Pennsylvania Administration/Principal Certification
The Pennsylvania Department of Education issues Administrative Certificates to aspiring Principals and Superintendents.
Principal: You must complete a state-approved graduate-level college/university program in school administration Principal K-12, and receive a recommendation for certification from that program’s certification officer.
Learn more about the graduate school process. Contact schools offering educational administration degree programs in Pennsylvania.
Superintendent: You must complete at least a two-year graduate-level state-approved program in educational administration and receive a recommendation for certification from that program’s certification officer.
To become a Principal or Superintendent, you must pass the Praxis II Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision exam. This will change in September 2012, when Principals must instead pass the School Leadership Licensure Assessment and Superintendents must instead pass the School Superintendent Assessment.
Principal: You must have at least five years of teaching/professionally certified service in Pennsylvania schools, verified by your chief school administrator.
Superintendent: You must have at least six years of teaching/professionally certified service in Pennsylvania schools, with at least three of those years serving in an administrative/supervisory capacity.
Documents and Application Requirements
You may apply online through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) for Administrative Certificates for Principal and Superintendent. You will be asked to submit any out-of- state official college transcripts (in-state transcripts will be submitted directly to the department by the institution), letters of verification from employers, and other documentation as required. Mail these directly to the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality, Pennsylvania Department of Education, 333 Market Street, 3rd Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333. You can check the status of your application online at any time by visiting TIMS.
Criminal History Background Check
As an applicant for a Principal or Superintendent position in a Pennsylvania school district, you are subjected to three checks: Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Records Check, Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse History Clearance, and Federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI).
You will be instructed on the procedure and given fingerprinting locations when you are hired by a school district. You will not be allowed to assume a position within a school district until all three checks come back cleared.
Contact schools offering graduate programs in Pennsylvania to learn more about their principal preparation programs and superintendent preparation programs.
For more information on the administrator certification process in Pennsylvania, call the Pennsylvania Department of Education Division of Certification Services at 717-787-3356.