Middle School Principals Career Info

Mar 29, 2019

Middle school principals set educational goals, provide support to teaching staff, and overlook the administrative and financial operations of a middle school. They ensure educational standards, monitor students and teacher progress, hire new staff, and perform a number of administrative tasks. Read on to learn more details of this challenging position.

Career Definition for Middle School Principals

A middle school principal directs, coordinates, and oversees all clerical, academic, and administrative tasks in the middle school. They initiate educational programs, ensure educational and teaching standards are upheld, evaluate teachers, set long term school goals, allocate funding, balance the budgets, and represent the school in the local community.

Education Graduate degree in education administration or educational leadership
Job Duties Initiate educational programs, evaluate teachers, allocate funding
Median Salary (2017)* $94,390 (all elementary, middle, and high school principals)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (all elementary, middle, and high school principals)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Middle school principals typically start their careers as teachers. As they gain experience in education, many individuals obtain a master's or doctoral degree in administration or specifically in education administration. A typical degree will include courses in curriculum development, personnel management, school policy, finance, and other related fields. Principals usually move up through program director or assistant principal positions before advancing to the role of the principal.

Required Skills

Middle school principals are dynamic leaders with exceptional leadership and managerial skills. Their abilities as managers and school leaders can determine the success or failure of a school's mission, teaching, or educational standards. They must be able to communicate clearly and effectively, since they will represent the school during conferences with students, parents, and other community members as well as in staff, community, and board meetings.

Career and Economic Outlook

For their employment outlook, elementary, middle, and high school principals in general have been predicted by the BLS to have average job growth of 8% for the 2016-2026 period. The salary of a middle school principal depends on a number of factors, including level of education, geographic location, and the number of students in the school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), elementary, middle, and high school principals earned a median annual salary of $94,390 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Instructional Coordinator

With a master's degree in areas such as curriculum and instruction or education, in addition to related work experience, these professionals seek employment overseeing a school's teaching standards and curriculum. They also develop instructional materials and assess their effectiveness. Faster than average job growth of 11%, from 2016-2026, was forecasted by the BLS; this occupation offered an annual median wage of $63,750 in 2017.

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Usually requiring a master's degree and work experience in this field, these college administrators supervise areas such as faculty research, academics or student services, depending on their specific area of management. The BLS reported an annual median salary of $92,360 in 2017. A faster than average increase in positions of 10% was anticipated from 2016-2026.

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