Become a Principal or Superintendent

Become a Principal

While principals and superintendents work in the same facilities that teachers do, the duties they handle on a day-to-day basis are much different from educators. Principals and superintendents handle all of the administrative tasks necessary to keep schools running efficiently and effectively. That means mentoring and managing teachers, organizing budgets, responding to maintenance concerns and ultimately ensuring that students test well. This can also mean disciplining students and coordinating security policies on school grounds.

The responsibilities of a principal or superintendent are vast, and each duty is integral to producing a safe environment for shaping young minds. With online principal or superintendent programs, you may learn what it takes to run a school effectively. Moreover, online courses are normally more convenient to attend because they do not require a commute and they allow students to work when it is most convenient for them.

Are Online Principal or Superintendent Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online principal or superintendent program:

  • Principals and superintendents require a combination of experience and educational certification for work. Typically, this means receiving a master's degree in education leadership or education administration and work experience as a teacher, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i].
  • Becoming a teacher itself requires particular state-mandated licensure and certification in public institutions[ii]. However, principals in public schools require more specific licenses in school administration in most states as well.
  • Potential principles are also often asked to pass a test, complete regular continuing education courses and work with a mentor to maintain a license.
  • Before signing up for online courses, make sure the work you do prepares you for particular state-mandated tests and certification prep work. Moreover, inquire if online courses can help you receive work experience as well.

Principal or Superintendent Career Paths and Potential Salaries

There are many career paths you may choose to pursue on your way to seeking a position as a principal or superintendent. Many of these administrators work as public and private school teachers beforehand, and some choose to pursue careers in instructional coordination instead. Consider these options using statistics compiled by the BLS.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals[i]

Principals in public and private schools are in charge of evaluating the performances of teachers, managing school activities, mentoring teachers, disciplining students and more. Making sure the school runs safely, efficiently and effectively is the main goal of a principal. 

  • 2012 median annual salary: $87,760
  • Job growth through 2022: 6 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Master's degree

High School Teachers[ii]

High school teachers educate and prepare students for life in college or the professional world. Specific duties vary by course. Generally, high school teachers will either help students prepare for specific coursework they may receive in college or at another professional institution, such as material in chemistry, biology, calculus, history and other subjects. They are charged with teaching, testing and assessing the progress of students.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $55,050
  • Job growth through 2022: 6 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Instructional Coordinators[iii]

Instead of pursuing a career as a principal or superintendent, some teachers choose to seek positions as instructional coordinators. These professionals assess the effectiveness of course curriculums and help produce more beneficial strategies for teaching students. This often involves analyzing test data and reviewing teachers as they work. They also prepare teacher conferences, instructional seminars and recommend materials that improve learning outcomes.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $60,050
  • Job growth through 2022: 13 percent (as fast as average)
  • Entry-level education: Master's degree

[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm#tab-4

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm