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Principal / Headmaster Salary

Principals and Headmasters in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — slightly less than two-thirds have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $46K to $137K per year, median earnings come to $77K annually. Most enjoy medical while the larger part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just over two-fifths. Male Principals and Headmasters are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 64 percent of professionals. The majority of Principals and Headmasters claim high levels of job satisfaction. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$45,640 - $132,867
MEDIAN: $76,840

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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.
$45,640 - $132,867  
$0.00 - $19,797  
Profit Sharing
$500 - $2,100  
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).
$46,203 - $137,361  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 232

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United States (change)

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Job Description for Principal / Headmaster

School principals and headmasters serve as the head of their school and are ultimately responsible for the performance of teachers, students, and other employees. To perform the job successfully, principals must have teaching, managerial, and planning skills, as well as the ability to communicate the school’s performance and needs to school board members and other leaders within the school district. Additionally, they must communicate the needs, expectations and requirements of the school to its employees and students they also help develop and implement plans to meet these standards. They must monitor the school's budget and make regular financial reports to their supervisor(s). They also supervise disciplinary actions for students, teachers, and other staff as necessary. In the public, they also serve as a representative for the school and its administrators.


Principal / Headmaster 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 and needs to parents, the community, and the school board.

Common Career Paths for Principal / Headmaster

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Advancing into a School Superintendent role seems to be a popular career move for Principals and Headmasters, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $105K per year. Principals and Headmasters most often advance into Elementary School Principal and Middle School Principal or Headmaster positions even though the median salaries are $4K lower and $3K lower, respectively.

Principal / Headmaster Job Listings

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Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Principals and Headmasters who took the survey. Organizational Development and Curriculum Planning are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay by 10 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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

For Principals and Headmasters, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $63K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $67K on average. Principals and Headmasters bring in $87K after working for 10 to 20 years. Principals and Headmasters 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 $91K.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 17%

up arrow 12%

National Average

up arrow 13%

up arrow 19%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 10%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 3%

National Average

up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 48 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: 82% dental benefits Dental: 60%
vision benefits Vision: 45% employee benefits None: 18%