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Penn Foster High School

High School Diploma
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What Are the Requirements to Be a High School Principal?

The job duties of high school principals include managing the school budget and implementing policies. Learn the education and experience you'll need to become a principal, and discover the median salary for this career.

What Degree Do I Need to Become a High School Principal?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most high school principals have a master's degree, although a small number have either a bachelor's degree or a doctorate. The BLS mentions that most schools require that principals have at least a master's degree and many earn it in education administration or educational leadership. You can earn a Master in Education (M.Ed.) or a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership or in educational administration. Admittance requirements include a bachelor's degree and a year or more of experience as a teacher.

Career RequirementsMost principals need a master's degree and teaching experience
CourseworkLearning methods, leadership methods, classroom instruction and curriculum development
Online OptionsOnline programs are available and require the use of web tools to communicate with instructor and classmates
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (elementary, middle, and high school principals)*
Median Salary (2018)$95,310 (elementary, middle, and high school principals)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Subjects Will I Study?

Master's degree programs in educational leadership and education administration include courses that emphasize learning methods and teaching standards. You may study leadership methods that can help develop relationships with teachers and implement a good work environment. Some courses pertain to developing new ways to provide classroom instruction and setting realistic goals. Other courses cover financial efforts that develop technology, integrate new programs and update facilities. You may also learn to:

  • Create better community relationships
  • Instigate education reform
  • Meet state and federal education laws
  • Support and supervise teachers
  • Improve curriculum

Can I Earn the Degree Online?

Online learning is available for master's degree programs in educational leadership and education administration. Many of these use Blackboard or Angel as the online learning environments that allow you to access your syllabus, courses and assignments remotely. You can interact with your classmates through topical discussions on Web chats or discussion boards and you can access the online library to write a thesis and complete other research projects. In some instances, you may break into small groups to complete group projects and offer challenges and critiques to your classmates.

What Are the Associated Job Responsibilities?

According to the BLS, principals meet with school board administrators, parents, teachers and students to set academic goals and create educational policies. They also prepare budgets and report on student attendance numbers and graduation rates. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all principals was $95,310 as of May 2018 with eight percent employment growth expected in the field from 2016-2026.