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Elementary School Principal Salary

Elementary School Principals in the United States with more than 10 years of experience in their profession represent just below three-fifths of Elementary School Principals. Salaries average out to around $78K annually and spread from $50K to $111K per year. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Most enjoy medical while the greater part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to half. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Women make up the majority of Elementary School Principals (63 percent) who completed the questionnaire. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$49,662 - $110,250
MEDIAN: $77,866

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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.
$49,662 - $110,250  
$0.00 - $6,073  
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).
$49,924 - $110,888  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 992

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Job Description for Elementary School Principal

Elementary school principals need to have experience in working in public education institutions. Principals are usually required to have some form of teaching certifications. In addition, principals need to have years of experience teaching elementary schools in addition to having experience in administration duties. Having a Master's in Educational Administration or Educational Leadership are highly desirable.


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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Advancing into a School Superintendent role seems to be a popular career move for Elementary School Principals, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $105K per year. Elementary School Principals most often move into positions as Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrators or Middle School Principals and Headmasters. Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrators actually earn $18K less on average, however, and Middle School Principals and Headmasters earn $4K less per year than Elementary School Principals do.

Elementary School Principal Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Elementary School Principal

Elementary School Principals typically list a handful of skills they use on the job. 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, 6 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Most people who know 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.

For many Elementary School Principals, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Salaries for inexperienced workers average out to $77K, and those with five to 10 years' experience earn a higher median of $70K. On average, Elementary School Principals make $78K following one to two decades on the job. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Elementary School Principals with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $89K.

Pay Difference by Location

For those looking to make money, Elementary School Principals in Washington enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 53 percent above the national average. Elementary School Principals can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Diego (+41 percent), New York (+29 percent), Atlanta (+22 percent), and Los Angeles (+21 percent). Elementary School Principals' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Elementary School Principals in Orlando bring in salaries that are 21 percent lower than the national average. Employers in Houston and Chicago also lean toward paying below-median salaries (11 percent lower and 9 percent lower, 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

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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 1%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 182 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: 67%
vision benefits Vision: 50% employee benefits None: 12%