What Does an Assistant Principal Do?

Research what it takes to become an assistant principal. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Principal Licensure degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Many education professionals, such as teachers, make the leap into administration by becoming assistant principals. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering the field.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Education, School Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational Administration
Key Responsibilities Management, counseling, discipline, evaluation, organization, parental meetings
Job Growth for Principals (2012-2022) 6%*
Median Salary for Assistant Principals (2015) $79,831**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Do Assistant Principals Do?

Assistant principals help school principals with general administrative tasks. These vary from district to district and even school to school, but broadly fall into the areas of planning, coordinating services and maintaining order. Planning duties might include consulting with the principal, administering the school's mission and priorities, developing master course schedules, and implementing school programs and activities.

As an assistant principal, you must adjust class schedules; evaluate, hire and train new staffers; order textbooks, equipment and supplies; communicate with colleagues, teachers, parents and students; and supervise student transportation services. To maintain order in schools, you must monitor classrooms, evaluate teacher performance, respond to complaints about school policy, discipline students and prepare reports for juvenile court hearings. You also must meet with social workers, probation officers and parents to discuss options for chronically misbehaving or troubled students.

What Should I Study?

In order to become an assistant principal, your surest path is to accumulate teaching experience and then earn a master's degree in education leadership or education administration. Most assistant principals transition into administrative positions after working as teachers, and most public and private schools require assistant principals to have at least a master's degree.

Master's programs in education leadership or education administration use a combination of classroom study, internships and seminars to teach contemporary theories and current practices of school leadership in the K-12 grades. Courses engage such topics as personnel management, curriculum design, needs analysis and community relations. A master's degree is typically earned in two years.

What Is the Job Outlook?

There were 26,230 private and 90,010 public K-12 schools operating in the U.S., as of the 2011-2012 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (nces.ed.gov). While small schools might not have positions for assistant principals, larger schools might have more than one. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of K-12 principals will increase six percent from 2012-2022, primarily due to population growth (www.bls.gov). The BLS does not have a separate category for assistant principals.

How Much Might I Earn?

According to Salary.com, as of March 2015, assistant principals in the 25th-75th percentile earned $69,591-$93,291 per year, with a median of $79,831. This salary may vary somewhat, depending on the level of school at which a principal works.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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