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Vice Principal Job Description and Salary

Frequently required to juggle an assortment of duties, vice principals must be nimble and creative, with command of a broad range of tasks and responsibilities. One day, a vice principal might be creating a class period schedule and meeting with parents, and the next day he or she might be planning a pep rally and analyzing test scores.

When students ignore the dress code or a parent has a question about the curriculum, the vice principal is often the school administrator tasked with resolving the issue. Also known as assistant principals, these professionals lead students and faculty, and help ensure the efficient operation of a campus, from the cafeteria to the car loop.

Over the years, the scope of a vice principal’s duties has expanded beyond the stereotypical image of a hallway disciplinarian corralling wandering students back to their homeroom. With greater focus being placed on student achievement, standardized tests and teacher performance, vice principals are forging new, diverse roles for themselves.

In the educational atmosphere of accountability and achievement, especially in reading, writing and math, a vice principal can be an instructional leader and mentor for teachers. In this capacity, a vice principal must be well-versed in the art and science of teaching. This role is likely a natural fit for many vice principals, who are accustomed to supervising faculty development.

Job Outlook and Salary for Vice Principals

Employment opportunities in education, including for K-12 teachers and school administrators, are expected to grow by varying degrees over the next several years, according to federal projections. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10% job growth for elementary, middle and high school principals through 2020.

The BLS notes that rising student enrollment will fuel overall demand for educators, although there will be regional differences in hiring opportunities based on government spending levels, among other factors.

Teachers may be able to move into vice principal positions after gaining several years of experience and attaining advanced educational qualifications, such as a master’s in educational administration.

Some school districts may also require vice principal applicants to have an administrative certificate or endorsement.

A 2010 survey by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) reported an average annual salary of more than $79,000 for assistant principals of middle and junior high schools. That represented an increase of about $11,500 over the 2004 average.

Among senior high school assistant principals, the average yearly salary was approximately $83,000, an almost $12,000 increase over 2004, the survey found.

The NASSP survey noted that salaries typically rise in conjunction with enrollment – in other words, the more students there are in a school district, the more money an assistant principal is likely to make.

As with any career, potential salaries and employment opportunities for vice principals can be affected by numerous factors, including an individual’s work history and educational attainment.

A career as a vice principal can be a rewarding choice for talented and hard-working educators, providing opportunities for professional development and personal growth.