Close this search box.

School Administrator vs. Principal – What’s The Difference?

School Administrator vs. Principal - What's The Difference?

School Administrator vs. Principal – what are the differences? Learn everything you need to know about the differences between a School Administrator and a Principal.


A school administrator usually works in an administrative position in an educational school or institution. They can be responsible for managing school finances, managing staff, dealing with student issues, implementing school rules, and managing day-to-day operations.

A principal is the educational leader and chief administrator of a school. They oversee all aspects of the school’s operation, including managing staff, developing and implementing policies, ensuring the safety and well-being of students, and fostering a positive and productive learning environment.

What is a School Administrator?

The school administrator is a professional who works in a school, usually in a leadership role. They are responsible for managing the school’s day-to-day operations, including managing staff and student activities, managing budgets, and ensuring that the school meets all local, state, and federal regulations.

They also often serve as relationships between the school’s staff, students, and parents.

What is a Principal?

A school principal is a school community leader and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of academic and administrative activities. They are in charge of hiring, mentoring, and evaluating teachers, conducting classroom observations, making decisions about the curriculum, and organizing learning opportunities for teachers and students.

RelatedAdministrator vs. Principal – What’s The Difference?

School Administrator vs. Principal

Below we discuss the fundamental differences between work duties, work requirements, and work environment of a School Administrator and a Principal.

School Administrator vs. Principal Job Duties

A School Administrator and a Principal are two different positions in the field of education. While both play important roles in the operation and management of a school, there are differences in their job duties that set them apart from one another.

A School Administrator is a general term used to describe a professional responsible for overseeing a school’s administrative operations. This can include tasks such as managing budgets, supervising staff, handling student discipline and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.

On the other hand, a Principal is the leader of a specific school who is directly responsible for its overall management and operation. In addition to the tasks performed by a School Administrator, a Principal is also responsible for overseeing the educational programs offered by the school, evaluating teachers, and working with parents and other stakeholders to ensure the best interests of the students are being served.


In short, a School Administrator is responsible for the administrative side of a school, while a Principal is responsible for both the administrative and educational aspects of a school.

RelatedDean vs. Principal: What’s The Difference?

School Administrator vs. Principal Job Requirements

School administrators and principals are often confused as the same job, but they are actually two different positions in education. Both these jobs are integral to the functioning of a school and require different sets of qualifications and experience.

School administrators are the backbone of any educational setting. They are responsible for the school’s day-to-day operations, such as managing personnel and budgeting. School administrators are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in education, although a master’s degree may be preferred. School administrators may also be required to have a valid state teaching certificate, as well as experience in school administration.

Principals are the head of a school, responsible for the school’s overall functioning, developing school-wide policies, and ensuring the school meets academic standards. Principals must have a master’s degree in education or a related field and typically need to have at least five years of teaching experience. They also need to be certified by the state in which they are working.


In conclusion, school administrators and principals are two very different positions in the education field. While they both have important roles in the functioning of a school, they require different levels of education and experience.

School administrators typically need a bachelor’s degree and a valid state teaching certificate, while principals require a master’s degree and at least five years of teaching experience.

Related: Superintendent vs. Principal – What’s The Difference?

School Administrator vs. Principal Work Environment

The work environment of a School Administrator and a Principal can vary in certain aspects, but both play a crucial role in managing the daily operations of a school.

In terms of the work environment, both School Administrators and Principals typically work in an office setting within the school. However, they may also spend time in classrooms and meet with parents, teachers, and community members.

The nature of the work is challenging and fast-paced, requiring strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure.

Both positions require strong leadership and interpersonal skills, as well as a passion for education and the well-being of students.

RelatedWhat Does a Curriculum Coordinator Do?

School Administrator vs. Principal Skills

The role of a school administrator and a principal are often intertwined, but there are distinct differences between the two in terms of the required skills for success. School administrators typically work at a higher level, managing multiple schools within a district or overseeing departmental operations. They are responsible for developing and implementing policies, managing budgets, and ensuring the overall success of the schools they oversee.

In comparison, a principal is responsible for the daily operations of a single school. Principals play a key role in creating a positive school culture, fostering relationships with teachers, parents, and students, and ensuring that academic and operational goals are met.

In terms of required skills, school administrators need to have strong leadership, managerial, and communication skills. They should have the ability to think critically and make informed decisions, as well as a strong understanding of the educational system and policies.

Additionally, they need to have excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to work collaboratively with various stakeholders.

Principals, however, need to have a deep understanding of education and a passion for working with students. They must be able to lead and motivate their staff, have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and have a commitment to ongoing professional development.

Principals also need to have the ability to make decisions that are in the best interest of their students, as well as the ability to manage budgets and resources effectively.


In summary, while school administrators and principals play important roles in the education system, their job duties and required skills differ significantly.

RelatedPrincipal Cover Letter Examples & Writing Guide

School Administrator vs. Principal Salary

Education and job experience greatly impact the amount of money one earns, especially when it comes to school administrators and principals. While both are important positions within a school, they come with different levels of responsibilities; therefore, the financial compensation can vary significantly.

School administrators are typically responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a school. This includes overseeing the staff, budgeting, and ensuring that the school is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. School administrators may also be responsible for developing policies, managing resources, and ensuring the safety of the students. On average, school administrators earn an annual salary of around $65,000.

Principals serve as the head of a school and are responsible for the overall management of the school. They typically oversee the curriculum, develop the school’s budget, and provide guidance and support to the staff. Principals also serve as liaisons between the school district and the community. The average salary for a principal is around $91,000.

It is important to note that the amount of money one earns as a school administrator or principal can vary greatly depending on the school district and the individual’s experience and qualifications. Those with more experience and advanced degrees can typically expect to earn higher salaries.


Overall, school administrators and principals both play an important role in a school, and the salaries they earn reflect their level of responsibility. While school administrators typically earn an annual salary of around $65,000, principals can expect to earn around $91,000.

RelatedAssistant Principal Interview Questions & Answers

Rate this article

0 / 5 reviews 0

Your page rank:

Step into the world of, where our dedicated team of career experts, job interview trainers, and seasoned career coaches collaborates to empower individuals on their professional journeys. With decades of combined experience across diverse HR fields, our team is committed to fostering positive and impactful career development.

Turn interviews into offers

Every other Tuesday, get our Chief Coach’s best job-seeking and interviewing tips to land your dream job. 5-minute read.

🤝 We’ll never spam you or sell your data