Principal Education Requirements

This article details about the various educational and career requirements including the key skills necessary to become a qualified principal.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 4th September 2020

A student requires various people to play an important role in building their future. A principal is prominent in engaging students in educating them well. Principal also acts as an administrative head who manages the roles of running the institution and performing other functional roles. They also intervene between the issues which cannot be solved by the teacher.

The average job growth of this occupation is about 4 percent over the period of 2014 to 2024. The larger the education institution, the more students, staff and faculty are managed by the principal to run the day-to-day activities. 

Becoming a principal requires various requirements and education levels to earn. There are also certain steps and a distinctive career path you follow to attain professionalism and succeed in this career. This article describes the various qualifications to meet to become a principal. 

What do you need to become a principal?

A principal is a highly knowledgeable professional who attains a high academia and skills to land on this job. With years of experience in teaching and earning a higher degree, the principal needs a minimum education requirement. A master’s degree in education is the minimum required degree to gain the necessary skills such as leadership or administrative skills. Most institutions also require an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree, a Doctor of Education (EdD), or a PhD in Education.


Bachelor's Degree in Education

To start your career to become a principal, you must first begin your career as a teacher. Becoming a teacher requires you to earn a bachelor’s degree in education or a relevant subject of your choice you want to teach. Also it is better to complete an internship program while pursuing the bachelor's degree to meet the expectations of gaining experience. 

It is a four year program which offers coursework in Child development, Early language, Literacy, Classroom management, Assessment, Teaching methods, Curriculum planning and Techniques for teaching. 


Graduate Degree in Education

To advance your career, to specialise in the profession and to gain the position of a principal, a master’s degree is essential. Within two years, you complete coursework such as Improvement of instruction, Assessment of instruction, instruction supervision, Educational funding,  curriculum development, administrative leadership, school law, and school finance.

These courses help you induce education leadership or educational administration skills necessary to perform roles and responsibilities as a principal. 

Another requirement for graduates is to complete an internship or capstone projects to earn the master’s degree successfully. 


Teaching Certificate

In order to work at reputed and public schools, you must earn a license to start as a teacher. To become certified, you require several requirements to be fulfilled according to the state expectations. Gaining a bachelor’s degree and completing a supervised internship in classroom teaching is necessary. These enhance your presentation skills, leadership and managerial skills.


Teaching Experience

After completing your undergraduate degree, you are required to gain experience which induces skills for the position. Additionally, this improves your efficiency in the workplace and to handle daily activities in the running of school.  

You could attend internship programs, workshops, part-time jobs or other opportunities to interact with students and staff to prepare yourself to handle all types of students and teachers.


Specialist License

As stated by the various state regulations, you are required to obtain a school administrator license to become a school principal. The eligibility criteria includes earning a graduate degree, have several hours of work experience and also clear the licensure exams. To be up-to-date there are exams held at intervals which evaluate your thinking, teaching and administrative skills.


Skills Required

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Clarity of thoughts

  • Organized 

  • Decision-Making skills

  • Presentation skills

  • Leaderships skills

  • Managerial skills