Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

FIT Score
N/A
Strengths
0
A3 Result
0
Learn More
This is a Premium Feature X Find your
  • Best Fitting Careers
  • Work Personality Strengths
  • Work Style Preferences
  • and more
Job Outlook:
Little or no change
Education: Master's degree
Salary
High: $158,770.00
Average: $106,690.00

What they do:

Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.

On the job, you would:

  • Evaluate curricula, teaching methods, and programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency, and use, and to ensure compliance 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 for improvement.
  • Counsel and provide guidance to students regarding personal, academic, vocational, or behavioral issues.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Principals must communicate effectively with students, teachers, and parents. For example, when dealing with academic issues, they must listen to students and teachers in order to restate their understanding of the problem.

Critical-thinking skills. Principals analyze student test results and testing procedures to determine if improvements are needed. They must assess available options to help students achieve the best results.

Decision-making skills. Because principals are responsible for students, staff, and the overall operation of the school, they consider many factors when making decisions.

Interpersonal skills. Principals work with teachers, parents, and superintendents and must develop positive working relationships with them.

Leadership skills. Principals set educational goals and establish policies and procedures for the school. They need to be able to motivate staff to achieve these goals.

Problem-solving skills. Teachers, students, and other staff report problems to the principal. Principals need to be able to analyze problems and find appropriate solutions.

Personality

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

97% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
94% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
94% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
89% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
89% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
86% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
85% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
84% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
83% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
83% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
82% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
80% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
79% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
78% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
78% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
74% Social Orientation  -  Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Strengths

95% Enterprising  -  Work involves managing, negotiating, marketing, or selling, typically in a business setting, or leading or advising people in political and legal situations. Enterprising occupations are often associated with business initiatives, sales, marketing/advertising, finance, management/administration, professional advising, public speaking, politics, or law.
89% Social  -  Work involves helping, teaching, advising, assisting, or providing service to others. Social occupations are often associated with social, health care, personal service, teaching/education, or religious activities.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

89% 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. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
89% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
83% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
78% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
78% Recognition  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Aptitude

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

85% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
85% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
81% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
81% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
81% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
81% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
78% Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
78% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
78% Inductive Reasoning  -  The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
72% Category Flexibility  -  The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
72% Information Ordering  -  The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
72% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
69% Originality  -  The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
66% Fluency of Ideas  -  The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

68% Monitoring  -  Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
66% Reading Comprehension  -  Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
66% Learning Strategies  -  Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Job Details

Responsibilities
Conduct employee training programs.
Support the professional development of others.
Maintain knowledge of current developments in area of expertise.
Coordinate operational activities with external stakeholders.
Develop operating strategies, plans, or procedures.
Direct organizational operations, projects, or services.
Manage outreach activities.
Support the professional development of others.
Evaluate student work.
Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
Prepare forms or applications.
Recommend organizational process or policy changes.
Maintain personnel records.
Prepare operational progress or status reports.
Direct organizational operations, projects, or services.
Advise others on career or personal development.
Prepare financial documents, reports, or budgets.
Prepare proposals or grant applications to obtain project funding.
Direct facility maintenance or repair activities.
Support the professional development of others.
Advise others on career or personal development.
Collaborate with other professionals to develop education or assistance programs.
Serve on institutional or departmental committees.
Teach classes in area of specialization.
Promote products, services, or programs.
Develop educational goals, standards, policies, or procedures.
Establish interpersonal business relationships to facilitate work activities.
Supervise employees.
Determine operational compliance with regulations or standards.
Evaluate program effectiveness.
Develop educational goals, standards, policies, or procedures.
Develop organizational policies or programs.
Conduct employee training programs.
Hire personnel.
Recruit personnel.
Supervise employees.
Develop educational goals, standards, policies, or procedures.
Develop educational goals, standards, policies, or procedures.
Coordinate special events or programs.
Develop safety standards, policies, or procedures.
Develop operating strategies, plans, or procedures.
Approve expenditures.
Prepare operational budgets.
Develop promotional materials.
Advise others on business or operational matters.
Develop educational goals, standards, policies, or procedures.
Conduct opinion surveys or needs assessments.
Analyze forecasting data to improve business decisions.
Schedule activities or facility use.
Perform human resources activities.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

98% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
97% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
95% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
95% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
93% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
90% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
90% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
89% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
89% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
89% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
89% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
88% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
85% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
81% Frequency of Conflict Situations  -  How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
78% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
77% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
75% Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?
73% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
66% Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People  -  How frequently does the worker have to deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals as part of the job requirements?
65% Public Speaking  -  How often do you have to perform public speaking in this job?
92% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

93% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
92% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
90% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
90% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
89% Analyzing Data or Information  -  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
88% Coaching and Developing Others  -  Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
88% Performing Administrative Activities  -  Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
87% Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others  -  Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
86% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
86% Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People  -  Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
86% Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates  -  Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
85% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
84% Developing and Building Teams  -  Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
83% Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others  -  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
81% Scheduling Work and Activities  -  Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
81% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
80% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
79% Developing Objectives and Strategies  -  Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
79% Staffing Organizational Units  -  Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
79% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
77% Assisting and Caring for Others  -  Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
77% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
76% Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others  -  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
76% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
76% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
75% Thinking Creatively  -  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
75% Performing for or Working Directly with the Public  -  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
75% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
74% Communicating with People Outside the Organization  -  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
73% Monitoring and Controlling Resources  -  Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
73% Providing Consultation and Advice to Others  -  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

What Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals Do

Elementary, middle, and high school principals
Principals counsel students.

