Middle School Principal: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a middle school principal. Learn about the educational requirements, potential earnings and licensing details to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Principal Licensure degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Middle School Principal?

As a middle school principal, you could be responsible for establishing procedures and overseeing daily operations within your learning institution. Your daily responsibilities may vary depending on the overall size of the school and district, but you may likely be in charge of managing teachers and staff, choosing curriculum, creating school calendars, and interacting with students and parents. As principal, you may also be called upon to deal with disciplinary issues. The following table provides detailed information for this career.

Degree Required Master's or doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Educational leadership, education administration
Key Responsibilities Manage all staff members, enact performance objectives, ensure school policies and guidelines conform with local, state and federal statutes
Licensure School administrator license
Job Growth (2014-24) 6% (elementary, middle, and high school principals)*
Median Salary (2016) $87,796**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Education Is Needed to Become a Middle School Principal?

Many principals begin their careers as school teachers. They acquire bachelor's degrees in the subject areas they want to teach, then go on to acquire advanced degrees if they wish to become administrators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most principals hold either a master's or doctoral degree in educational leadership or education administration. Some principals in private schools may only need a bachelor's degree.

You might consider enrolling in a master's or doctoral program that's accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). These accredited programs teach future administrators how to manage schools at the K-12 levels.

Along with classes in school budgeting, curriculum development and community relations, your master's degree curriculum could include courses like school law and politics of education. In addition, you may take classes in advanced educational psychology, organizing diverse populations and school personnel administration. A doctorate curriculum in education administration may include such topics as ethics in higher education administration, learning program analysis, human resources management and leadership in educational organizations.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

The BLS reported that education administrators who worked in elementary and secondary schools earned average annual salaries of $92,940 in 2015. According to Payscale.com in 2016, most middle school principals earned an annual salary between $69,282 and $126,732. Higher compensation is often directly related to years of experience working in the profession.

How Do I Become Licensed?

The BLS notes that in most states, middle school principals need to be licensed as school administrators. While licensure requirements vary from state to state, you'll usually need to complete a master's program as well as a written exam. Some new principals participate in a period of supervised on-the-job training. In some states, you might need to take continuing education courses in order to retain your license.

What Job Responsibilities Might I Have?

As a middle school principal, you'll manage a staff that includes teachers, coaches and counselors. You'll confer with other school administrators to enact performance objectives while making sure that school policies and guidelines are in compliance with local, state and federal statutes.

Hiring and training of staff could be another of your job duties. You might offer personal or academic guidance to students and meet with parents to discuss their child's academic progress. Other responsibilities may include hosting professional development programs for teachers and support workers or preparing school budgets.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Because many principals also have education degrees, you may also consider a career in teaching at the elementary, middle, or high school level if you want to have more constant involvement with students everyday. With a master's degree or doctoral degree, you can also teach at the postsecondary level. If you enjoy mentoring students on both school life and home life, you could pursue a career as a school or career counselor, which also requires a master's degree.

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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