K-12 Education Administrators
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Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.
This career appears to require experience.
Undergraduate program resulting in the highest median salary ($75K): Accounting
Largest undergraduate program (11.8% of workers): General Education
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Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

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.

Median salary: $98,490 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $78,560 and $124,380.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for education and childcare administrators
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About K-12 Education Administrators
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of k-12 education administrators who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health (86%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (82%)
  • Time Pressure (66%)
  • Unpleasant or Angry People (60%)
  • Consequence of Error (32%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of K-12 Education Administrators? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
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.
Injury and Illness
About 73 k-12 education administrators become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 74% of other careers. The most common specific illnesses or injuries are detailed following.
All cuts, lacerations, punctures
Soreness and pain
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by k-12 education administrators
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), k-12 education administrators typically hold a master's degree.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as education and childcare administrators as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for k-12 education administrators

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 the master’s degree programs, candidates typically need a bachelor’s degree in education, school counseling, or a related field.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for k-12 education administrators

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.

Education level of Education and childcare administrators
About 58% of education and childcare administrators have a graduate-level education, and 83% have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by education and childcare administrators
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 78% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
  1. Education
  2. Elementary Education
  3. Psychology
  4. Business Management and Administration
  5. English Language and Literature
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College majors held by education and childcare administrators
This table shows the college majors held by people working as education and childcare administrators . If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!
Salary comparison for bachelor's only
Career salary (tail) versus Career/Major salary (dot)
Does the bachelor's-only salary rise or fall with this major?
Salary for bachelor's-only
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Salary for all workers
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education for Career and Major
Workers with this career/major
Percentage in this career with this major
Not so much?
The link between degrees and this career
With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as education and childcare administrators , and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.
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General EducationElementary EducationPsychologyBusiness Management ...English Language and...HistoryGeneral BusinessCommunicationsPolitical Science an...BiologyAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majors
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Education and childcare administrators per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most k-12 education administrators? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as k-12 education administrators. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where k-12 education administrators earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for education and childcare administrators compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for education and childcare administrators .
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which education and childcare administrators earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Education and childcare administrators (ACS for all specialties)
10% of Education and childcare administrators are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 10% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 55% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of education and childcare administrators by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$70K$65K$53K$68K$84K$74K$60K$37K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Education and childcare administrators and gender
With 64% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 76% of careers.
Gender of Education and childcare administrators
Men (36%)
Women (64%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for education and childcare administrators tops that, with the median salary for men 26% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Education and childcare administrators
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Education and childcare administrators.
Race/origin of education and childcare administrators
White (78% )
Black (13% )
Asian (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
$54K$60K$61K$63K$63K$65K$66K$72K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherAmerican IndianPacific IslanderMultiracialBlackHispanicAsianWhite
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.