Montana Administration/Principal Certification


Montana’s Office of Public Instruction offers Class 3 Administrator licenses to qualified individuals who wish to serve as principals, superintendents and subject-area supervisors in Montana schools.

Education Requirements

You must have one of the following degrees:

  • Master’s degree in school administration from an accredited college/university, plus graduate from the appropriate state-approved, accredited administrative-level preparation program
  • Master’s degree from any accredited professional educator preparation program AND 24 graduate credit hours from a school administrator preparation program, with coursework in the following areas:
    • School Leadership
    • Supervision
    • School and Community Relations
    • Montana School Law
    • Educational Leadership and Curriculum at the appropriate level (elementary or secondary)

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

You must also receive a recommendation for endorsement from your educator preparation program official.

You must have an education specialist or doctoral degree in education leadership from an accredited college/university’s educator preparation program. You must also have at least 18 graduate semester credit hours in school administration, with at least 12 credits beyond the master’s degree level, with coursework in the following areas:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Facilities Planning and Policy
  • Personnel and Labor Relations
  • Community and Board Relations
  • Policy Development
  • Montana School Law (at least three semester credits)
  • Montana School Finance (at least three semester credits)

You must also receive a recommendation for endorsement from your educator preparation program official.


No examinations are required to obtain administrative licensure in Montana.

Experience Requirements

For licensure at the Principal level (K-8, 5-12 or K-12), you must have at least three years of teaching experience at an accredited K-12 school.

For licensure at the Superintendent level, you must meet the requirements for a Principal endorsement, have three years of teaching experience, and have at least one year of administrative experience as a Principal.

Document and Application Requirements

Once you have completed all the requirements for administrative licensure in Montana, complete the Application for a Montana Class 1, 2, or 3 Educator License. Sign the application in front of a notary public. Along with the completed application, see to it that the following items have been included and actions have been taken:

  • Have official transcripts forwarded to the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) from every college and university you attended
  • Ask your college to complete the Institutional Recommendation Form and send it to OPI
  • Enclose the proper application fees
  • Complete the fingerprint/background check (see below)

The above mentioned should be sent to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Attn: Educator Licensure, P.O. Box 202501, Helena, MT 59620-2501.

Criminal History Background Check

If you are applying for an initial Class 3 Montana license, you must complete the fingerprint/background check process, conducted by the Montana Department of Justice. Visit your local law enforcement agency and request that they fingerprint you. Complete the fingerprint card they provide and send the completed card, along with a check for $29.25 payable to the Montana Department of Justice, to Montana DOJ, P.O. Box 201403, Helena, MT 59620-1403.

If you do not receive a response from OPI, your background check/fingerprints have cleared. If there is a problem, OPI will contact you with information on how to procede.

Contact Information

For more information on approved administrator preparation programs in Montana, contact the institutions offering these programs.

For more information on administrative licensure in Montana, contact OPI at 406-444-3150.