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 per year, but may range from $48K to $142K per year. Residence and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Male Principals and Headmasters who responded to the survey are more common than women; more than half (60 percent) are men. A large number enjoy medical while the greater part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under a half. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Principals and Headmasters. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$48,058 - $135,803
MEDIAN: $78,083

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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.
$48,058 - $135,803  
$0.00 - $24,240  
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).
$47,925 - $142,244  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Sep 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 224
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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

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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 frequently become Elementary School Principals and Middle School Principals and Headmasters even though median compensation is $5K lower and $5K lower, respectively.

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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 pay less than market rate include Leadership and Curriculum Planning.

Pay by Experience Level for

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

For Principals and Headmasters, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $63K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $76K. Principals and Headmasters claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $87K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $89K on average.

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Experience Affects Salaries

up arrow 13%

up arrow 10%

National Average

up arrow 3%

up arrow 20%

Skills That Affect Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 8%

National Average

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 9%

up arrow 13%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 31 votes.


40 %
60 %

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: 84% dental benefits Dental: 61%
vision benefits Vision: 47% employee benefits None: 15%