HOW TO BECOME A HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
As a high-ranking administrative position, principals play a key role in children’s education. Most people think of a principal as the school’s chief disciplinarian, but principals take on a range of responsibilities that encompass almost every aspect of running a school.
Because principals have a more varied set of responsibilities than teachers, becoming a principal means gaining management and leadership experience. In other words, meeting the educational requirements for a school principal includes all the hard work that goes into becoming a teacher and more.
But for people with the right motivation, the effort is worth it. Below you can learn more about secondary school principal qualifications and the typical path people take to become a secondary school principal.
WHAT DEGREE DO YOU NEED TO BE A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL?
Most principals begin their careers as teachers. The most common route to becoming a high school principal is to start as a high school teacher. You will need a bachelor’s degree for this. Determining exactly how many years of college it takes to become a principal depends on a number of factors. But in most cases, a high school degree program will be the most direct route to becoming a high school principal.
In addition to the roughly four years it takes to complete your degree, you’ll need a teaching certificate that will require student teaching experience. After gaining a few years of teaching experience, prospective principals begin working toward the additional education required to obtain school principal certification, such as a principal certification program.
DO YOU NEED A MASTER’S TO BE A DIRECTOR?
What are the requirements for the performance of the position of school director? In addition to a bachelor’s degree, becoming a high school principal generally requires applicants to have a master’s degree. The degree is usually focused on educational leadership or educational administration, as these are the skills experienced educators need to learn in order to become certified.
For example, prospective principals can look into a graduate education program such as an MS in Human Resource Development or an online master’s degree in educational administration. Students who already have a master’s degree can directly enroll in Drexel’s major certificate program and begin working directly toward professional certification.
HOW MANY YEARS OF TEACHING EXPERIENCE DO I NEED TO BECOME A PRINCIPAL?
Can you be a principal without teaching experience? Although possible in certain cases, it is unusual to find a principal who has not been a teacher first. Many positions require previous teaching experience. Lack of these credentials can greatly weaken your competitiveness as a job seeker.
On average, the amount of teaching experience required to become a principal is usually between 1-5 years. After you get the benefit of classroom experience, you become eligible for programs like the Educational Leadership degree, which generally require at least two years of teaching experience for admission.
HOW MUCH DOES A HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL EARN?
Salaries for high school principals vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of school, private, public, charter, the number of years of experience they have, and the location of the school, to name a few. According to pay.com, as of October 2021, high school principal salaries in the United States range from $85,845 to $136,848, with an average salary of $110,479. Glassdoor reports an average salary of $118,471 per year, while PayScale reports $91,584 per year, further highlighting that salary depends on many factors.
GET LICENSED IN SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, teaching experience, and a master’s degree, most states require school principals to be licensed in school administration. High school principal qualifications and licensing requirements vary from state to state. However, admission to the licensing exams usually requires a graduate degree and sometimes requires prior work experience.
REASONS TO BECOME A DIRECTOR
Deciding to leave the classroom and take on a new role on campus is a big decision. There are many ways to create a positive learning environment for students, and not all of them involve teaching. But why become a school principal and who should consider changing?
Becoming a director can be a great option for people with broad interests. Because administrative positions allow you to work in several interconnected areas, from PR to management.
Problem solvers will find no shortage of new challenges to tackle.
People with a passion for providing children with quality educational experiences have the opportunity to have a greater influence on the organization and management of their school.
Becoming a principal gives educators interested in career advancement the opportunity to pursue positions of even greater authority and oversight, such as superintendent or postsecondary administrator.
If you are interested in these types of challenges and would like to learn more about the education requirements for a school principal, please take a moment to request information about becoming a high school principal through the Drexel School of Education.