How Do I Become a School Principal?

Within the education field there are several different routes that you can take. Some people love being in the classroom and dedicate their life to teaching. Have you ever thought about the important role that principals play in a school? If so, then maybe you have a future as a principal of a school. Becoming a principal is a great career goal and a wonderful way to help children learn and grow.

However, you cannot walk off the stage at graduation and jump into the role of a principal. It takes additional education as well as experience as an educator. So how exactly does one become a school principal?

Recommended Skills

Not everyone is cut out for being a school principal. Although it is a very rewarding job, it is also a very stressful job. If you want to become a school principal, here are just a few skills that are imperative to have.

  • Organized – Because you will be running an entire school, you must be on point with your organizational skills.
  • Problem Solver – You will have teachers, students and parents coming to you with their problems. You must be able to make decisions under pressure.
  • Leadership – People will be looking to you for advice and leadership when you are a school principal. Do you see yourself as a leader?

Throughout your journey to become a principal, you can continue to learn and grow these and other skills through continuing education.

Education Requirements

In order to become a school principal, you will need to earn both a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s degree in educational leadership. Some states may allow you to have a different Master’s degree as long as you have spent time working as an educator. Many individuals will earn a Bachelor’s degree in education and then begin teaching in order to gain experience while obtaining their Master’s in education leadership.

Licensing / Certification

After earning your Bachelor’s degree, you must become licensed or certified to teach in your particular state. Most states require you to complete an exam in your educational specialty. This could be in order to teach elementary school, or a middle school or high school subject. Colleges and universities also have specific requirements for teaching special education programs. It is best to go to your state licensing website to look for specific requirements. After you have obtained a Master’s degree in educational leadership, you must sit for another test to become licensed as a principal.

Experience Needed

Having experience in the classroom can help you become a more effective principal. Many states will require you to have a certain number of years in the classroom before moving into the role of a principal. As a teacher, you will learn the ins and outs of the school day. You develop an understanding of what the children in your school needs. This experience will help you to become a wonderful principal.

Along with classroom experience, you will need experience in a higher level leadership role. You can gain this experience while you work as a teacher. This can be done by volunteering to sit on a school committee. You could also talk with your current principal about your desires to become a principal. Ask for some increased responsibility around the school. Once you have your educational leadership degree, you might begin in the role of vice-principal in a school.

Job Availability and Salary

After obtaining your education, experience and license you are ready to begin interviewing for jobs as a principal. The job market for school principals is expected to increase by 6% over the next ten years. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics most school principals earn an average of $87,760 per year. Although it takes dedication to become a school principal, the job availability for the future looks promising.

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