Elementary School Principal Salary

With slightly less than 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 annually and can range from $51K on the lower end to $113K per year near the higher end. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. The majority of Elementary School Principals (64 percent) who took the survey are women. Work is enjoyable for Elementary School Principals, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the greater part collect dental insurance. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$51,053 - $111,958
MEDIAN: $79,046

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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.
$51,053 - $111,958  
$0.00 - $5,159  
Profit Sharing
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).
$51,250 - $112,669  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,100
United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

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

Add this chart to your site:   640px 640px    300px 300px

Elementary School Principals often transition into School Superintendent positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, School Superintendents earn $106K per year. Elementary School Principals most often move into Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrator or Middle School Principal or Headmaster roles. However, the former pays $19K less on average, and the latter pays $5K less.

Elementary School Principal Job Listings

Search for more jobs:

Popular Skills for Elementary School Principal

Survey takers who work as Elementary School Principals report a focused set of job 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.

Elementary School Principals with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $72K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $78K on average. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $80K. Veterans who have worked for more than two decades do tend to make the most in the end; the median pay for this group is $89K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $79,252

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

New York offers some of the highest pay in the country for Elementary School Principals, 40 percent above the national average. Elementary School Principals can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+31 percent), San Diego (+27 percent), Atlanta (+23 percent), and Los Angeles (+15 percent). In Houston, salaries are 10 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Phoenix and Denver are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries tend to be 6 percent less than the median.

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

United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

Experience Affects Elementary School Principal Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Elementary School Principal Salaries

Childhood Education
up arrow 19%

up arrow 2%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 127 votes.


64 %
36 %

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%
medical benefits
Vision: 51%
dental benefits
None: 11%