Principal Career Overview
A principal is the head of a school. He or she is a professional who looks over issues as varied and diffuse as the school budget, employment, the school’s relationship with a community, academic standards, and the creation and growth of a school’s programs, such as sports and arts.
Individuals who become principals often have years upon years of experience in teaching. They also tend to have graduate degrees in subjects such as educational leadership and education administration. People who become principals might also move ahead into positions such as superintendent, which oversees an entire school district.
Principal Job Description
Individuals who serve as principals tend to spend most of their time in schools for which they are responsible, though they also might travel much to attend conferences and seminars where they can learn about new pedagogical techniques and also to explore issues related to education. In most cases, principals, spend most of their time dealing with issues related directly to their school. While they spend much time communicating with colleagues, community members, and faculty, they also work much with individual students.
Some of the most imperative and common tasks of principals include:
• Overseeing all issues related to school budget, which relate to financial issues and how money that a school receives is spent
• Ensuring that a school’s students are performing well as compared to standards set at levels, such as the city and state level
• Determining which kinds of pedagogy are preferred within a school
• Participating in hiring processes, as well as processes related to other aspects of employments, such as job termination and appointments to various committees
• Dealing with students with special needs, students with disciplinary problems, and students who are interested in starting groups or initiatives that affect a school
• Doing regular follow ups with faculty members to ensure that a school is functioning properly at the classroom level.
Principal Education and Training
In most cases, individuals who become principals have graduate degrees in education administration or educational leadership. It is common for these professionals to have years of teaching experience. As a matter of fact, most people who become principals have years of experience prior to earning their necessary graduate degrees. This kind of experience is necessary for learning about how schools are run and what is required of the faculty members who work in these schools. It is not necessary to teach a particular subject. In fact, individuals who become principals start off in a number of different disciplines. What connects all of these individuals, however, is their passion for education and for improving and strengthening the education system.
If you would like to become a principal, you can expect to take a school administration exam in order to earn the proper certification. These requirements do vary by state, so you should research the requirements of the state in which you live and work.
While all principals in state schools, such as public high schools for example, must pass state sponsored proficiency exams, it also is common for private school principals to have high levels of education and training as well. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon to find principals in both public and private spheres to have PhDs in educational administration.
Some common traits among individuals who become principals are:
• Dedication to the strengthening of an educational institution
• Dedication to the process of learning and to the development of pedagogy
• A good sense for business and sensible fiscal and budgetary decisions
• High level of organization
• Excellent communication skills with colleagues and with students
• Capacity to adapt to new pedagogical techniques and to new concerns presented by communities from both students and faculty origins.
Principal Outlook and Earnings
Individuals who are interested in becoming principals and who are truly dedicated can depend on excellent job outlooks. As a matter of fact, because this kind of position requires such a high degree of commitment, most people who get the required years of teaching experience, as well as the proper education and certification required by the respective states can depend on positions.
The levels of pay principals receive depend largely on the kind of schools where they work and the states where they work. More often than not, principals of elementary schools make between $70,000 a year. Individuals who work as principals in high schools, on the other hand, can make upwards of $100,000 a year.