How Much Money Do School Principals Make?

Growing up, a school principal was likely our first form of authority that we adhered to. As a kid, a principal held all the power and for some, may have even been a bit scary. But as we get older, we realize that a principal is so much more than a person you have to answer to when you're in trouble. In fact, according to The Balance Careers, a principal wears a ton of hats and must act as the leader for a variety of realms within a school.

As noted by Indeed, the list of responsibilities for a principal is vast. On any given day, you are likely working to help the teachers in your school reach their maximum potential, tracking benchmarks to ensure your school is successful, making sure that all of your policies are followed, ensuring that the correct curriculum is being taught, meeting with students who may have concerns or problems, enforcing discipline when needed, and meeting with parents and staff. Overall, though, a principal is focused on the well-being of the students and teachers in their school and should have a strong passion for guiding them to success. With so much on your plate, you may be wondering how much school principals actually make.

School principals make more than you think

We all know that teachers are notoriously underpaid. In fact, per Fast Company, the turnover rate for teachers is continuing to increase as salaries remain low and pay raises are stagnant. Other staff members, like school guidance counselors, are also paid on the lower end — but if you are passionate about working in a school, not all positions have low pay. According to The Balance Careers, a school principal can expect to make about $95,310 a year. If you are in the top 10% of earners, you are likely making six figures, an impressive salary for a school-based career.

What you make as a school principal is highly determined on where you live. According to Go Banking Rates, 13 states in the United States boast higher salaries for principals than others, with Connecticut ranking No. 1. The average salary for principals in Connecticut is $127,110, compared to the second highest, New Jersey, which has an average salary of $125, 760. Other high-paying states include New York, California, Delaware, Washington, and Alaska.

What it takes to become a school principal

With the potential to earn a high income and the ability to make a difference in the lives of students, being a principal may seem like a dream job. But, there are a few obstacles to jump through in order to land a position as a principal. While a bachelor's degree is required for most teaching jobs, a principal will need to earn a master's degree as well, per the University of Kansas. During your two or three year program, you will also need to acquire an internship to get hands-on experience in the field.

But earning your degrees is just the start. You will need to immerse yourself in the education sector, taking classes and fulfilling other in-school jobs to qualify you for a principal position. According to The Balance Careers, you also need to possess certain skills outside of education, like management skills, communication skills, decision-making skills, and leadership skills. Once you do become a principal, you can expect a highly-demanding job that may have you working long hours, even on weekends. But, at the end of the day, you will be working to make a difference in the lives of the students and teachers in your school, which is worth every extra hour.