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Become A Secondary School Principal

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Working As A Secondary 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

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Secondary 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 Secondary 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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Secondary School Principal Jobs

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Do you work as a Secondary School Principal?

Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$167,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Wicomico County Public Schools
Highest Paying City
Menlo Park, CA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Secondary School Principal make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Secondary School Principal in the United States is $80,756 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $167,000.

Real Secondary School Principal Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Secondary Principal German-American International School Menlo Park, CA Jan 08, 2016 $130,000 -
$150,000
Head of Secondary School Atlanta International School Atlanta, GA Sep 16, 2015 $120,000 -
$140,000
Middle/Secondary School Principal Triad Math and Science Academy Co. Cary, NC Oct 20, 2014 $73,487
Principle, Primary & Secondary School Kwong KOW Chinese School Boston, MA Oct 01, 2009 $70,020
French Bilingual Secondary School Geography/Histor The AWTY International School Houston, TX Aug 01, 2013 $56,640
French Bilingual Secondary School Geography/Histor The AWTY International School, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 01, 2010 $46,650
Secondary School Teach-History Atlanta International School Atlanta, GA Sep 08, 2012 $46,000 -
$66,000
Secondary School Mathematics Teacher25 The School Board of Broward County Hollywood, FL Jul 01, 2010 $44,025

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Top Skills for A Secondary School Principal

  1. Curriculum Development
  2. Student Learning
  3. Instructional Leader
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Institutionalized professional learning communities; teams used data to drive instruction and monitor student learning and evaluate teacher performance.
  • Served as instructional leader for 6-12 curricula combining formats to maximize results.
  • Developed academic curriculum, prepared budget, executed in-service teacher training, oversight for discipline and athletic programs.
  • Added 9th period to master schedule to permit additional elective courses.
  • Organized and monitored educational programs and school facilities.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Secondary School Principals

  1. Illinois
  2. Connecticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. California
  5. New York
  6. West Virginia
  7. Nevada
  8. New Mexico
  9. Michigan
  10. New Jersey
  • (652 jobs)
  • (48 jobs)
  • (149 jobs)
  • (2,483 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (346 jobs)
  • (165 jobs)

Secondary School Principal Demographics

Gender

Male

56.7%

Female

25.8%

Unknown

17.5%
Ethnicity

White

57.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.0%

Asian

12.5%

Black or African American

11.9%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

22.2%

Arabic

22.2%

Chinese

11.1%

German

11.1%

French

11.1%

Cayuga

11.1%

Armenian

11.1%
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Secondary School Principal Education

Schools

Nova Southeastern University

10.2%

Texas A&M University

6.1%

University of South Dakota

6.1%

Louisiana State University at Shreveport

6.1%

University of Phoenix

6.1%

Stephen F Austin State University

6.1%

Pacific University

6.1%

American College of Education

4.1%

University of the West

4.1%

University of Scranton

4.1%

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

4.1%

Texas Tech University

4.1%

Duquesne University

4.1%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.1%

National University

4.1%

Texas A&M University - Commerce

4.1%

Sam Houston State University

4.1%

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

4.1%

Argosy University-Hawaii

4.1%

Tarleton State University

4.1%
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Majors

Educational Leadership

40.2%

Education

11.6%

Business

7.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.3%

Mathematics

3.0%

Computer Science

3.0%

Communication

3.0%

Management

2.4%

Biology

2.4%

Elementary Education

2.4%

Project Management

2.4%

History

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Accounting

1.8%

Teaching Assistants/Aides

1.8%

Social Sciences

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.8%

Computer Applications

1.8%

Theology

1.8%

Special Education

1.8%
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Degrees

Masters

43.4%

Bachelors

16.7%

Other

13.6%

Doctorate

13.6%

Certificate

5.4%

Diploma

3.6%

Associate

2.7%

License

0.9%
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