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Certification Requirements to Become an Education Administrator

Education administration certification is a required credential for public school administrators. Get some quick facts about the degree programs and experience necessary to qualify for education administration positions.

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Essential Information

Education administrators manage staff, maintain budgets and enforce state education policy in preschool, elementary and secondary schools as principals, superintendents, curriculum directors or human resources professionals. Graduate education and state certification is usually required for administrators in public school systems. Some jurisdictions call for administrators to take continuing education courses to maintain certification. Private preschool administrators can seek voluntary certification from a professional association. Education administrators also work in higher education, but certification is not required.

Education Requirements Most states require a master's degree, usually in education leadership or a related field
Experience RequirementsExperience as a licensed teacher and an internship as an administrator
Examination Requirements Most states require an examination
Projected Job Growth (2012-22)*6% for elementary, middle and high school principals
Median Salary (2013)* $88,380 for elementary and secondary school administrators

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Education Administrator Certification Requirements

Before obtaining employment as an education administrator in the public schools, individuals must complete a state-approved program and get licensed. Guidelines and prerequisites vary from state to state, but most state licensing agencies expect the candidate to have worked as a teacher, passed an examination and completed a supervised internship. Depending on locality, education administrators might have to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain their licensure. Education administrators of private and parochial schools do not need to meet state-mandated licensing requirements.

Although private preschools and day care facilities must have a state license in order to operate, administrators who are employed by the center operator are not required to be licensed. Directors of childcare facilities can consider voluntary certification from the National Child Care Association. The National Administrator Credential (NAC) demonstrates an individual's proficiency in operating a childcare center. The NAC has to be renewed through continuing education every two years.

Education Requirements

Most elementary and secondary education administrators began their careers as teachers. They usually teach for several years before transitioning into administration. Most states require educational administrators to possess a master's degree in education, educational leadership or educational administration. Other education backgrounds, such as the Master of Business Administration degree or Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, can be applicable to a career in education administration and might qualify a candidate for licensure. Educational administrators at the postsecondary level do not need to be licensed, but they may need a doctoral degree to achieve high-level positions.

Master's degree programs instruct students on theories and techniques related to education administration. They cover school budget management, statistics and education law. Individuals with education administration graduate degrees need to understand curriculum development, classroom supervision and the administration of standardized testing. Graduates with degrees in education administration have also taken courses on race, gender and disability issues in education.

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