How to Become a Principal in Georgia

Readers can learn all about the educational leadership programs Georgia principals are required to complete, as well as the three required exams that focus on leadership skills.

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Georgia has a two-tiered system for its school leaders, and principals are part of the second tier. Learn more about the average annual salary for these administrators, and discover the education and tests required to move from a Tier I certification to a Tier II.

Requirements for a Georgia Principal

Average Salary for Georgia Principals (2016)* $92,560 (Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School)
Required Degree Master's
Degree Field Educational Leadership
Testing Requirements Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Educational Leadership; GACE Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL); GACE Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step One: Finish an Educational Leadership Program

To become a Tier I leader, Georgia principals have to complete an educational leadership program. Courses in educational statistics, instructional leadership, and school finance management may all be part of this program. Additionally, there are residency experiences built into the program, which include learning opportunities in the field within the candidate's current school in which they are employed. Finally, Georgia requires all educators, including principals, to complete courses on identifying students with special needs.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Adult Education Administration
  • Community College Education
  • Educational and Curriculum Supervision
  • Educational Leadership
  • Higher Education Administration
  • K thru 8 Administration and Principalship
  • Secondary School Administration
  • Special Education Administration
  • Superintendency Education
  • Urban Education Leadership

Step Two: Pass All Exams

Georgia principals are required to pass the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Educational Leadership exam. This computer-based exam has 100 multiple-choice questions and four essay questions, and it can take three-and-a-half hours to finish. Focusing on building and communicating an educational vision, creating a school culture, procuring and allocating school resources, communicating with stakeholders, and behaving professionally, this exam tests the individual's ability to lead in a school setting. Examinees are required to earn a 250 score on this test.

The GACE Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL) includes three tasks and the required score (until the year 2020) is 42. After September 1, 2020, future principals are required to earn a score of 46. Examinees address a series of short-answer questions over the course of the test. Task one shows how well the examinees can solve issues regarding teaching practices that effect student learning, while task two focuses on the individuals' ability to launch new professional development opportunities for staff. Task three establishes the test-takers' skills when it comes to building teams of educators and meeting the needs of stakeholders.

Finally, future principals in Georgia are required to take the Georgia Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment. The entry portion is taken before entering an educational leadership program. Each module is centered around a principal's role in building an ethical culture, as well as considering the relationship between a principal and students, a principal and teachers, and a principal and the local community. After each module, there is a brief test that checks for understanding. At the end of the leadership program, there is also an exit exam to take. This exam combines information from all the previous modules.

Link for Future Georgia Principals

The following link provides a simple guide to the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) exams.

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