High School Principal Salary

With nearly three-fifths 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 $86K per year and can range from $53K on the lower end to $120K per year near the higher end. Residence and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Men make up the majority of High School Principals (67 percent) survey respondents. It's heartening to note that most people in this field love their work, finding it both fun and rewarding. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$53,807 - $119,702
MEDIAN: $85,628

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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.
$53,807 - $119,702  
$0.00 - $9,658  
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).
$53,248 - $120,409  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 654
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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 High School Principal

High School Principals seem to require a number of specific skills. 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. Most people who know Leadership also know Curriculum Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for High School Principal

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

Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Those who have worked for fewer than five years take home a median salary of $76K, and workers with five to 10 years of experience earn a higher $82K on average. High School Principals bring in $89K after working for 10 to 20 years. High School Principals with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $95K.

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Experience Affects High School Principal Salaries

up arrow 10%

up arrow 3%

National Average

up arrow 5%

up arrow 12%

Skills That Affect High School Principal Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 21%

up arrow 1%

People Management
up arrow 1%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average

up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 84 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: 86%
dental benefits
Dental: 68%
medical benefits
Vision: 52%
dental benefits
None: 10%