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Elementary School Principal Salary

The majority of Elementary School Principals in the United States — just below three-fifths — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $50K to $112K per year, and the median is $78K per year. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and the larger part earn dental coverage. Women make up the majority of Elementary School Principals (63 percent) who completed the questionnaire. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.

$49,747 - $110,787
MEDIAN: $78,127

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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.
$49,747 - $110,787  
$0.00 - $6,008  
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).
$49,984 - $111,524  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 997

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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 go on to become Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrators or Middle School Principals and Headmasters despite the fact that median compensation in those roles is reportedly $18K lower and $4K lower, respectively.

Elementary School Principal Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Elementary School Principal

Elementary School Principals only report a few specific skills. Most notably, facility with Childhood Education, Team Leadership, and Leadership are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 21 percent, 7 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Most people familiar with Curriculum Planning also know Team Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for Elementary School Principal

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

More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. The median compensation for relatively untried workers is $70K; in the five-to-10 year group, it's higher at around $78K. For Elementary School Principals, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $78K. Survey participants who have spent more than 20 years on the job report a predictably higher median income of $89K, demonstrating that compensation is roughly commensurate with experience in the end.

Pay Difference by Location

For Elementary School Principals, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 53 percent above the national average. Elementary School Principals will also find cushy salaries in San Diego (+35 percent), New York (+31 percent), Los Angeles (+22 percent), and Atlanta (+20 percent). Elementary School Principals in Orlando take home the lowest salaries, earning a whopping 21 percent less than the national average. Employers pay around 11 percent less in Houston and 2 percent less in Indianapolis, 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.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Elementary School Principal Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Elementary School Principal Salaries

Childhood Education
up arrow 21%

up arrow 3%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 2%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 162 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: 50% employee benefits None: 12%