Elementary Assistant Principal: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an elementary school assistant principal. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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To become an elementary school assistant principal, you will need to earn an advanced degree and posses strong interpersonal and management skills. A license is also required by most states, and teaching experience is helpful in this field.

Essential Information

Elementary school assistant principals are educational administrators who establish and enforce policies and procedures within the primary grade school system. Competent administrative expertise, strong leadership qualities, and well-developed interpersonal skills are just a few of the abilities a successful elementary school assistant principal must master.

Required Education Graduate degree
Other Requirements Teaching experience and state licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 4% for elementary, middle, and high school principals*
Mean Annual Wage (2018) $98,750 for elementary and secondary school education administrators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Assistant principals are an integral part of the administrative staff of elementary schools, along with principals, counselors, teachers, librarians and other support staff. Usually assigned to supervise the day-to-day execution of tasks needed to keep an elementary school running smoothly, assistant principals also develop academic programs, hire and train faculty, and attend to executive chores such as budgeting and record-keeping. Assistant principals also maintain relationships with parents and students, and may represent the school at community and civic events.

Some routine tasks that an elementary school assistant principal could encounter during the course of a school day might be:

  • Enforcing disciplinary policy
  • Classroom observation
  • Collaboration with faculty on performance objectives
  • Leading a professional development activity
  • Ordering textbooks
  • Setting class schedules

Requirements

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that elementary and secondary school education administrators usually have had some teaching experience and almost all have at least a master's degree in education (www.bls.gov).

Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

There are many 4-year baccalaureate programs in education that offer special emphasis in elementary education. These programs prepare future educators and administrators for the particular needs of students from kindergarten through sixth to eighth grades. Graduates of these programs are well-versed in the psychosocial and learning environment needs of the young student population.

An aspiring elementary school administrator could expect to take courses in:

  • Developmental psychology in school-aged children
  • Teaching mathematics, social science and language arts
  • Classroom management
  • Elementary school organizational structure

Once all coursework has been completed, students must complete one semester of supervised student teaching prior to graduation.

Master of Science in Educational Administration

Prospective assistant elementary school principals must also complete a graduate degree in education. A Master of Science in Educational Administration (M.S.Ed.) degree prepares an applicant for an assistant elementary principal position. Designed for educators who want to move into leadership roles, this graduate degree program is usually six semesters long and strives to create ethical, competent and articulate administrators.

Students in a graduate program in educational administration could expect to study topics in:

  • Administration and supervision in elementary schools
  • School finance and facilities
  • Federal and state public policy
  • Instructional leadership

State Licensure

According to the BLS, nearly all states require elementary assistant principals to hold state licensure (www.bls.gov). Some states require principals to sit for an exam, and some merely require demonstration of a graduate degree. Renewal of licensure may be required as well; check individual state requirements for details. Private schools are not subject to state requirements on licensing.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The BLS projects that careers for elementary, middle, and high school principals will increase 4% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also reported that the mean annual salary for elementary and secondary school education administrators was $98,750 in May 2018.

Elementary assistant principals provide administrative supervision to schools and develop relationships with students and their families. They typically hold a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in educational administration, as well as state licensure and teaching experience. Job availability for all school principals is projected to grow about as fast as average through the year 2028.

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