High School Principal Salary

With nearly three in five of High School Principals in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for High School Principals is $85K per year and can range from $53K on the lower end to $121K per year near the higher end. Location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. High School Principals who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 67 percent. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the greater part collect dental insurance. It's exciting to note that the majority of individuals in this field enjoy their work considerably. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$53,434 - $120,114
MEDIAN: $85,429

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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.
$53,434 - $120,114  
$0.00 - $9,635  
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).
$52,831 - $120,969  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Sep 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 635
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Job Description for High School Principal

High school principals are responsible for all aspects of the administration of a high school. They provide leadership and are the final authority within their institution. They provide educational planning by assessing and updating the curriculum, as well as supervise teachers and give feedback regarding performance. High school principals make priority decisions regarding various departments and funding options, in line with budgetary constraints. At all times, they must seek to improve educational efficiency and quality. High school principals oversee the student body and provide dispute resolution and ultimate disciplinary decisions once issues have surpassed the teacher and counselor level. Additionally, principals are responsible for ensuring their school meets all necessary academic and safety regulations and guidelines. High school principals make hiring and firing decisions regarding teaching and support staff. In the case of private schools, principals also help set admission standards and make admissions decisions as needed.


High 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.

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Popular Skills for

Just a handful of professional skills are reported by High School Principals who took the survey. Fortunate workers who know Organizational Development command much higher paychecks, scoring salaries 21 percent above average. Administration, on the other hand, is typically associated with much lower pay. For most people, competency in Leadership indicates knowledge of Curriculum Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for

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

High School Principals do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Salaries for inexperienced workers average out to $82K, and those with five to 10 years' experience earn a higher median of $76K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $89K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $94K.

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Experience Affects Salaries

up arrow 10%

up arrow 4%

National Average

up arrow 5%

up arrow 11%

Skills That Affect Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 21%

up arrow 1%

National Average

People Management
up arrow 2%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 2%

up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 80 votes.


33 %
67 %

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: 69%
vision benefits Vision: 53% employee benefits None: 9%