For those who are passionate about education and possess strong leadership skills, filling the headteacher role is probably the highest position one can reach in the education sector. And like the usual saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Essentially, being the highest position in the respective field, a headteacher (also known as headmaster, headmistress, or simply principal) is the person who’s responsible for the school’s overall management. This responsibility includes ensuring that all students receive their education, managing the school staff, and making school-related policies and other major decisions regarding the school’s operation. We will discuss Headteacher Career here.
But other than the primary function of a headteacher, other pertinent information such as: “what other responsibilities and even compensation does this profession have?” Or better yet, “how does someone become eligible in applying for this position?” are not well known. This article will help give you an overview of this job and what career prospects one will have in this position.
Headteacher Career | Job Responsibilities & Duties
While the workload may vary depending on the establishment, as the leading figure in many educational institutions, headteachers are expected to perform and complete several key duties, such as:
- Establishing, maintaining, and sharing the school’s values and vision to the students, staff, parents, and communities.
- Delegating duties between staff
- Monitoring, evaluating, and reviewing the impact of the policies and the solutions if a problem arises
- Monitor the school’s finances, allocate the necessary funds to complete the school’s development plan, and monitor the spending budgets.
- Liaising with academic staff, parents, and the school’s governing body creates an academic environment conducive to students.
- Create and maintain an effective work system for staff, including target setting, performance management, and evaluation.
- Establish and oversee the school curriculums and class schedules
- Incorporating accountability in all working aspects of the school.
Aside from these core responsibilities, headteachers may also find themselves tasked with varying duties depending on the education level. Here are some of the differences.
Responsibilities of an Elementary And Middle Schools Headteacher:
- Responsible for managing children from preschool up to grade 8
- Setting performance goals for students and teachers
- Promoting a conducive learning environment, which includes making sure that both programs and the school teachers can give necessary care and support for the students
- Facilitating a secure learning environment and resolving any behavioral issues that may arise on the school grounds.
- Promoting and facilitating special educational programs and student testing
- In charge of hiring and evaluating teachers and staff members
- Working with administrators, superintendents, and faculty staff in setting a budget and allocating school funds.
Responsibilities of a High Schools Headteacher:
- Managing students from grade 9 up to grade 12
- Supervising and observing the teachers and how they handle their classes (within the head teacher’s time permits).
- Responsible for the health, safety, and comfort of all of the school’s occupants as well as visitors
- Working together with administrators, superintendents, and faculty staff in establishing policies that will set precedence to the student’s behavioral standards
- Managing the administrative responsibilities of extracurricular activities, disciplinary actions, instructional programs, and program evaluation
- Notifying the authorities regarding behavioral issues that may affect the public order
Skills & Qualities
As the person responsible for the administrative and supervisory role in an educational institution, a headteacher would have to possess several leadership qualities, such as:
- Problem-Solving Skills: A headteacher would be the final authority figure, and their decisions are crucial in determining the outcome of a problem. That’s why headteachers must be able to analyze a problem and find the best solution.
- Communication Skills: As part of the skill set of a leader, headteachers must have excellent communications and interpersonal skills, especially because headteachers must establish a transparent dialogue with staff, parents, and the students. They must also listen, show empathy towards concerns regarding the school, and learn how to manage those concerns.
- Decision-Making Skills: As the individual responsible for deciding the administrative course of actions, headteachers must be level-headed, capable of searching for the correct information, and taking proper considerations of the situation.
- Critical Thinking Skills: In addition to administrative responsibilities, headteachers are also responsible for many educational projects, such as curriculums, teaching procedures, and evaluating test scores. Headteachers must analyze and apply the necessary knowledge to create programs, classes, and curriculums that ensure the students’ development.
- Good Teamwork Skills: Headteachers are chosen based not only on their leadership skills but also their proactiveness and collaboration ideas. In fulfilling the school’s visions and missions, headteachers will be working together with teachers, administrative staff, parents, and even external partners. This responsibility requires headteachers to work together in a team, delegate duties to other parties, and provide constructive feedback for all school personnel.
What Are the Profession & Salary Outlook Like?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, elementary, middle, and high school headteachers’ potential employment is predicted to grow 4% from 2019-2029. This means that there will be at least 20,000 job openings for the headteacher position each year over 10 years in that projected decade. This growth pace level is considered average and can be affected by the number of students enrolling and the number of institutions. Overall, as education is an important part of our society and the demand for human development is persistent, the headteacher’s position is needed to manage, monitor, and develop educational institutions.
In terms of wage, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that in 2019, headteachers receive a median annual salary of $96,400. However, there’s a distinct difference between principals working at local elementary, secondary, and high schools ($97,850) and those working at private schools ($85,930). If further research, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics estimates that the 10 highest percentage of headteachers earns more than $148,630, while the 10 lowest earns less than $63,070. This amount does not include other work benefits, such as retirement, pension, and health assurance.
Like any other profession, headteachers with higher degrees of education and years of experience earn a higher salary. Districts and state locations will also affect the amount of salary received by a headteacher.
What Are the Educational Requirements for Head Teachers?
Essentially, there are two main steps to be eligible as a headteacher candidate. The first one is to have sufficient field experience in teaching in classrooms. It’s important to note that for a headteacher position, experience as an educator (preferably one to five years) and are also required to have valid teaching certifications.
The second step is that candidates must have at least a master’s degree in education, specifically in education leadership and/or education administration. However, some schools will require a higher education level for this position, such as a Doctor of Education (EdD), a Ph.D. in Education, or Educational Specialist (EdS). Regardless of the degree, candidates must know classroom management, teaching techniques, and children’s development. A master’s degree is pertinent to the headteacher role because candidates are taught theories about multiculturalism, curriculum design, laws and regulations, state and federal standards, management techniques, teacher evaluation, budget planning, and facilities management.
In addition to this, headteacher candidates must also be licensed as school administrators. This administrative license is a state-issued credential and will vary between states, with some states requiring the candidates to take an exam or go through a background check. Overall, candidates are encouraged to reach out to their local district to make the necessary plans.
For individuals applying for the headteacher position in private schools, state-issued certification is not required.
Certified headteachers are needed in various educational institutions, with elementary, secondary, and high school being the most prominent options. Headteachers also have the option to choose between local, private, and charter schools.
- Public Schools: This type of school is known for being a governmental funded institution and provides free schooling within a geographically determined area known as districts. The districts organize the curriculums provided by public schools.
- Private Schools: In contrast, private schools are infamous for their student tuition fee that must be paid. They are also unaffiliated with the government. That’s why the school chose the curriculums provided.
- Charter Schools: Charter schools are known to provide free education. However, they have the option of choosing the student’s demographic pool based on their criteria.
Despite the high position and overwhelming workload, headteachers are still school employees and have a designated work hour they must fulfill. Typically, the headteacher position is a full-time job and has a 9 to five work schedule. However, more often than not, headteachers may work overtime during summer breaks. A study done by the Education Development Center, Inc. reports that a headteacher has an average work schedule of 60 hours per week.
Alternative Career Paths
Below here are some alternative professions that are similar and can even be a prerequisite to applying for the headteacher position are:
- High School Teachers
- School and Career Counsellors
- Instructional Coordinator
- Academic Advisor