School Principal

A school principal manages a school’s daily operations. He or she is responsible for curriculums, teachers and other staff members and the institution’s budget. The principal serves as a representative for the school and works with parents, community members, superintendents and legislators to ensure that students receive the best education possible.

Job Responsibilities

Coordinating an elementary, middle or high school’s activities and staff, a school principal oversees every aspect of their establishment. They create class schedules and curriculum standards and enforce district, state and federal programs and standards. A principal acts as the school’s representative and may collaborate with superintendents, legislators and community members. They provide guidance and discipline for students, leadership for teachers and staff, and also communicate with students’ families. Additionally, the school principal arranges professional development programs for staff members. Sometimes, they manage hiring teachers and staff members, including custodians and cafeteria workers.

Generally, school principals work full time, and overtime during the weekends or evenings may be necessary due to meetings with parents, community members and school functions. Principals also perform some administrative tasks, such as regulating the school’s budget. Principals work year-round and spend the summer months – while students and teachers are away – planning for the upcoming academic year, hiring teachers and staff, ordering school supplies and scheduling building maintenance.

Become a Principal

Prepare for a career as a K–12 principal with our online Master's in Educational Administration.

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School Principal Salary

School principals earned a median salary of $101,320 in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Wages vary for administrators leading public and private schools. Public school principals earned a median wage of $102,400 per year, while principals of private schools made 82,990 per year.

Despite limited employment growth projected by the BLS through 2032, about 20,200 openings for elementary, middle, and high school principals are projected each year over the decade. Most openings will result from vacancies for principals who leave education to pursue a different occupation or exit the labor force for retirement.

Education Requirements

A master’s degree in education leadership or administration is required to become a school principal. It is common for graduate students to have a background in either school counseling, education or another related field. Unless they work at a private school, some states also mandate that principals are licensed as school administrators. Several years of prior teaching experience is also necessary.

Campbellsville University’s online master’s degree in educational administration prepares individuals for a career as a K–12 principal. Individuals who want to pursue a career as a school principal will learn how to create a constructive environment for teachers, staff and students, handle the school’s budget, and perform other administrative duties. Faculty members with real-world experience as school administrators teach this fully online program. Students can conveniently work studies into their busy schedules.