North Dakota Administration/Principal Certification


The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction issues administrator licenses in Educational Leadership for those who wish to pursue administration positions in North Dakota schools. Credentials are available at the Elementary and Secondary level (i.e., for Principals) and at the Superintendent level.

Education Requirements

Provisional Credential – Principal:

  • You must have completed at least 8 hours of graduate coursework in a master’s degree state-approved program in educational administration
  • You have two years to complete the educational administration program while working as a principal under a Provisional Credential

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

Level II Professional Credential – Principal:

  • You must have completed at least 20 hours of graduate coursework in a master’s degree state-approved program in educational administration, as follows:
    • Planning, organizational behavior and leadership in education
    • Organizational structure and educational law
    • Staff development, supervision and personnel.
    • Learning theory, curriculum and instruction
    • Educational finance and policy
    • Administration of the elementary/secondary school
    • Elementary /Secondary school curriculum

Level I Professional Credential – Principal- you must have one of the following degrees:

  • Master’s degree in educational administration with coursework specific to the grade level you seek the credential for (i.e., elementary or secondary)
  • Master’s degree with a major in which the Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) offers licensure/endorsement
  • Coursework for either degree must include all of the above areas in Level II plus:
    • Theory and practice of administration and leadership
    • Political and legal foundations of education
    • Research, analysis, statistics and writing
    • Educational foundations, curriculum, and instruction
    • Information systems for instruction and management

Provisional Superintendent Credential:

  • Issued if you already have a Principal Credential but lack the necessary coursework for the Professional Superintendent Credential
  • You must complete the educational requirements for Professional Superintendent Credential while working under a Provisional Superintendent Credential.

Professional Superintendent Credential:

  • You must have completed the educational requirements necessary for a Level I Professional Principal Credential
  • You must also have completed at least 8 additional hours of graduate coursework specific to superintendents, as follows:
    • Seminar in superintendency
    • Advanced school law
    • Advanced finance, revenue and business management
    • Facilities/facilities planning
    • Personnel administration
    • Politics, community relations and policy


No examinations are required for administrative licenses and credentials in North Dakota. However, since all positions require that you first have a teaching license, it is assumed that you have passed the Praxis I Basic Skills exam and the Praxis II exam for your area of licensure.

Experience Requirements

For all of these credentials, you must have at least three years of teaching or administrative experience (or a combination thereof) in North Dakota schools under an active North Dakota educator’s license.

Additionally, to receive the Professional Superintendent Credential, you must have two more years of administrative experience in North Dakota schools as an elementary or secondary principal, a central office administrator, or an administrator of an approved school with a 12-year program; along with field experience (internship) as a superintendent.

Document and Application Requirements

You must submit the Application for Administrator’s Credential, plus:

  • A Record of Education form sent directly from all colleges where you obtained degrees
  • Official transcripts from all colleges you attended
  • Letter of recommendation from a supervisor or employer with knowledge of your professional capabilities
  • Check, money order (payable to the Education Standards and Practices Board) or credit card form with the correct application fee

Mail all of the above documents to North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, Teacher and School Effectiveness, 600 East Boulevard Ave., Dept. 201 Bismarck, ND 58505-0440.

Criminal History Background Check

Because you already hold a North Dakota teaching license, you should already have undergone a criminal history background check and fingerprinting.

Contact Information

For more information on administrator licensure in North Dakota, contact the Department of Public Instruction at 701-328-2260.

For a list of National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)-approved educational leadership programs, click here .