Principal / Headmaster Salary

Principals and Headmasters who are practiced in their profession and carry more than 10 years of experience make up just under two-thirds of Principals and Headmasters. Pay fluctuates from $47K to $142K per year, but expected earnings average $78K per year. Geography and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and a majority earn dental coverage. Men make up the majority of Principals and Headmasters (60 percent) survey respondents. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$47,324 - $136,415

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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.
$47,324 - $136,415  
$0.00 - $24,240  
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).
$47,328 - $142,144  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 225
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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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Many Principals and Headmasters move into a School Superintendent role, and folks who currently hold that position report a much higher median income 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.

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Professional skills reported by Principals and Headmasters are few in number. Those who have experience with Organizational Development, Curriculum Planning, and Leadership can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Leadership and Curriculum Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $63K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $75K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $88K. Principals and Headmasters with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $89K.

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 13%

up arrow 11%

National Average

up arrow 5%

up arrow 21%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 8%

National Average

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 9%

up arrow 13%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 37 votes.


40 %
60 %

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: 83% dental benefits Dental: 62%
vision benefits Vision: 47% employee benefits None: 16%