Online Certification Programs for Aspiring Principals

Principals hire and evaluate staff, help their schools meet educational standards and work within a budget. Learn about becoming licensed or certified as a school principal. Get info about online graduate programs that can prepare you for this career field, and review the typical curriculum. Read about the certification requirements, career outlook and salary potential for principals. Schools offering Principal Licensure degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Online Principal Certification Are Available?

Online certification for aspiring principals is typically available in the form of master's degree programs - such as a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership - or principal certification programs. Both programs are aimed at students who have valid teaching licensure and at least two years of full-time teaching experience, but the online principal certification programs are designed for those who have already earned master's degrees in education. Upon graduation, you will be qualified to take the state principal certification exam.

Degree TypesMaster of Science or Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Common CoursesStaff development, educational change, assessments and instruction, theory and practice of educational leadership, school law
Program RequirementsCourse material can be completed over the Internet, though an internship is usually required which must be completed in person
Salary$89,540 (median salary for elementary, middle, and high school principals in 2014)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Your online master's degree program in educational leadership emphasizes the development of professional skills as well as an understanding of the legal, social, political and economic aspects of education. You may have to attend a brief on-campus residency, and most programs require you to complete an internship. Your curriculum will cover topics similar to the following:

  • Theory and practice of educational leadership
  • Assessments and instruction
  • Staff Development
  • Administrative leadership
  • Educational change
  • Special education program administration
  • School law
  • Technology leadership

The online certification program includes similar coursework to the master's program. You will often have to complete internship requirements that may include experience in both elementary and secondary school settings.

How Do Online Courses Work?

Online master's and certificate programs typically consist of courses that can be accessed at any time, and all assignments, quizzes and tests are submitted over the Internet. Interaction with instructors and fellow students is typically through online chat rooms, threaded discussions and bulletin boards. It is possible to complete all the coursework in your program entirely online; however, your internship requirements are typically completed at a school in your community or the school where you are currently working.

What is the Career Outlook?

Licensing requirements for principals vary by state, but nearly all states require you to have a master's degree or other training at the graduate level. Some states require you to pass a certification test, and nearly all states have a continuing education requirement to maintain licensure. Your online program will generally meet the requirements for principal licensure in the state where the college or university is based.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for education administrators, including principals, are expected to increase by six percent from 2014-2024 primarily due to retirements and a declining number of teachers who are moving into administrative positions (www.bls.gov). As of May 2014, the average annual salary for elementary, middle, and secondary principals was $89,540.

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

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Grand Canyon University

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

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »