Principal / Headmaster Salary

Just under two-thirds of Principals and Headmasters in the United States are seasoned employees who have more than 10 years of experience in the field. Pay ranges from $47K to $144K per year, and the average comes out to $78K annually. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Most enjoy medical while the greater part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under a half. More than half of Principals and Headmasters (61 percent) survey respondents are men. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Principals and Headmasters. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$47,867 - $139,232
MEDIAN: $77,897

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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.
$47,867 - $139,232  
$0.00 - $18,750  
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).
$47,326 - $143,969  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 241
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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 might see a strong upturn in salary after transitioning into upper-level roles such as School Superintendent, a seemingly popular career choice. People currently working in the latter position report a noticeably higher median income of $106K 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 $4K lower, respectively.

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Pay by Experience Level for Principal / Headmaster

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

Principals and Headmasters with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $63K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $73K. For Principals and Headmasters, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $86K. Principals and Headmasters who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $90K on average.

Principal / Headmaster Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Principal / Headmaster in Louisville:
"All students want to better themselves....just show them how."
Treat your students as adults and they will respond in like fashion. They already know how to be a child.

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Experience Affects Principal / Headmaster Salaries

up arrow 14%

up arrow 10%

National Average

up arrow 7%

up arrow 19%

Skills That Affect Principal / Headmaster Salaries

Organizational Development
up arrow 8%

National Average

up arrow 12%

Curriculum Planning
up arrow 21%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 35 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: 59%
medical benefits
Vision: 47%
dental benefits
None: 17%