What's the Average Salary of an Elementary School Principal?
Explore the career requirements for elementary school principals. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, job growth and average salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Principal Licensure degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Information at a Glance
Elementary school principals are tasked with ensuring a school's day-to-day operations run smoothly, so that teachers can effectively provide instruction to their students. To learn more about the average salary for these positions, in addition to entry-level requirements, take a look at the table below:
|Degree Required||Master's or doctoral degree|
|Education Field of Study||Elementary education administration, educational leadership|
|Key Responsibilities||Manage teachers and staff, assess student achievement, balance school budgets|
|Licensure||State licensure as a school administrator is typically required for positions in public schools|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||6% (for elementary and secondary school administrators)*|
|Average Salary (2013)||$90,670 (for elementary and secondary school administrators)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Becoming an Elementary School Principal
The requirements to become an elementary school principal can vary according to the institution. You may need a master's degree or a specialized doctoral degree in elementary education administration or educational leadership. Master's degrees typically take 2-3 years to complete and culminate in a thesis, while doctoral degrees take 4-6 years to finish and culminate in a dissertation.
In graduate degrees in this field, you could learn about the history of urban education, public educational policy, qualitative research methodologies, education organization and administrative behavior. Other areas of study could include the politics of education, administration for elementary education, educational finance, pedagogical issues and decision-making in education administrations. Courses in these programs often combine pedagogical training with business and leadership training.
In addition to your education, you'll need teaching experience. Some employers might also value job applicants who have knowledge of management, customer service, security or public safety. Active listening, critical thinking, writing, speaking and reading comprehension could also be helpful skills.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 6% increase in employment opportunities for elementary and secondary school principals between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). This job growth was expected to be driven by increasing enrollment numbers, especially in the country's Western and Southern regions.
The BLS stated that the average salary for elementary and secondary school principals was $90,670 as of 2013. West Virginia, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey and Illinois were the states with the highest concentration of employment, while Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and New York paid the highest average annual wages.
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