals in America make an average salary of $140,569 per year or $68 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $213,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $92,000 per year.
Average Salary
$140,569
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Principal? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
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Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

12 Principal Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Principal Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Principal resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Principal Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Boston Consulting Group Jobs (96)
  2. A.T. Kearney Jobs (44)
  3. Deloitte Jobs (46)
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers Jobs (46)
  5. Accenture Jobs (39)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Principal Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Principal templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Principal resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Principal Resume
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Principal Demographics

Principal Gender Distribution

Male
Male
66%
Female
Female
34%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Principals, 34.4% of them are women, while 65.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Principals is White, which makes up 69.3% of all Principals.

  • The most common foreign language among Principals is Spanish at 41.1%.

Job Openings

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Principal Education

Principal Majors

19.9 %

Principal Degrees

Bachelors

63.4 %

Masters

22.4 %

Doctorate

5.5 %

Top Colleges for 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 Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

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

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

8. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

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

10. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451
Job Openings

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Top Skills For a 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, 6.9% of Principals listed Professional Development on their resume, but soft skills such as Decision-making skills and Interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Professional Development, 6.9%
  • CRM, 6.9%
  • Project Management, 6.0%
  • Healthcare, 5.4%
  • Financial Services, 5.3%
  • Other Skills, 69.5%

Best States For a Principal

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Principal. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, New York, North Dakota, and Washington. Principals make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $160,135. Whereas in New York and North Dakota, they would average $160,078 and $157,390, respectively. While Principals would only make an average of $156,391 in Washington, 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. Washington

Total Principal Jobs:
2,331
Highest 10% Earn:
$217,000
Location Quotient:
1.66
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. New Hampshire

Total Principal Jobs:
417
Highest 10% Earn:
$227,000
Location Quotient:
1.24
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 York

Total Principal Jobs:
2,685
Highest 10% Earn:
$235,000
Location Quotient:
1.09
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
Full List Of Best States For Principals

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Top Principal Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ Principals and discovered their number of Principal opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Infosys Public Services was the best, especially with an average salary of $144,394. Boston Consulting Group follows up with an average salary of $231,699, and then comes Residential Mortgage Services, with an average of $126,008. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a Principal. The employers include The Home Depot, Veeva Systems, and Science Applications International

Most Common Employers For Principal

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Principal SalaryAverage Salary
1$231,699
2$223,349
3
3.Celent
$215,155
4$212,784
5$210,078
6$202,674

What are the best companies to work for a Principal?

Dr. Faye Deters

Associate Dean, Interim Chair, Educational Leadership & Counselor Education, Eastern Kentucky University

Graduates with degrees in Educational Leadership typically seek employment as leaders within public school districts and private or charter schools.Show more

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Becoming a Principal FAQs

How long does it take to become a Principal?

It takes 11 years of professional experience to become a principal. That is the time it takes to learn specific principal skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 14 to 16 years years to become a principal.

How many years does it take to become a principal?

It takes about six years to become a principal. Most principals secure their bachelor's degree, which takes approximately four years. From there, some may decide to continue their education, gaining their master's degree. However, some prospective principals may enter the education field as a teacher and continue gaining career traction that way.

How much does a principal earn a year?

A principal earns an average of $130,000 a year. A principal just starting in the field may make about $80,000 per year, while those in the top 10% make about $212,000 per year. Depending on the school district and institution, some principals may see bonuses or incentives to increase their base salary.

What degree does a principal need?

A principal needs a bachelor's degree, at minimum. Some principals may go for their master's degree, but this is not often a requirement to become a principal. Fewer principals secure the doctorate, as it is often unneeded or only needed for higher-level occupational responsibilities that many principals will not need to complete.

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