School Principals plan, organise, direct, control and coordinate the educational and administrative aspects of primary, middle or intermediate, and secondary schools including physical and human resources.
Also known as: Headmaster or Headmistress.
Specialisations: Middle or Intermediate School Principal, Primary School Principal, Secondary School Principal.
A university degree in teaching and teaching experience is usually needed to work as a School Principal.
determining educational programs based on curricula set by educational authorities
implementing systems and procedures to monitor school performance and student enrolments
directing administrative and clerical activities concerning student admissions and educational services
preparing school budgets and maintaining budgetary controls
promoting the educational program, and representing schools in the wider community
supervising the maintenance of school facilities
enforcing a disciplinary code to create a safe and conducive environment for students and teachers
organising and implementing methods of raising additional funds in conjunction with parent groups
controlling selection, training and supervision of staff
may teach students
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 24,900 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 96% of people employed as School Principals work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 30 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 53 hours per week in their main job. This is 9 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than three-quarters of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021.
Most School Principals work in the Education and training industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||School Principals||All Jobs Average|
Around 46% of School Principals live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
New South Wales has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Perth - North West
- Sydney - Outer West and Blue Mountains
- Melbourne - Outer East
- Melbourne - Inner
- Perth - South West.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of School Principals is 50 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 60% of the workforce. This is 12 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||School Principals||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.1||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A university degree in teaching and teaching experience is usually needed to work as a School Principal.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||School Principals||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||42.7||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.1||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for School Principals who can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people, and provide leadership, direction and planning.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Talking to others.
Reading work related information.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
61%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
61%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
59%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
59%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Teaching people how to do something.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Looking for ways to help people.
Using maths to solve problems.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
91%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
82%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
69%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
67%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
65%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
65%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
60%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
60%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
57%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
52%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
51%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
48%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
43%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
43%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
Compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Read and understand written information.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
50%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
See details that are far away.
45%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
Do two or more things at the same time.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
87%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
87%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
86%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
85%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
83%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
82%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
82%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
79%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
79%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
78%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
78%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
77%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
76%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
76%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
73%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
71%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
68%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
66%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
65%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
49%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Talk on the telephone.
98%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work with people in a group or team.
Use electronic mail.
95%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
94%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
93%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
91%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
90%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
90%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
88%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
87%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
84%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
Work to strict deadlines.
80%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
76%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Talk to a group of people.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 11-9032.00 - Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.