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Principal / Headmaster Salary

Principals and Headmasters in the United States with more than 10 years of experience in their profession represent slightly less than two-thirds of Principals and Headmasters. Salaries average out to around $77K per year and spread from $47K to $138K per year. Location and years of experience 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. There are more male Principals and Headmasters than female among those who completed the questionnaire, making up 64 percent. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$46,154 - $132,865
MEDIAN: $77,353

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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.
$46,154 - $132,865  
$0.00 - $19,244  
Profit Sharing
$500 - $2,100  
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).
$46,509 - $137,789  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 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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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 $105K 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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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 seem to negatively impact pay include Leadership.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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

For Principals and Headmasters, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience have a median salary of $63K. Those who have been around for five to 10 years can expect to take home more — $68K on average. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $86K in this role. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $90K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 16%

up arrow 10%

National Average

up arrow 12%

up arrow 20%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 9%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 2%

National Average

up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 46 votes.


36 %
64 %

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: 60%
vision benefits Vision: 44% employee benefits None: 18%