Elementary School Principal Salary

With just under three-fifths of Elementary School Principals in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Elementary School Principals is $79K per year and can range from $51K on the lower end to $112K per year near the higher end. Geography and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Work is enjoyable for Elementary School Principals, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. A large number enjoy medical while a majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to close to one-half. There are more female Elementary School Principals who answered the questionnaire than male, making up 63 percent. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$50,503 - $110,807
MEDIAN: $78,638

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
$50,503 - $110,807  
$0.00 - $5,221  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $2,543  
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).
$50,779 - $111,548  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,013
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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

  • 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.
  • Establish academic and behavioral standards for students and administer student discipline.
  • Oversee school administration, curriculum, programs, services, and resources.
  • Communicate school goals, vision, and needs to teachers, parents, the community, and school board.

Common Career Paths for Elementary School Principal

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Elementary School Principals often transition into School Superintendent positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, School Superintendents earn $105K per year. Many Elementary School Principals advance into roles as Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrators or Middle School Principals and Headmasters, but the median salaries are $19K lower and $5K lower, respectively.

Elementary School Principal Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Elementary School Principal

Survey takers who work as Elementary School Principals typically report just a few professional skills. Most notably, skills in Childhood Education, Team Leadership, Leadership, and Curriculum Planning are correlated to pay that is above average. For most people, competency in Curriculum Planning indicates knowledge of Team Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for Elementary School Principal

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

Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Elementary School Principals — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. The median compensation for relatively untried workers is $71K; in the five-to-10 year group, it's higher at around $78K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $79K. After two decades in the workforce, the average Elementary School Principal generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $88K.

Pay Difference by Location

For Elementary School Principals, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 41 percent above the national average. Elementary School Principals will also find cushy salaries in New York (+30 percent), San Diego (+28 percent), Atlanta (+22 percent), and Los Angeles (+20 percent). Elementary School Principals' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Elementary School Principals in Orlando bring in salaries that are 26 percent lower than the national average. Employers pay around 10 percent less in Houston and 6 percent less in Denver, below-median salaries for those in this field.

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.

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Experience Affects Elementary School Principal Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Elementary School Principal Salaries

Childhood Education
up arrow 20%

up arrow 2%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 140 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: 68%
vision benefits Vision: 51% employee benefits None: 12%