Arkansas Administration/Principal Certification
The Arkansas Department of Education grants four administrator licenses:
- Building Level Administrator – for a principal, assistant principal or vice principal in grades P-8 and/or 5-12)
- Building Level Administrator/Arkansas Correctional Schools – for a principal, assistant principal or vice principal in the Arkansas Correctional Schools (grades 5-12)
- Curriculum/Program Administrator – for a school leader responsible for program development and administration in a specific area
- District Level Administrator – for a superintendent, assistant superintendent, or deputy superintendent (grades P-12)
All candidates for the Administrator’s license must hold a current Arkansas Standard Teaching License.
To obtain an Initial Building Level Administrator License:
- Complete a graduate degree program in Educational Leadership from a NCATE- accredited Arkansas college or university and hold one of the following degrees:
- Master’s degree in Educational Leadership
- Master’s degree in Education
- Master’s degree in a content/endorsement area
Learn more about the graduate school process. Contact schools offering educational administration degree programs in Arkansas.
To obtain a Standard/Advanced District Level Administrator License (as there is no Initial License for this category):
- Complete a graduate degree or an advanced educational program that reflects the standards of District Level Administrator Licensure from a NCATE-accredited Arkansas college or university
Approved administrator license/educational leadership preparation programs for both classes of administrative licenses may be found here.
If you are pursuing an Initial Building Level Administrator License, you do not need to pass any examination to obtain it, beyond the Praxis I, II and III you will already have passed to obtain your teacher’s license. At the end of your induction period (one to three years after receiving the initial license), you will take the state-mandated assessment for administrators, the Praxis School Leaders Licensure Assessment. This will help you to obtain your Standard Building Level Administrator License.
If you are seeking a Standard/Advanced District Level Administrator License, you will already have passed the Praxis School Leaders Licensure Assessment when you obtained your Standard Building Level Administrator License. Now, you must pass the state-mandated assessment for District Level Administrators, the Praxis School Superintendent Assessment.
Building Level Administrator:
If you are pursuing an Initial Building Level Administrator License, you must have four years of teaching experience in the classroom, as a school counselor or as a school librarian. You must also have completed an internship in your Educational Leadership program, verifiable by the licensure officer at your college or university.
To convert your Initial Building Level Administrator License to a Standard Building Level Administrator License, you must have been employed as a Building Level Administrator in an Arkansas public school for at least 50 percent of the day for at least one year. This induction phase will last no more than three years, and will include mentorship, training and completing a state-mandated assessment. When your mentor feels that you have met the Standards for Beginning School Administrators, he or she will recommend you for a Standard Building Level Administrator License.
District Level Administrator:
If you wish to obtain a Standard/Advance District Level Administrator License, you must also have met the experience requirements for Building Level Administrator (that is, have four years of teaching experience in a classroom, as a school counselor or as a school librarian). Additionally, you must hold a valid Building Level Administrator license and have at least one year of experience as a Building Level Administrator.
Criminal History Background Check
You must have current statewide and national criminal background checks, conducted by the Arkansas State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on file. You must also have a current Child Maltreatment Central Registry check, conducted by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, on file prior to administrator licensure. Complete the Authorization for Release of Confidential Information Contained Within the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry and mail it to Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry, P.O. Box 1437, Slot S 566, Little Rock, AR 72203. The Central Registry will complete the form and return it to the Arkansas Department of Education.
Forms for fingerprinting and criminal background checks may be obtained from your college or university, or from the Arkansas Department of Education’s Professional Licensure Department. They can also direct you to the proper location to complete the mandatory fingerprinting process. You must complete the forms and return them to the Identification Bureau of the Arkansas State Police, #1 State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock, AR 72209; (501) 618-8500. All fees associated with the criminal background check are paid by the Department of Education.
If you need more information about colleges and universities in Arkansas that offer educational leadership programs, contact the Professional Education Unit Leaders and Licensure Officers at Arkansas colleges and universities.
For more information about administrative licensure in Arkansas, call the Professional Licensure Department of the Arkansas Department of Education at (501) 682-4342.