High School Principal Salary

Nearly three-fifths of High School Principals in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $53K to $120K per year, but median earnings come to around $86K annually. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. High School Principals who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 64 percent. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. Most people in this position report feeling highly satisfied with their jobs. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$53,865 - $119,571
MEDIAN: $85,579

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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.
$53,865 - $119,571  
$0.00 - $9,123  
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).
$53,436 - $120,312  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 608
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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.

High School Principal Job Listings

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Professional skills reported by High School Principals are few in number. Most notably, skills in People Management, Leadership, Curriculum Planning, and Administration are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Administration as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. People Management is a skill commonly found among those who know Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for High School Principal

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

For many High School Principals, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $77K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $83K. High School Principals who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $89K. High School Principals who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $95K.

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Experience Affects High School Principal Salaries

up arrow 10%

up arrow 4%

National Average

up arrow 4%

up arrow 11%

Skills That Affect High School Principal Salaries

People Management
up arrow 6%

up arrow 2%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 2%

National Average

up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 91 votes.


36 %
64 %

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: 88% dental benefits Dental: 71%
vision benefits Vision: 53% employee benefits None: 8%