Principal  What They Do

Just the Facts


Plans, directs or coordinates the academic, clerical or auxiliary activities of public or private elementary or secondary level schools.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Administration and Administrative Support pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Confers with parents and staff to discuss educational activities, policies, and student behavioral or learning problems.
  • Enforces discipline and attendance rules.
  • Observes teaching methods and examines learning materials to evaluate and standardize curricula and teaching techniques, and to determine areas where improvement is needed.
  • Collaborates with teachers to develop and maintain curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals and objectives.
  • Recruits, hires, trains, and evaluates primary and supplemental staff.
  • Evaluates curricula, teaching methods, and programs to determine their effectiveness, efficiency, and utilization, and to ensure that school activities comply with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Counsels and provides guidance to students regarding personal, academic, vocational, or behavioral issues.
  • Establishes, coordinates, and oversees particular programs across school districts, such as programs to evaluate student academic achievement.
  • Sets educational standards and goals, and helps establish policies and procedures to carry them out.
  • Plans and leads professional development activities for teachers, administrators, and support staff.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



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Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Athletic Director -- Manages and oversees a school's athletic program.
  • Curriculum Director -- Develops classroom curricula and selects textbooks to go with classes.
  • Director of Admissions -- Oversees all aspects of student recruitment for an educational institution.
  • Teacher -- Plans, organizes and implements an appropriate instructional program in a learning environment that guides and encourages students to develop and fulfill their academic potential.
  • Vice Principal -- Assists the principal with the school's everyday administrative tasks.