National Avg. Salary

$92,940 More Salary Data →

Job Growth Rate

5.8% More Growth Data →

Recommended Degree

Programs & Degrees →

Attributes

  • Dependable Daily Workload
  • Fast Paced Career
  • Good Entry Level Salary
  • High Income Potential

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Elementary school principals serve as the primary leaders of elementary schools. They manage all school operations, hire staff and teachers, support students, set school goals, and monitor performance towards goals and standards. Principals bear ultimate accountability for the success of their schools.

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Job Description

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in elementary school principal roles:

  • Support all individuals engaged and involved with an elementary school, including teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members
  • Develop standards for curriculums, ensure established standards and curriculums are adhered to, and observe teachers to monitor performance
  • Create class schedules, set staff schedules, and identify and/or organize professional development opportunities
  • Report school progress, initiatives, test scores, and other news of interest to parents, school boards, and community members
  • Handle student disciplinary issues and support teachers and staff in resolving behavioral or academic issues

A Day in the Life

The job of an elementary school principal is huge—these individuals oversee all operational aspects of a school, ensuring the success of teachers, students, and staff. Depending on the size of the school, the principal may be involved in day-to-day aspects of cafeteria operations, bus and transportation coordination, and creating schedules for teachers, janitors, and administrative staff. However, in larger schools, principals may delegate these tasks to an assistant principal or office administrator.

An elementary school principal’s primary responsibility is to ensure success of the school and the students that the school educates. The principal recruits, interviews, and hires teachers, monitors teacher performance and observes classrooms, and sets curriculum and performance standards. The principal ensures that students are learning the material needed to succeed on state examinations and reports test scores and progress toward goals to parents, superintendents, and the community at large.

Outside of the school environment, the principal is also responsible for working with school boards, superintendents, and legislators to secure funding for the school and its programs. The principal is the face of the school and attends community events, speaks, and creates presentations on behalf of the school in the community. As such, the position requires more political maneuvering than other school positions—like teaching—where educating students is the first and foremost responsibility.

Typical Work Schedule

Elementary school principals work full-time, mostly during school hours. However, they may be required to attend events and meetings in the community after hours in the evenings and on weekends. Additionally, principals generally do not get summers off with the rest of students and staff because the principal spends the summer overseeing maintenance on the school and planning for the upcoming school year.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Elementary School Teacher
  • Mid-Career: Assistant Principal, Principal
  • Late Career: Instructional Coordinator, Superintendent

Typical Employers

State and local governments generally employ elementary school principals to work in public schools. Additionally, some elementary school principals are employed by private or parochial organizations to serve as principal of private elementary schools.

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Elementary School Principal Salary Data

We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Annual Salary

Low Range

$72,380

Average

$92,940

High Range

$131,310

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

---

Average

---

High Range

---

How do Elementary School Principal salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Elementary School Principal's can make an average annual salary of $92,940, or --- per hour. On the lower end, they can make $72,380 or --- per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #88 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

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How To Become

To become an elementary school principal, you must accrue several years of experience as a teacher, and you may also need to work as an assistant principal for several years. To teach in an elementary school, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. To work in a public school, you’ll also need to be licensed by the state. Individuals with bachelor’s degrees that did not lead to a teaching license may quality for a one-year program that culminates in a teaching certification.

While working as an elementary school teacher, individuals interested in advancing into vice principal and principal positions will need to pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration. This degree educates individuals on the practices of managing a school and the laws that must be adhered to as part of school governance. Individuals must also become licensed as school administrators by completing a master’s degree program and passing a licensing examination.

After earning a master’s degree and becoming licensed, you can qualify for vice principal and principal positions. While it’s possible to move directly from teaching into a principal position, it’s more likely that you’ll need to make incremental moves and work as an assistant principal first. It is also helpful while working as either a teacher or assistant principal to take on varied administrative tasks and run programs to showcase your abilities when interviewing for elementary school principal positions.


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Quick Summary

  • Recommended Min. Degree

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Elementary School Principal. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Elementary School Principal

  • 13.2%   Doctorate
  • 44.8%   Masters
  • 23.5%   Bachelors
  • 5%   Associates
  • 8%   College
  • 4.6%   High School
  • 0.7%   Less than High School

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Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

240,000

2024 Est. Jobs

254,000

Job Growth Rate

5.8%

Est. New Jobs

14,000

How does Elementary School Principal job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 14,000 jobs for a total of 254,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #390 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

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What Companies Employ The Most Elementary School Principals

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 187,400 11,000 11%
Elementary and secondary schools; private 37,500 2,300 2%
Self-employed workers 5,100 200 0%

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