How Do I Earn a Principal Certification?

If you are interested in becoming a public school principal, you might like to find out more about the educational and licensing requirements. This article also includes information on how to pursue a principal certification. Continue reading for further details. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

About Principal Certification

Certification is not always required in order to become a principal. However, if you are interested in earning a principal certification, you might earn one in conjunction with some graduate-degree programs. Most states require that you be a licensed teacher with several years of experience, particularly at a public school, in order to be eligible for such a credential. Requirements are often less strict at private schools, therefore, you may not have to obtain a state license to obtain employment as a private school principal.

State Licensing Requirements

You need to apply to the department of education in the state in which you work to obtain principal certification. State licensing parameters vary, but many call for at least graduate-level training and most require you to complete a master's degree in higher education administration or a related field. In some states, you must pass a licensing examination, participate in mentored on-the-job training and earn continuing education credits in order to get and maintain your license.

Education

Most principals begin their educational careers as licensed teachers. In order to make the jump from teacher to administrator, you will likely need to earn a minimum of a master's degree in educational administration or educational leadership, though some principals hold doctoral degrees in these disciplines. You may be expected to complete a state-approved principal certification program to ensure that you meet your state's certification requirements.

Depending on the program, you might need a master's before earning principal certification or you may be able to complete master's and certification programs concurrently. If you already have a master's degree, you can complete a post-master's principal certification program. Your master's-level coursework might cover topics in resource allocation, assessment, mentoring and research. Specific principal certification courses may cover school finance, community relations and technology integration.

Experience

The experience requirement for principal certification may be dictated by the state in which you work. In some states, you'll be required to have as many as five years of teaching experience before applying to a principal certification program. In other instances, you may only need teacher licensure or certification before applying.

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