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Career profile School Principal

Also known as Athletic Director, Elementary Principal, High School Principal, Middle School Principal, Principal, School Administrator, School Superintendent, Special Education Director, Superintendent, Vice Principal

School Principal

Also known as Athletic Director, Elementary Principal, High School Principal

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Social
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$65,150 - $152,500 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Social Perceptiveness
Knowledge Areas
  • Administration and Management
  • Education and Training
  • Personnel and Human Resources
Core tasks
  • Evaluate curricula, teaching methods, and programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency, and use, and to ensure that school activities comply with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Observe teaching methods and examine learning materials to evaluate and standardize curricula and teaching techniques, and to determine areas where improvement is needed.
  • Counsel and provide guidance to students regarding personal, academic, vocational, or behavioral issues.
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What does a School Principal do?

School Principals plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.

What kind of tasks does a School Principal perform regularly?

School Principals are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Evaluate curricula, teaching methods, and programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency, and use, and to ensure that school activities comply with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Observe teaching methods and examine learning materials to evaluate and standardize curricula and teaching techniques, and to determine areas where improvement is needed.
  • Counsel and provide guidance to students regarding personal, academic, vocational, or behavioral issues.
  • Direct and coordinate activities of teachers, administrators, and support staff at schools, public agencies, and institutions.
  • Collaborate with teachers to develop and maintain curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals and objectives.
  • Enforce discipline and attendance rules.
  • Recruit, hire, train, and evaluate primary and supplemental staff.
  • Confer with parents and staff to discuss educational activities, policies, and student behavioral or learning problems.
  • Create school improvement plans by using student performance data.
  • Set educational standards and goals, and help establish policies and procedures to carry them out.
  • Plan and lead professional development activities for teachers, administrators, and support staff.
  • Participate in special education-related activities, such as attending meetings and providing support to special educators throughout the district.
  • Plan and develop instructional methods and content for educational, vocational, or student activity programs.
  • Prepare and submit budget requests and recommendations, or grant proposals to solicit program funding.
  • Determine the scope of educational program offerings, and prepare drafts of course schedules and descriptions to estimate staffing and facility requirements.
  • Recommend personnel actions related to programs and services.
  • Review and approve new programs, or recommend modifications to existing programs, submitting program proposals for school board approval as necessary.
  • Develop partnerships with businesses, communities, and other organizations to help meet identified educational needs and to provide school-to-work programs.
  • Review and interpret government codes, and develop programs to ensure adherence to codes and facility safety, security, and maintenance.
  • Determine allocations of funds for staff, supplies, materials, and equipment, and authorize purchases.
  • Direct and coordinate school maintenance services and the use of school facilities.
  • Organize and direct committees of specialists, volunteers, and staff to provide technical and advisory assistance for programs.
  • Prepare, maintain, or oversee the preparation and maintenance of attendance, activity, planning, or personnel reports and records.

The above responsibilities are specific to School Principals. More generally, School Principals are involved in several broader types of activities:

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

What is a School Principal salary?

The median salary for a School Principal is $98,490, and the average salary is $103,010. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the School Principal salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many School Principals earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of School Principals earn less than $65,150 per year, 25% earn less than $78,560, 75% earn less than $124,380, and 90% earn less than $152,500.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of School Principals is expected to change by 7.8%, and there should be roughly 22,100 open positions for School Principals every year.

Median annual salary
$98,490
Typical salary range
$65,150 - $152,500
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.8%

What personality traits are common among School Principals?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a School Principal are usually higher in their Enterprising, Social, and Conventional interests.

School Principals typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, School Principals typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, School Principals typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a School Principal tend to value Independence, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, School Principals very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, School Principals very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, School Principals very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as School Principals must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, leadership, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of School Principals, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do School Principals need?

Many School Principals have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

School Principals may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among School Principals

  • 0.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 4.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 7.2% completed some college coursework
  • 4.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 25.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 43.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 14.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by School Principals

School Principals may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administration and management, education and training, or personnel and human resources knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most School Principals might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Important Abilities needed by School Principals

School Principals must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, School Principals need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and speech clarity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for School Principals, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by School Principals

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

School Principals frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and social perceptiveness to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for School Principals, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.