What kind of Salary does a School Administrator Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, in 2010, the median school administrator salary among elementary, middle and high school principals was $86,970 per year. Online degree programs, or degree programs in a more traditional classroom setting, are both acceptable ways of obtaining the necessary educational requirements to qualify for the position of school administrator.

Education Requirements

Public schools normally require all applicants for the position of principal to possess at least a master degree in education leadership or education administration. In order to qualify for enrollment in such a masterĀ  degree program, applicants must have a bachelor degree in education, school counseling or other closely related fields of study.

While there is no on-the job training, most elementary, middle and high school principals, have work experience as a teacher. Teachers, who want to advance their career as a principal, can continue to teach while they pursue an online degree in the prescribed master’s program.

Licensing is required in most states for public school principals. To obtain a license as a school administrator, individuals may be required to pass a test and periodically take continuing education classes. Principals in private schools are not required to be licensed.

Useful Skills

Being responsible for an entire school requires an individual to wear many different hats. A principal must be able to command respect through strong leadership and effective policies. He or she must be able to communicate with students, teachers, parents and other administrators and officials. Each day can present new situations that must be resolved. Critical thinking and decision-making skills help a principal do his or her job well.

Some administrators choose to be strict disciplinarians and go by the book, while others get the desired results by being more approachable and involving everyone in the way the school is run. In any case, good people skills are crucial in the school environment.

Career Options: What you can do with a Masters Degree in School Administration

  1. Principals are the Generals of our schools. Their focus is on the education and development of the potential of each student. Principals work with teachers, students, other administrators and parents while trying to provide the best learning environment and educational experience for students.
  2. School Administrators specialize in different areas of education such as finances, curriculum or counseling of students.
  3. School Superintendents hire other school administrators, prepare annual school budgets, participate in committee meetings and participate in the enforcement , modification or change in school policies.
  4. University Presidents oversee all aspects of the campus. They create a vision for the future direction of the university, raise funds, communicate with alumni and deal with high level executives and government officials.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Masters Degree in School Administration

The following figures are for principals of elementary, middle and high schools. Salaries are interpreted by the group as a whole and not broken down by grade level.

  • Median salary ……………………………………………… $86,970 per year
  • Lowest 10 percent’s salary …………………………. $58,299 per year or less
  • Highest 10 percent’s salary ………………………… $129,481 per year or more

Factors that Influence Actual Principal Salary

  • School Type – All other things being equal, high school principals earn more than middle school principals and middle school principals earn more than elementary school principals
  • Size of School – Principals in big schools with a greater number of teachers and a larger student population may receive greater compensation for the additional responsibility they must assume compared to principals of small schools.
  • Public or Private Schools – Generally speaking, a private school, of a similar size to a public school, pays a higher salary to its principal.
  • Advanced Degree – A masters degree is the expected minimum educational requirement to become a principal. Those who have more impressive educational credentials such as a doctorate, can earn well above the median salary for all principals.

Job Outlook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook of the BLS reported that there were 236,100 individuals employed as high school, middle school and elementary school principals in 2010. That figure is expected to increase by about 10 percent to roughly 260,000 by 2020 The increase in demand is due to the projected increase in the number of students and new schools that will need to be built.

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