Private School Principal – Job Description and Career Outlook

A private school principal is the head administrator for an elementary school, middle school or high school in the private sector. A principal will manage the everyday operations of the entire building. In addition, private school principals identify goals for the school and help the professionals at the building achieve those goals.

Someone who is interested in being a principal at a private school needs to have not only a passion for education, but the strength to be a leader during tough times. An interest in children is a must, as is an ability to set and meet goals.

A principal is often the top job in any school building, but depending on the private school system that the principal works in, there may be opportunities to advance into another administrative position.

Work environment and job duties

While many teachers and others in the educational sector enjoy the summer months off, a private school principal typically does not. Typically, you will arrive in the early morning and leave later in the evening, several hours after classes have ended for the day. It is a full-time position that often goes year round.

The principal of the school usually has an office in a central location in the building. You may have one or more assistant principals or clerical workers to help you out. While the principal has an office, a private school principal must play an active role in the school environment. You should be a presence in the building, stopping into classrooms to monitor progress and taking an active role in the educational activities.

In addition to working within the classrooms of your school, as principal, you must also be able to work with leaders of your educational institution. It is important to be able to present reports, documents and other findings in a professional manner that proves you are doing your job properly and to the best of your ability.

Requirements and education

A private school principal must have not only a bachelor’s degree in education, but also a master’s degree. Typically, a principal will have spent several years as a teacher in a classroom as well. The typical principal will have at least one to five years worth of education experience before being able to take on the top job at the school.

There is no on the job training for principals, but there are several educational specializations a principal can receive. For instance, you could specialize in being an elementary principal, middle school principal or high school principal. If you are hoping to achieve a higher status in your career, you may also add a superintendent specialization as well.

Salary and career outlook

Since a private school principal bears a lot of responsibility, the position typically has a higher salary associated with it. In 2010, the average principal made $86,970 per year. However, a public school principal is likely to be paid a higher salary than a private school principal. There are no specific figures available for private school principals, but keep this in mind as you research your career choice. Keep in mind as well, that salary and benefits are often negotiable.

At this time, the job outlook for a private school principal is good. The field, which had more than 200,000 jobs in 2010, is expected to grow by 10 percent. This is an average growth rate during this economic climate, and is considered quite positive for the education field. During the next 10 years, the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects there to be more than 23,000 principal jobs created. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects this growth to occur due to an increase in enrollment in schools across the nation. However, the growth rate is dependent highly on the different regions of the country. Regions that are suffering may not see the same career growth in this field.


Many people believe that a degree in education automatically transfers to a career in teaching. While classroom teaching is a frequent outcome for education-degree graduates, there are many other careers that may fit you and your goals. A background in education can provide you with knowledge that can benefit many industries, including business, public service and guidance. Educators are desirable as researchers, educational program designers, counselors and consultants. Your career path is entirely dependent on the atmosphere you would like to work in, the work you are interested in doing, and the salary you desire.

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