The majority of Elementary School Principals in the United States — nearly three-fifths — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $52K to $111K per year, and the median is $80K per year. Geographic location and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number enjoy medical while more than half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to roughly one-half. Women account for the majority of Elementary School Principals who responded to the questionnaire — 63 percent to be exact. Most Elementary School Principals report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$51,461 - $110,725
MEDIAN: $79,508

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
$51,461 - $110,725  
$0.00 - $9,123  
Profit Sharing
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
$51,505 - $111,250  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 784

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

Job Description for Elementary School Principal

Elementary school principals must almost always have a master’s degree in education or a related field. Some employers prefer that candidates possess a PhD in Education or Educational Leadership. Some positions require a principal’s certification and/or license.


Elementary School Principal Tasks

  • Oversee school administration, curriculum, programs, services, and resources.
  • Communicate school goals, vision, and needs to teachers, parents, the community, and school board.
  • Establish academic and behavioral standards for students and administer student discipline.
  • Ensure compliance with all laws, implement emergency plans, and establish safety regulations.
  • Hire, supervise, and evaluate school teaching staff, administrative staff, kitchen staff, and custodians.

Common Career Paths for Elementary School Principal

Add this chart to your site:   640px 640px    300px 300px

Many Elementary School Principals move into a School Superintendent role, and folks who currently hold that position report a much higher median income of $106K per year. A lot of Elementary School Principals advance their careers by becoming Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrators and Middle School Principals and Headmasters. However, those positions offer $19K less and $4K less per year on average.

Elementary School Principal Job Listings

Search for more jobs:

Popular Skills for Elementary School Principal

Elementary School Principals note just a narrow range of job skills. Most notably, skills in Childhood Education, Team Leadership, Leadership, and Curriculum Planning are correlated to pay that is above average. Most people skilled in Curriculum Planning are similarly competent in Team Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for Elementary School Principal

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.

Elementary School Principals with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $74K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $79K. Elementary School Principals claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $83K. Elementary School Principals with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $85K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $79,678

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Surpassing the national average by 46 percent, Elementary School Principals in New York receive some of the highest pay in the country. Elementary School Principals will also find cushy salaries in Chicago (+44 percent), Washington (+30 percent), Detroit (+26 percent), and Dallas (+10 percent). Elementary School Principals in Orlando earn salaries far below the national average by 27 percent, proving that geography overwhelmingly affects the pay scale for those in this field. Workers in San Antonio and Houston earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (8 percent less and 7 percent less, respectively).

Elementary School Principal Reviews

What is it like working as an Elementary School Principal?

Elementary School Principal in Redding:
Pros: Working with students and building relationships with families, staff and community. I enjoy the ability to set a climate where students can achieve high academic standards.
Cons: Required paperwork that is not directly tied to student outcomes.

Related Job Salaries

Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Elementary School Principal Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Elementary School Principal Salaries

Childhood Education
up arrow 19%

Team Leadership
up arrow 4%

up arrow 3%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 60 votes.


63 %
37 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 86%
dental benefits
Dental: 66%
medical benefits
Vision: 51%
dental benefits
None: 12%