Principal / Headmaster Salary

The majority of Principals and Headmasters in the United States — slightly less than two-thirds — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $47K to $140K per year, and the median is $78K annually. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Men make up the majority of Principals and Headmasters (61 percent) survey respondents. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a majority earn dental coverage. For the most part, Principals and Headmasters enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$46,988 - $134,796
MEDIAN: $78,043

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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.
$46,988 - $134,796  
$0.00 - $22,500  
Profit Sharing
$491.32 - $1,526  
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).
$47,088 - $139,920  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 230
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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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Principals and Headmasters who move on to become School Superintendents may enjoy significant pay raises, as School Superintendents get paid an average of $105K per year. Principals and Headmasters most frequently advance into Elementary School Principal and Middle School Principal or Headmaster roles even though the median salaries are $5K lower and $5K lower, respectively.

Principal / Headmaster Job Listings

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Principals and Headmasters note just a narrow range of job skills. Those who have experience with Organizational Development, Curriculum Planning, and Leadership can expect to be compensated well for these skills. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Leadership and Curriculum Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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

For Principals and Headmasters, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $63K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $78K. Principals and Headmasters see a median salary of $87K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $89K.

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 13%

up arrow 11%

National Average

up arrow 1%

up arrow 21%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 8%

National Average

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 9%

up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 39 votes.


39 %
61 %

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: 61%
vision benefits Vision: 46% employee benefits None: 17%