Most principals enter the field with a master’s degree in educational leadership or education administration. Their chosen degree program typically covers essentials such as management, setting goals, budget creation and parent communication.
To enter into a master’s of education program, you will generally need a bachelor’s in education, counseling or a similar field. Also, note that nearly all states require public school principals to become licensed as school administrators. The specific requirements vary by state, but most mandate a master’s degree.
While a master’s degree in educational leadership doesn’t automatically grant you the license you need, such programs do set the foundation necessary for licensure. They can also help you develop the knowledge needed to pass required tests.
Private school principals may not need a state license, but a master’s degree still helps them prepare for the role. It can also put them at the same educational level as others who may be competing for the position. If you’re interested in private school, a master’s degree in educational leadership can still be beneficial for that reason and for the education it provides.
Along with a master’s degree and professional license, the BLS found principals have an average of five or more years of work experience in a related occupation such as teaching, school counseling, curriculum development and more. The DOE’s research found this number to be slightly higher: public school principals averaged 7.2 years of experience while those at private schools averaged 10.8.
Earning a master’s in educational leadership online
As many principal hopefuls have full-time education jobs, the idea of leaving work to enter a full-time degree can be a challenge for some. At best, it presents scheduling issues, but it’s also likely that the lack of professional presence and experience can be detrimental to your future career. Luckily, Arizona State University offers a two-year online Master of Education in Educational Leadership (Principalship) program. Provided by the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, this program can prepare students to attain principal certification in Arizona and other states (interested individuals should refer to their state’s licensing requirements to ensure the ASU Online program is right for them).
Specifically, the ASU Online MEd in Educational Leadership (Principalship) program includes courses on topics such as:
- School finances
- Connecting with schools, families and communities
- Leadership in curriculum and assessment
- Educational administration performance
As a leader, you’ll play an integral part in steering a school or school district toward its ultimate goal: student success. A degree in educational leadership from ASU Online can be your next step on the path to this rewarding career. With this program, you can learn the skills needed to build effective, supportive relationships between parents, teachers, students and other administrators. Given that the number of school leaders with a master’s degree has increased, making the field more competitive, enrolling in the ASU program can give you a much-needed advantage.
If you’re interested, learn more about the MEd in Educational Leadership (Principalship) program from ASU Online.
Trends in Public and Private School Principal Demographics and Qualifications - 1987-88 to 2011-12 by the National Center for Education Statistics
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals: Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
High School Teachers: Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Middle School Teachers: Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
ASU Online – Master’s in Education Leadership Principalship (MEd)