Elementary, middle, and high school principals oversee all school operations, including daily school activities. They coordinate curriculums, manage staff, and provide a safe and productive learning environment for students.

Duties

Elementary, middle, and high school principals typically do the following:

  • Manage school activities and staff, including teachers and support personnel
  • Establish and oversee class schedules
  • Develop, implement, and maintain curriculum standards
  • Counsel and discipline students
  • Observe teachers and evaluate their performance
  • Meet with parents and teachers to discuss students’ progress and behavior
  • Assess and prepare reports on test scores and other student achievement data
  • Organize professional development programs and workshops for staff
  • Manage the school’s budget, order school supplies, and schedule maintenance
  • Establish and coordinate security procedures for students, staff, and visitors

Elementary, middle, and high school principals direct the overall operation of schools. They set and oversee academic goals and ensure that teachers have the equipment and resources to meet those goals. Principals may establish and supervise additional programs in their school, such as counseling, extracurricular activities, and before- and after-school childcare.

In public schools, principals also implement standards and programs set by the school district, state, and federal regulations. They evaluate and prepare reports based on these standards by assessing student achievement and teacher performance at their school.

Principals serve as the public representative of their school. They listen to, and try to address, the concerns of parents and the community.

The duties of principals vary by the size of the school and district. In large schools and districts, principals may have additional resources and staff to help them achieve goals. For example, large school districts often have instructional coordinators who help with data analysis and with teachers’ professional development. Principals also may have staff who help with hiring school personnel. In smaller school districts, principals may need to assume these and other duties themselves.

Many schools have assistant principals who help principals with school administration. Principals typically assign specific duties to their assistant principals. In some school districts, assistant principals handle a subject area, such as literacy or math. Assistants may handle student safety, provide student academic counseling, or enforce disciplinary or attendance rules. They may also coordinate buses or supervise building and grounds maintenance.

Work Environment

Elementary, middle, and high school principals held about 300,400 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of elementary, middle, and high school principals were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; local 75%
Elementary and secondary schools; private 20

Elementary, middle, and high school principals may find it rewarding to work with students. However, coordinating and interacting with faculty, parents, students, and community members may be demanding. Principals’ work is sometimes stressful because they are accountable for their school meeting state and federal standards for student performance and teacher qualification.

Work Schedules

Most principals work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They may work evenings or weekends to meet with parents and other members of the community and to attend school functions, such as concerts and athletic events.

Typically, principals work year round and do not have summers off, even if students are not in school. During the summer, principals schedule building maintenance, order school supplies, and hire new teachers and other staff in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Getting Started

Education:
44%
Post-Master's Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master's degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.
37%
Master's Degree

How to Become an Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

Elementary, middle, and high school principals
Principals must communicate effectively with students, teachers, and parents.

Most schools require elementary, middle, and high school principals to have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership. Principals also need teaching experience.

Education

Principals typically need a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. These master’s degree programs teach prospective principals how to manage staff, create budgets, set goals, and work with parents and the community. To enter a master's degree program, candidates typically need a bachelor's degree in education, counseling, or a related field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Principals need several years of teaching experience. For more information on how to become a teacher, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require public school principals to be licensed as school administrators. Licensure requirements vary by state, but most require a master’s degree. Some states have alternative programs for candidates who do not have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership. Most states also require candidates to pass an exam and a background check.

Principals in private schools are not required to have a state-issued license.

Advancement

An assistant principal can advance to become a principal. Some principals advance to become superintendents or other types of education administrators, which may require additional education. Others become instructional coordinators.

Job Outlook

Employment of elementary, middle, and high school principals is projected to show little or no change from 2022 to 2032.

Despite limited employment growth, about 20,200 openings for elementary, middle, and high school principals are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment growth will be affected by student enrollment and the number of educational institutions.

There are a limited number of principal positions available per school. If student enrollment increases, more schools will open, which could increase demand. Conversely, stagnant or decreasing student enrollment may reduce the demand for principals.

Employment growth of school principals also will depend on state and local budgets. Budget constraints may delay the building or opening of new schools. In addition, some school districts may consolidate and close some schools within their districts, thereby limiting employment growth. If there is a budget surplus, however, school districts may open more schools, which could lead to employment growth.

Contacts for More Information

For more information on elementary, middle, and high school principals, visit

National Association of Elementary School Principals

National Association of Secondary School Principals

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of elementary, middle, and high school principals.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Career and technical education teachers Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts.

Bachelor's degree $61,450
High school teachers High School Teachers

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor's degree $62,360
Instructional coordinators Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, implement it, and assess its effectiveness.

Master's degree $66,490
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects in order to prepare them for future schooling.

Bachelor's degree $61,620
Librarians Librarians and Library Media Specialists

Librarians and library media specialists help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use.

Master's degree $61,660
Middle school teachers Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades.

Bachelor's degree $61,810
Postsecondary education administrators Postsecondary Education Administrators

Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities.

Master's degree $99,940
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $80,840
Preschool and childcare center directors Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets.

Bachelor's degree $49,690
Preschool teachers Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten.

Associate's degree $35,330
School and Career Counselors School and Career Counselors and Advisors

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills. Career counselors and advisors help people choose a path to employment.

Master's degree $60,140
Special education teachers Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities.

Bachelor's degree $62,950
Teacher assistants Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction.

Some college, no degree $30,920

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.