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Principal / Headmaster Salary

Just below two-thirds of Principals and Headmasters in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $46K to $136K per year, but median earnings come to around $76K annually. Most Principals and Headmasters like their work and job satisfaction is high. Some workers in this field — one in five — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a strong majority and dental plans are enjoyed by more than half. There are more male Principals and Headmasters than female among those who completed the questionnaire, making up 62 percent. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$45,162 - $131,424
MEDIAN: $76,388

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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.
$45,162 - $131,424  
$0.00 - $20,203  
Profit Sharing
$491.32 - $2,136  
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).
$46,136 - $135,864  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 253
United States (change)

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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Additional career progression can often lead to a hefty increase in pay for Principals and Headmasters. Many move into a School Superintendent role where pay averages at $105K per year. Principals and Headmasters most frequently become Elementary School Principals and Middle School Principals and Headmasters even though median compensation is $4K lower and $3K lower, respectively.

Principal / Headmaster Job Listings

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Principals and Headmasters who responded to the survey indicated only a few skills that they use on the job. Curriculum Planning and Leadership are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay. Skills that pay less than market rate include Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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

Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Principals and Headmasters — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $63K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $72K. Principals and Headmasters who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $85K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $89K.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 16%

up arrow 10%

National Average

up arrow 6%

up arrow 18%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 4%

National Average

up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 62 votes.


38 %
62 %

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: 79% dental benefits Dental: 56%
vision benefits Vision: 39% employee benefits None: 21%