Illinois Administration/Principal Certification


If you wish to serve in an administrative capacity in an Illinois school system, you must receive an Administrative Certificate. The General Administrative Endorsement is required if you plan to work as an assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent or associate superintendent. The Superintendent endorsement is required if you plan to work as a school superintendent.

Education Requirements

General Administrative Endorsement:

  • Hold at least a master’s degree with coursework in educational administration and supervision
  • Complete a state-approved program for the preparation of school administrators (or a comparable out-of-state or foreign program)

Learn more about the graduate school process. Contact schools offering educational administration degree programs in Illinois.

Superintendent Endorsement:

  • Hold at least a master’s degree
  • Complete a state-approved program for the preparation of school superintendents (or a comparable out-of-state or foreign program)
  • Complete 30 hours of graduate-level coursework beyond the master’s level in a program for superintendents, with 16 hours in professional education


For both the General Administrative Endorsement and the Superintendent Endorsement, it is expected that you will have already passed the ICTS Basic Skills Exam in reading comprehension, mathematics, and writing and grammar. You must also pass the applicable ICTS Content Exam for the endorsement you seek (i.e., Principal or Superintendent).

Experience Requirements

General Administrative Endorsement:

  • Have two years of full-time teaching experience while holding a valid Illinois teaching certificate in early childhood, elementary, secondary, special K-12 or special preschool-age 21 (or a comparable out-of-state certificate)

Superintendent Endorsement:

  • Have two years of full-time administrative/supervisory experience in schools while holding a valid Illinois administrative certificate (or a comparable out-of-state certificate)

Document and Application Requirements

You may apply online through the Educator Certification System (ECS) or use the Application for School Service Personnel or Administrative Certificate to apply for your Administrative Certificate in Illinois. Mail these supporting documents and the completed certification application to Illinois State Board of Education, Educator Certification Division, 100 North First Street, S-306, Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001:

Criminal History Background Check

While the Illinois Department of Education does not require a criminal history background check for administrative certification, you must undergo one after you are hired into an administrative position in an Illinois school system. However, if you answer “yes” to certain questions on the administrative certification application form, processing of your application may be delayed while these claims are examined. If you have been convicted of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, certain narcotics and sex offenses, or a Class X felony, you will not be able to obtain an administrative certificate. Additional information may be requested if you have student loan defaults, tax issues, child abuse or neglect history, or have failed to pay child support in the past.

Contact Information

For information on Illinois-approved administrator preparation programs, click here.

For more information on Illinois administrative certification, call the Certification Division at 217-557-6763.