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Strayer University

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Capella University

Master
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Southern New Hampshire University

Master
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Purdue University Global

Master
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Grand Canyon University

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Regent University

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What Education Is Needed to Become an Elementary School Principal?

A graduate-level degree is required in most cases to become an elementary school principal. Popular degree choices include a Master of Education in Administration or a Master of Educational Leadership. Read the following article to learn more about the education needed to become an elementary school principal.

Required Education

Most states require elementary school principals to have a graduate degree in order to obtain a principal license. Other licensing requirements might include obtaining teacher certification, completing a minimum number of years of experience, and passing a licensing exam. Graduate degree programs, such as a Master of Education in Administration or a Master of Educational Leadership, provide the business and leadership skills needed to work in an administrative capacity.

Important Facts About Elementary School Principals

Median Salary (2018)$95,310 (for elementary and secondary school principals)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% (for elementary, middle, and high school principals)*
Work Environment Public and private schools
Similar Occupations Teacher, school counselor, instructional coordinator, childcare center director

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master of Education in Administration

One option for elementary school principals is a Master of Education in Administration program. These programs usually require between 30 and 40 semester hours of coursework and cover the basic skills needed to pass a principal licensing exam and function as a school administrator. Coursework might include current issues in education, educational philosophies, school law, professional development, and designing curricula for elementary schools.

Master of Educational Leadership

Master of Educational Leadership programs are becoming increasingly available. These programs are similar to administration programs. However, they often focus on reform techniques and school policies in order to produce innovative ideas for elementary schools. Programs generally require 30 to 40 semester hours to complete. Research and technology as they relate to education are covered, along with school law, leadership skills, and curriculum development.

Principal Certificate

Some schools offer principal certificate programs. These programs are often designed for students who pursue a graduate degree in another area but wish to apply for a principal license. Some principal certificate programs are offered alongside Master of Education programs. Students are prepared to take the licensing exam in the state where the program is taught. School law, leadership skills, business administration, and elementary school curriculum are covered.