Online School Administrator Certification and Certificate Programs

Learn about online certificate programs in school administration. Get info about typical courses one would take in this program and how a certificate can apply to various career options.

Essential Information

Many schools offer graduate certificate programs in school administration as hybrid programs that combine online education with on-campus visits. A few programs offer all courses online; however, nearly all programs, both online and hybrid, call for students to complete an internship. Some fully online programs can be found in educational leadership.

Courses involve training in the duties of a school administrator. Students learn about technology, organizational management and legal issues. Admission requirements vary, with some schools requiring that students have a bachelor's degree, while others want students with master's degrees, although they don't have to be in education.

Earning a certificate in school administration may not meet the qualifications for licensing, or certification, as a public school principal or administrator. States may require that someone in these positions have a master's degree in education administration or leadership. Students should check with their state's licensing agency before pursuing this certificate if certification as an administrator is their goal.

Graduate Certificate in School Administration

Students in online graduate certificate programs in school administration explore new strategies for teaching elementary, middle and high school students, as well as ways to implement those strategies. They also learn methods of monitoring finances and managing teachers.

Program Information and Requirements

Although there are a few schools that offer graduate certificate programs in school administration completely online, many of these programs are hybrid in nature, requiring that students visit campus from time to time.

Students must have reliable Internet access. Most schools utilize Blackboard or another educational server, allowing students to access courses, watch lectures, complete lessons and interact with others students online. Students typically must have a media player and Adobe Flash, as well as word processing software.

Course Topics

Online certificate programs in school administration can include anywhere from 12-30 credits of coursework. Some schools require that students complete each course on a specified time frame, while others allow them to work at their own pace.

School Organization and Administration

Students in this course explore the responsibilities of school administrators. They learn to evaluate instructional methods and make improvements to course materials and the ways they're presented. This course also covers strategies for using finances and facilities in the best ways possible.

Technology for School Leaders

This course introduces future administrators to available technologies that can help elementary, middle and high school students learn better. Students also examine ways in which technology is changing.

School Law

Students learn about their legal responsibilities to children who attend their schools, teachers who work at those schools and parents of the students. They examine laws regarding school policies, including those dealing with drug use, corporal punishment and discrimination.

Professional Development and Supervision

This course is concerned with personnel management. Students develop leadership skills while learning about strategies to improve teacher performance.

Career Information

Completing an online graduate certificate program in school administration can prepare students for careers as assistant principals, principals or administrators of specific subject areas, such as English, art or special education. They also might lead curriculum and instruction, athletics, career counseling or school psychology programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, demand for elementary, middle, and high school principals was expected to grow by six percent between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, education administrators on the elementary and secondary levels made a median salary of $90,410.

Continuing Education Information

Those who want to work as principals typically must earn licensure, the requirements of which vary by state. Some states also have certification or licensure requirements for other positions in education administration.

Administrators who want to further their education might choose to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in educational leadership or school administration. Additionally, school administrators often are required to complete continuing education courses as part of certification or licensure requirements.

Online certificate programs in school administration include in-person internships and courses in subjects like instructional methods, financial management and legal regulations. Graduates must attain licensure and complete continuing education classes to work in the field.

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