School principals work to manage the operations of schools at the elementary, middle, and high school level. They supervise teachers and other staff members, oversee budgets, and work to improve educational programs overall. They also ensure that the school meets all local, state, and federal standards. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the following as some of the key job duties for a school principal job description:
- Supervise teachers and school staff and ensure they have the resources they need to serve students effectively.
- Manage the finances, including advocating for the school when it comes to fundraising.
- Monitor the school's educational programs and meet with parents and teachers to discuss students' progress and behavior as needed.
- Develop and manage professional development, mentorship, and other training programs for teachers and staff.
Principals oversee everything from educational delivery to building maintenance. They are also the public representative for their school when it comes to district, community, and fundraising events. The scope of their overall job duties will ultimately depend on the size of the school and the district they are employed by.
Job Growth for
Becoming a School Principal
Those interested in pursuing jobs as school principals will typically need to have a master's degree and several years of teaching experience. Their master's degree might be in educational leadership, educational administration, or elementary education, to name a few options. This provides graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to become leaders in the field.
In most states, candidates will need to be licensed as school administrators to fill jobs as school principals. Specific requirements for this will vary by state, but typically a master's degree, supervised training, and a written exam are required. Some of the subjects that you will become familiar with in a graduate level program include:
- Educational Leadership
- Educational Assessment
- Finance and Budgeting
- Law and Public Policy
Even after obtaining their initial administrator licensure, principals will usually need to take a certain number of continuing education courses to maintain this licensure. These classes help school leaders stay up to date with current educational issues, practices, and technologies. Some school principals may eventually move on to become school district officials or instructional coordinators as well.