Maryland Administration/Principal Certification


Learn how to become an Administrator or Principal in Maryland. There are two main avenues to certification: 1.) Through a state-approved program or 2.) Through reciprocity agreements (see Maryland Teacher Reciprocity).

Maryland confers two administration certificates for Supervisors of Instruction, Assistant Principals and Principals: Administrator I and Administrator II.

Education Requirements

In order to become certified as an Administrator I, which entitles you to be a Supervisor of Instruction or Assistant Principal in Maryland, you must:

  • Earn a Master’s Degree from an approved institute of higher education (IHE)
  • Complete one of the following:
    • A Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)-approved program for certification of supervisory personnel that includes the outcomes in the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework
    • A MSDE-approved program for certification of supervisory personnel
    • 18 semester hours of graduate work, post-bachelor’s level, from an approved IHE that includes courses in the following areas:
      • Assessment, instruction and curriculum
      • Evaluating, observing, and development of staff
      • Ethical decision-making and legal issues
      • School administration, management and leadership
      • Practicum internship/supervised experience

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

Administrator II requirements (which certify you to become a Principal in Maryland) include fulfilling the above educational requirements for Administrator I plus additional assessments, which are outlined below.


There are no examinations necessary to become certified as an Administrator I beyond the basic skills and content exams (Praxis I and II) required for teacher certification. If you wish to receive Administrator II certification, you must pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment examination with a minimum score of 165.

Experience Requirements

Certification as an Administrator I requires 27 months of teaching experience, as well as a practicum internship/supervised experience if you choose the graduate work education option listed above.

If you are already certified as a principal in another state and have 27 months of principal experience during the past seven years, you may also be granted a Maryland Administrator II certificate.

Criminal History Background Check

Once hired by a Maryland school system, all prospective Maryland administrators must submit to a criminal history background check. Complete an Application for Criminal History Records Check from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which provides a Livescan Pre-registration Application online. This document is also available through the school system through which you are pursuing employment. This will involve signing a complete Disclosure Statement in which you must disclose any criminal history.

As part of the background check, you will be required to submit to fingerprinting through one of these approved Maryland fingerprinting locations and pay the fees associated with fingerprinting services. Your application will be processed through the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and results will be forwarded to MDSE.

Contact Information

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Certification Branch can answer questions about administrative certification by contacting the Assessment and Recruitment Coordinator at 410-767-0416 or by visiting their website.