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Principal / Headmaster Salary

Slightly less than 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 $44K to $136K per year, but median earnings come to around $76K per year. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Principals and Headmasters who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 63 percent. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the greater part collect dental insurance. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$42,967 - $132,003
MEDIAN: $76,365

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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.
$42,967 - $132,003  
$0.00 - $20,347  
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).
$44,418 - $136,408  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 237

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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 often move into Elementary School Principal or Middle School Principal or Headmaster roles. However, the former pays $4K less on average, and the latter pays $3K less.

Principal / Headmaster Job Listings

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Principals and Headmasters who responded to the survey report just a handful of professional skills. Organizational Development and Curriculum Planning are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay by 10 percent and 4 percent, respectively. 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.

Principals and Headmasters do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $62K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $67K. Principals and Headmasters claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $86K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $91K.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 18%

up arrow 11%

National Average

up arrow 14%

up arrow 19%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 10%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 4%

National Average

up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 52 votes.


37 %
63 %

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: 81% dental benefits Dental: 59%
vision benefits Vision: 44% employee benefits None: 19%