About 23,500 openings for elementary, middle, and high school principals are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The median annual wage for elementary, middle, and high school principals was $98,420 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $61,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $153,520.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals, at -middle-and-high-school-principals.htm (visited January 24, 2023).
At the time of appointment, applicants should have a completed Ph.D. (or an expected completion date prior to July 1, 2023) on a research topic that addresses the History of the Middle East. Candidates should have demonstrated expertise in at least one, but preferably more than one primary source languages of the region.
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