Prepare for Education Licensure to Be an Administrator in Your State

Departments of Education ensure that administrators who work in their state possess the skills and experience necessary to educate students and serve as leaders in their school communities. As such, those who work in public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. are required to be licensed by their state,1 and each state has their own specific set of education licensure requirements.2 At the core of each license are mandatory requirements in education and employment experience.


The Path to Educational Leadership and Administration

School administrators often begin their careers as degreed and licensed educators, teaching a specific subject or grade. Once they’ve obtained classroom experience, they can decide to expand their role in education to provide educational leadership to an entire school or district.

If you are a teacher who would like to become a licensed school administrator, your first step is to choose an accredited, certified, graduate program, typically one specifically geared toward educational leadership and administration.3

When your graduate degree is complete, and you’ve met all of your state’s licensure requirements, you can apply to your state for certification and licensure as a school administrator.4 Oftentimes, you must pass an exam such as the School Leaders Licensure Assessment exam, or another test chosen by your state’s education department.5


Education Administration Careers

A majority of professionals on this path come to earn titles such as principal, assistant principal, dean, department chair, education consultant and central office administrator. They work in public, private and charter elementary and secondary schools, as well as higher education institutions.


Learn More About Education Licensure in Your State

If you’re interested in pursuing a graduate degree in educational leadership and administration, it is important to select a graduate program that prepares you for your state’s individual education licensure requirements. Accredited graduate programs like the online Master's in Educational Leadership and Administration at the George Washington University are often designed to meet licensure requirements in the state they operate in, and occasionally in neighboring states.

To learn more about educational licensure in your state, click on the name of your state below:


GW's Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is nationally recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). The program’s courses and internship experiences are designed to meet administrative certification requirements for the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and other interstate-compact-agreement partner states.

To learn more, request more information now or call (844) 386-7323 to speak with an admissions advisor.



[1] “About certification.” National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. http://www.boardcertifiedteachers.org/about-certification (accessed March 21, 2017).

[2] “Certification requirements by state.” U.S. Department of Education. https://www2.ed.gov/teachers/jobs/reqs/edpicks.jhtml (accessed March 21, 2017).

[3] “Steps for obtaining certification.” TEACH.org. https://www.teach.org/becoming-teacher/teaching-certification (accessed March 21, 2017).

[4] “How to become a school administrator.” Teacher.org. http://www.teacher.org/career/school-administrator/ (accessed March 21, 2017).

[5] “Educational leadership: Administration and supervision exam.” Educational Testing Service. https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/5411 (accessed March 21, 2017).