Principal / Headmaster Salary

Principals and Headmasters in the United States tend to be well-versed in their field, and slightly less than two-thirds have more than 10 years of experience. Average salary is expected to be around $78K annually, but may range from $47K to $144K per year. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. More than half of Principals and Headmasters (61 percent) survey respondents are men. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the larger part collect dental insurance. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$47,867 - $139,232
MEDIAN: $77,897

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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.
$47,867 - $139,232  
$0.00 - $18,750  
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).
$47,326 - $143,969  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 241
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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 $106K per year. Principals and Headmasters most often move into positions as Elementary School Principals or Middle School Principals and Headmasters. Elementary School Principals actually earn $5K less on average, however, and Middle School Principals and Headmasters earn $4K less per year than Principals and Headmasters do.

Principal / Headmaster Job Listings

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Survey takers who work as Principals and Headmasters typically report just a few professional skills. Those who have experience with Organizational Development, Leadership, and Curriculum Planning can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Those listing Curriculum Planning and Leadership as skills, on the other hand, should be prepared for drastically lower pay.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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

Principals and Headmasters do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. The average inexperienced worker's salary is approximately $63K, and people with five to 10 years of experience bring in more at around $73K on average. After working for 10 to 20 years, Principals and Headmasters make a median salary of $86K. 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 $90K.

Principal / Headmaster Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Principal / Headmaster in Louisville:
"All students want to better themselves....just show them how."
Treat your students as adults and they will respond in like fashion. They already know how to be a child.

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 14%

up arrow 10%

National Average

up arrow 7%

up arrow 19%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 8%

National Average

up arrow 12%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 21%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 35 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: 59%
medical benefits
Vision: 47%
dental benefits
None: 17%