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NJ Principal Certification Programs with Course Descriptions

There are more than 15 schools within New Jersey that have principal certification programs. Read an overview of the 10 largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Below are brief overviews of ten schools which have programs that meet New Jersey standards for school principal education. These programs are offered at the master's degree and post-master's certificate levels by 4-year colleges and universities. Programs tend to be flexible, meeting in the evenings or on the weekends, or being offered partially or fully online. Principal certification programs generally take two years to complete. Students usually have to complete an internship or practicum. In addition, students may need to complete a portfolio, research, a project or a paper.


Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus

Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck offers an on-campus master's degree program in educational leadership, but classes may be held in local schools or community colleges if student demand is sufficient. The two-year program requires 36 credits and includes courses in leadership, school law, supervision of instruction and curriculum development. Educators learn about running a school through a course in finance, scheduling and facilities. The second year of the program includes an internship, and a final project is required.

Kean University

At its main campus in Union and also at its site in Toms River, Kean University offers master's and post-master's programs that lead to principal certificates. The master's degree program requires 36 credits and includes an internship, along with courses in school law, leadership, computer applications and finance management. The post-master's certification program requires 18-30 credits, depending on what a student needs. Two field studies in school administration are part of the program, as are courses in school business planning and educational research. Some courses in the certification program are available in a blended format, combining online and classroom instruction.

Monmouth University

Monmouth University in West Long Branch offers a degree and post-master's program that can lead to principal's certification. The master's degree program with principal certification calls for 32 credit hours. In all the programs, students take courses in school law, human resource management and community relations, and also complete practicums in school leadership. Principal/administrator majors must complete a practicum in executive leadership, while post-master's students have a course in research-based decision making and program evaluation.

Montclair State University

Individuals interested in principal certification can pursue their goal through master's degree and post-master's certification programs at Montclair State University's campus in Montclair, at various sites throughout the state or through online courses. The master's program with a principal certification option consists of 36 semester hours. Students can complete the program through a flexible option that allows them to select their class schedule and method of delivery - face to face, online or hybrid. A fast-track program allows students to earn a degree with both principal and supervisor certifications in 14 months of hybrid and online classes in the evenings and weekends. Montclair also offers off-site courses in school districts throughout the state. The principal certification post-master's program requires 30 semester hours of courses. Both the degree and certification program include courses in supervision, curriculum development and leadership, in addition to internships.

Rowan University

Glassboro's Rowan University offers principal certification education through master's and graduate certificate programs. The courses are offered online, but some require field experiences. The master's in school administration program consists of 36 semester hours of study that end with two practicums in school administration. Individuals with at least five years of supervisory experience can complete the principal preparation certificate program with 21 semester hours; individuals with less experience will need to complete 24 semester hours. Two practicums are required. Both the degree and certificate programs call for courses in law and ethics, school leadership and school finance.

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Rutgers University in New Brunswick has a master's degree program that prepares graduates for principal certification. It also offers a master's program that covers requirements for both principal and supervisor certification. The principal certification program calls for 36 credits, including two internships in the student's home district. Courses include organizational decision-making, supervision of instruction, education law and finance for public schools.

Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University offers a master's degree and educational specialist program at its campus in South Orange, as well as executive degree and specialist programs consisting of online sessions and weekend classes at several locations. The 35-credit master's degree program is divided into five modules: foundations, leadership/management, curriculum and supervision, New Jersey school law and an internship. Courses address topics such as curriculum development, psychological issues and ethics. Students in the executive program complete courses such as directed research, instruction supervision and school finance.

The College of New Jersey

Students at The College of New Jersey in Ewing who have bachelor's degrees can prepare for principal certification through the 36-credit master's degree program for school leaders. They can study at their own pace in a traditional program or complete a 14-month immersion program that integrates classroom courses and clinical experiences. Students with graduate degrees can enroll in the seven-course post-master's certificate program. Both the degree and certificate programs include courses in school law, finance and leadership, as well as practicums.

Thomas Edison State College

Located in Trenton, this college offers an online master's degree program in educational leadership with two areas of study. The building leadership option requires 36 credits and qualifies graduates to earn principal and supervisor endorsements, while the district leadership option, a 42-credit program, prepares graduates for supervisor, principal and district administrator endorsements. Both areas require courses in fiscal planning, curriculum development and budgeting, as well as a practicum. The district leadership option also calls for a course in superintendency and a practicum for superintendents.

William Paterson University of New Jersey

William Paterson University of New Jersey in Wayne offers a master's degree program in educational leadership that prepares graduates for principal certification. The program requires 39 credits and takes two years to complete. Courses are offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays, one weekend per month. Students learn about the supervision of support staff, school management and curriculum design, in addition to completing 300 internship hours. They also put together a professional electronic portfolio and complete a research project and paper.

Career Requirements

New Jersey requires that school principals hold a principal endorsement issued by the state Department of Education. To receive a provisional endorsement, an individual must have a master's degree in the field of educational leadership, administration or a related area or have completed a post-master's program that meets state requirements. Candidates must also show proof of five years of experience, have logged 300 internship hours and passed a state-approved examination. Individuals with a provisional endorsement can gain a standard administrative certificate with a principal endorsement by completing at least two years of employment with periodic evaluations by a state-approved mentor.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Principal Certification Degree and Certificate Programs Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2015-16)
Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Master of Arts in Education Leadership $22,220*
Kean University Four-year, public; large suburb Master of Arts in Educational Administration,
Post-Master's Certification - Principal
$16,070 in-state,
$20,631 out-of-state*
Monmouth University Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Master of Science in Education - Principal/Supervisor/School Administrator,
Post-Master's Certification Endorsement - Principal
$23,734*
Montclair State University Four-year, public; large suburb Master of Arts in Educational Leadership,
Post-Master's Principal Certification
$11,590 in-state,
$17,005 out-of-state*
Rowan University Four- year, public; large suburb Master of Arts in School Administration,
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Principal Preparation
$15,532*
Rutgers University - New Brunswick Four-year, public; small city Master of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision $18,346 in-state,
$29,722 out-of-state*
Seton Hall University Four -year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Master of Arts in Education Leadership, Management and Policy - Principal/Supervisor Concentration,
Executive Master of Arts in Education Leadership, Management and Policy,
Education Specialist in Education Leadership, Management and Policy,
Executive Education Specialist in Education Leadership, Management and Policy
$21,066*
The College of New Jersey Four-year, public; large suburb Master of Education in Educational Leadership,
Master of Education in Educational Leadership - Traditional,
Master of Education in Educational Leadership - Immersion,
Post-Master's Certificate in Educational Leadership
$15,611 in-state,
$22,829 out-of-state*
Thomas Edison State College Four-year, public; small city Master of Arts in Educational Leadership - Building Leadership,
Master of Arts in Educational Leadership - District Leadership
$11,610*
William Paterson University of New Jersey Four year, public; large suburb Master of Education in Educational Leadership $13,477 in-state,
$20,897 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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