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High School Principal Salary

High School Principals who are practiced in their profession and carry more than 10 years of experience make up just under three-fifths of High School Principals. Pay fluctuates from $54K to $119K per year, but expected earnings average $85K per year. The majority of High School Principals (65 percent) survey respondents are male. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Work is enjoyable for High School Principals, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$54,688 - $118,435
MEDIAN: $84,528

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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.
$54,688 - $118,435  
$0.00 - $9,192  
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).
$54,032 - $119,237  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 538
United States (change)

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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High School Principals who responded to the survey report just a handful of professional skills. Most notably, skills in People Management, Leadership, Curriculum Planning, and Administration are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Administration and Curriculum Planning as skills, on the other hand, should be prepared for drastically lower pay.

Pay by Experience Level for High School Principal

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

High School Principals with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $76K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $83K. High School Principals claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $90K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $94K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects High School Principal Salaries

up arrow 11%

up arrow 6%

National Average

up arrow 2%

up arrow 11%

Skills That Affect High School Principal Salaries

People Management
up arrow 9%

up arrow 4%

National Average

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 4%

up arrow 25%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 120 votes.


35 %
65 %

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: 89% dental benefits Dental: 71%
vision benefits Vision: 53% employee benefits None: 7%