Principal / Headmaster Salary

Principals and Headmasters in the United States tend to be well-versed in their field, and just under two-thirds have more than 10 years of experience. Average salary is expected to be around $78K annually, but may range from $47K to $140K per year. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Most enjoy medical while more than half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under one-half. Most Principals and Headmasters report high levels of job satisfaction. The majority of Principals and Headmasters (61 percent) survey respondents are male. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$46,854 - $134,996
MEDIAN: $77,774

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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.
$46,854 - $134,996  
$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).
$46,992 - $140,183  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 228
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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 often transition into School Superintendent positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, School Superintendents earn $105K per year. Principals and Headmasters most often move into Elementary School Principal or Middle School Principal or Headmaster roles. However, the former pays $5K less on average, and the latter pays $4K less.

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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, 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.

For many Principals and Headmasters, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $62K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $76K. Principals and Headmasters who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $87K. 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.

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 14%

up arrow 11%

National Average

up arrow 3%

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 38 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: 18%