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 $79K annually and spread from $51K to $112K per year. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and more than half earn dental coverage. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The majority of Elementary School Principals (63 percent) who took the survey are female. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$50,674 - $111,515

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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.
$50,674 - $111,515  
$0.00 - $5,155  
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).
$50,966 - $112,239  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,018
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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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Many Elementary School Principals move into a School Superintendent role, and folks who currently hold that position report a much higher median income of $105K per year. Elementary School Principals most frequently advance into Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrator and Middle School Principal or Headmaster roles even though 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. 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 Elementary School Principals, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Average salaries for inexperienced employees average out to around $71K, but folks who have five to 10 years of experience earn a higher median of $79K. Elementary School Principals who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $79K. Veterans who have acquired more than 20 years report a median income of $88K, which is generally higher than the pay reported by other tenure groups.

Pay Difference by Location

Home to some of the best pay for Elementary School Principals, Washington offers exceptional salaries, 41 percent above the national average. Elementary School Principals can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+41 percent), San Diego (+28 percent), Atlanta (+22 percent), and Los Angeles (+20 percent). Elementary School Principals in Orlando make 26 percent less than the national average, proving that location is a major factor in pay. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Houston (11 percent lower) and Denver (6 percent lower).

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%

Team Leadership
up arrow 4%

up arrow 2%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 133 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: 87% dental benefits Dental: 68%
vision benefits Vision: 51% employee benefits None: 11%