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Elementary School Principal Salary (United States)

Just under three-fifths of Elementary School Principals in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $50K to $110K per year, but median earnings come to around $77K per year. Geography and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. More than half of Elementary School Principals (63 percent) survey participants are women. A large number enjoy medical while the greater part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to close to one-half. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Elementary School Principal Salary (?
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.
$49,520 - $109,301
MEDIAN: $77,376
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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.
$49,520 - $109,301  
$0.00 - $6,040  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $4,750  
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).
$49,727 - $109,832  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 975
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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.

Elementary School Principal Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Elementary School Principal

Survey takers who work as Elementary School Principals usually 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 22 percent, 7 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Those educated in Curriculum Planning tend to be well versed 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 do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Those who have worked for fewer than five years take home a median salary of $70K, and workers with five to 10 years of experience earn a higher $77K on average. After working for 10 to 20 years, Elementary School Principals make a median salary of $78K. Ultimately, more time spent in the workforce does seem to translate to bigger paychecks; seasoned veterans with more than 20 years of experience report a median income of $88K.

Pay Difference By Location

up arrow 54%
San Diego
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New York
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Los Angeles
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St. Louis
up arrow 12%
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Fort Worth
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Grand Rapids
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National Average
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Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Elementary School Principals will find that Washington offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 54 percent. Elementary School Principals will also find cushy salaries in San Diego (+43 percent), New York (+33 percent), Atlanta (+22 percent), and Los Angeles (+20 percent). Falling short of the national average by 18 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Houston. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Indianapolis and Phoenix (10 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Elementary School Principal Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Elementary School Principal Salaries

Childhood Education
up arrow 22%
up arrow 4%
Curriculum Planning
up arrow 3%
National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 214 votes.


female alumni
male alumni

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: 49% employee benefits None: 12%