Principal Pay in North Carolina

Note: This blog post features a brief from page 30 of our 2018 Facts & Figures publication, contextualizing North Carolina education data with a short description of an historical feature or a critical issue in North Carolina. Read more at


In recent years, principal pay in North Carolina ranked last in the Southeast and near the bottom nationally. In 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly transformed the state salary schedule for principals with an investment of $24M, or an average raise of approximately nine percent.

The previous statewide schedule was based on each principals’ years of experience, level of education, and the number of teachers in the school they led. Annual state-funded pay ranged from $52,656 to $111,984, with an average of $64,416 in 2017. The updated schedule is based on the size of the school and the principal’s growth status (derived from students’ performance on standardized End-of-Course and End-of-Grade exams).



Principals are also eligible for two stackable bonuses based on their school-level growth scores and school performance grades:


Source: North Carolina General Assembly – 2017 Appropriations Act