Are Special Certifications Needed to Become a Principal?

Teachers looking to advance their careers or those interested in education administration might want to pursue certification to become a principal. Read on to learn about education requirements, job outlook and salary information for principals. Schools offering Principal Licensure degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Principals are in charge of a school's teachers, students and budgets, among other responsibilities. School principals commonly start out as certified practicing teachers and advance their training to become educational administrators. Principals are employed in both public and private schools. Public schools require principals to be licensed. Private school requirements can vary in terms of mandatory education, and a license may not be required.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Average Salary (2014) $91,780
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 6% job growth (slower than average)
Key Skills Skilled at: communicating, leading, critical thinking, making decisions, working with others, solving problems
Similar Occupations Postsecondary Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors, Instructional Coordinators, Librarians, Teachers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A master's degree in a subject such as educational administration or educational leadership is required before applying for a school administrator license in most states. To obtain a master's degree, applicants generally need a bachelor's degree in education or a related field, a teaching license and a minimum number of years of professional teaching experience. Typically, a master's program lasts two years. Programs are also available for working professionals who want to work toward a principal's license.

Coursework topics may include educational law, school finance and budgets, ethics and supervisory methods. Onsite fieldwork with an experienced administrator might also be required. Supervised fieldwork may be included and frequently involves working with grade levels ranging from elementary to high school. Doctoral and post-master's certificate programs are also available in this field.

Obtaining Licensure

Public school principals usually must be licensed. As a part of the process, most states mandate taking assessment tests. One commonly used exam is the Praxis Series' School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA). This 4-hour test is made up of multiple choice questions and free response questions. Additionally, a background check is required. The education, professional experience and assessment test requirements vary by state, including passing scores, so it's important to check with a state's Board of Education to know which tests to take and other requirements for licensure.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »