How to Become a School Principal

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Teachers effectively manage classrooms, but often need the help of teacher assistants. Teacher assistants help teachers with much of the work, allowing the teacher more time for instruction, administration and lesson planning.

Structured education is an essential part of a child’s development. Schools are the single most important facility for the education and success of today’s youth, providing intellectual and social growth. To ensure successful operation and implementation of school objectives and goals, excellent leaders are essential. This is the role of the school principal.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does a school principal do?

Principals (also called education administrators) are responsible for managing school activities in elementary, middle, and high schools. They actively collaborate with teachers to create mission statements, create and uphold high curriculum standards, and establish performance goals and objectives. They also set the academic tone for the school, execute policies and handle issues related to students, faculty, and staff.

Principals also interact with students, parents, other administrators and members of community organizations. They prepare budgets and reports and oversee requests and distribution of supplies and teaching materials. Click here to learn how to become a school principal.

What kind of training does a school principal need?

Most public school principal jobs require an admissions counseling or graduate teaching degree. Many principals have a master degree in education administration or educational leadership degree. Some principals have doctorate or other specialized degrees in education administration. The Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approve accredited education programs for principals at the elementary and secondary school level.

Most often, a school principal career begins with being a teacher. Then, after gaining educational experience, the teacher may decide to get more schooling and pursue a job as a school principal. Some will work as assistant principals or gain experience from other administrative jobs while completing their graduate degree.

Most states require principals to obtain school administrator licensure to obtain education administration jobs. Almost all states require either a master degree or other training at the graduate level to earn a license. Most states require regular continuing education courses to maintain licensure.

Education administration degree graduates must be able to organize tasks and make sound academic decisions for the overall well being of the school. They must have a great deal of leadership, confidence, determination, and motivation. Click here to get your education administration degree online.

What are the prospects for a career as a school principal?

School principal jobs are expected to grow about as fast as average, increasing 12%, from 226,000 jobs in 2006 to more than 253,000 jobs in 2016. (1)

Education administration careers are projected to have very favorable employment prospects, especially for those with exceptional teaching and administrative experience. Excellent career opportunities are also expected, since many current principals are expected to retire in the next 10 years. Click here for a list of online education administration degree programs.

How much do school principals make?

The median school principal salary is between $80,900 and $103,000 annually, with the highest 10% earning more than $113,500. (2) Assistant education administrator salary ranges between $65,800 and $88,200, with the top 10% earning more than $99,800 annually.

A career in education administration is a great choice for people who have exceptional leadership abilities and teaching experience. Principals must also have strong communication and interpersonal skills due to collaborating with teachers, students, parents and other education professionals. They must also be able to work under stress and be able to deal with unfavorable behavior and academic issues.

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