What is a Principal?

A principal is the head teacher or the leader of the school where he or she works. They are also known as head masters in some countries, as well as a few select schools in the United States. Principals are, in a sense, leaders of an entire community of learners.

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What does a Principal do?

There are many duties of a school principal. Some of these duties include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The hiring of staff members
  • Communicating with parents and faculty when necessary
  • Creating policies (such as dress code)
  • Planning academic calendars for the school
  • Handling of student recruitment and admissions into the school
  • Disciplining students when needed
  • Supervising students, staff and other faculty members
  • Designing creative new programs and restructuring old ones
  • Handling of the schools budget
  • Maintaining secure funding for the school
  • Making both daily decisions as well as long-term decisions

What does it take to be a Principal?

Good educational administrators will have all the following attributes:

  • The ability to make beneficial and constructive decisions
  • A great deal of determination
  • Excellent skills in both leadership and supervision
  • Strong and effective communication and interpersonal skills
  • A broad knowledge of the practices in schools
  • Knowledge of computer technology
  • Basic psychology

School administrators must work first as a teacher. To become a teacher, one will need a bachelor's degree in education. Teachers are also required to have a license or a teacher's certificate in the state or province in which they teach. Requirements vary in different countries, however, almost all of them need a bachelor's degree, an amount of "supervised" teaching and the successful completion of an examination. This exam includes such things as literacy, teaching ability and subject knowledge. Some schools need a person to work as a teacher for several years before he or she can become a principal.

The degrees and certifications required for a career as a principal also vary. In most public schools, however, educational administrators need to have a Master's degree in either Educational Leadership or Educational Administration. These programs include such courses as finance, leadership, curriculum planning, law and human resources. Some principals also have a doctoral or specialized degree and will have completed an internship.

The field of educational administrators is a rapidly growing field and there are many traditional as well as online schools offering programs. There is a lot of room for advancement in the educational field as well. Many principals receive promotions by being transferred to a place that offers more responsibility. Other types of promotions include being promoted to a superintendent or even a person who is an institutions president.

What is the workplace of a Principal like?

Principals can work in colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, pre-schools and in daycare facilities. They can also oversee programs for such institutions as museums, job-training organizations and businesses. They usually have their own office as well as their own secretary, but can also be found working in classrooms, auditoriums and outdoors during special events. They work long hours, often working into the evening. Principals work closely with vice-principals, teachers and other faculty with the common goal of providing a rich and safe learning environment for the students.

How much does a Principal earn?

The average salary of a high school principal is about $82,200 per year, middle school is about $78,000, an elementary school is about $74,000 and a preschool or daycare is about $46,400. These salaries will vary depending on the Principal's experience in the field, the number of children that attend the school, as well as the city in which he or she works.

There are many benefits given to educational administrators. These benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, pensions and paid vacations.

Learn more about being a Principal