Online Elementary School Principal Certification
Get the facts about the requirements to become an elementary school principal. Find out about degree and course options as well as state licensure and certification.
How Can I Become Certified as an Elementary School Principal?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require principals to be licensed or certified (www.bls.gov). In order to become certified as a school principal, you typically need a graduate degree in education, educational leadership, education administration, elementary education or a related field. Many of these graduate programs include a principal certification option. If you already have your degree, principal licensure certificate programs are also available.
Once you've completed a degree or certificate program, you can then apply for a school administrator license from your state department or board of education. Licensing exams and requirements vary by state, so it's important to check and see exactly what you requirements you need to meet.
|Licensure Requirements||Graduate degree or certificate in related field, passing exam, additional requirements vary by state|
|Prerequisites||Bachelor's degree in education or teaching, teacher's license, teaching experience|
|Common Courses||Curriculum development, educational finance and budgeting, management assessment, supervision and evaluation of personnel, school law|
|Median Salary (2018)||$95,310 (for elementary, middle, and high school principals)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||8% growth (for all elementary, middle, and high school principals)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Are There Any Other Prerequisites?
To enroll in a school administration graduate program you typically need an undergraduate degree in education or teaching, a teacher's license and several years of teaching experience. Some programs require your teaching experience to be in public schools while others make no distinction.
What Courses Will I Take?
Most school administrator or leadership programs are a blend of traditional coursework, workshops and field experience. You may also be expected to complete a field experience requirement through an internship. Courses cover a variety of leadership, management and educational topics, including:
- Curriculum development
- Education administration and organization
- Educational finance and budgeting
- Management assessment
- Database management
- Supervision and evaluation of personnel
- Planning and organization
- School law
Are Online Program Available?
Some schools offer online graduate programs for prospective school principals. These programs offer the majority of their coursework through distance learning; however, in some cases you may be expected to visit the campus once a semester or so to attend special workshops or seminars. Most of your coursework and communication is completed through e-mail, chat rooms and the school's website. Online programs may also use the cohort model. This means you are paired up with a fellow student and work together and support each other as you work through the program.