If you want to become a school principal, you likely already know that you have to complete one of the many principal training programs that universities offer these days. However, many people who want to become school principals are not aware of the other qualifications required to obtain this prestigious and rewarding position. Aspiring school principals must first get a teaching license, work as an educator for several years, complete a graduate degree, and work as an assistant principal. Even after becoming a school principal, you can still continue to advance in your career as an educator. Read on to learn more about how to become a school principal.
Get a Teaching License
The first step for any aspiring principal is to get a teaching license. This requires a bachelor’s degree (commonly in education, though this is not required). You will also need to get hands-on teaching experience before obtaining your teaching license. If you already know that you would like to become a school principal one day, it is important that you get excellent grades as an undergraduate. This is because you will need to meet the stringent admission requirements of a graduate education program in a few years’ time.
Work as a Teacher for Several Years
Once you obtain your teaching license, you need to work as a teacher for several years. The vast majority of graduate education programs, especially those intended to prepare educators to work as principals, require several years of experience in the field. During your time as a teacher, you should learn as much as possible from the administration of your school. It may be a good idea to serve on several committees that interact directly with the administration.
It is important that you cultivate a positive relationship with your school’s administrators during this period. This will enable you to learn as much as possible from them. Also, you will need them to write recommendations for you when you apply for admission to a graduate education program.
Complete a Master’s Degree in Education
Once you have at least three years of experience as a teacher, you can consider applying for a graduate education program. There are many graduate education programs out there with a variety of focuses. It is important to apply for a graduate education program that focuses specifically on preparing future principals.
Many graduate education programs can be completed online. This makes it easier for educators to continue their careers while furthering their educations in their spare time. Also, this allows educators to train to become principals even if their local university does not offer this program.
Graduate education programs generally take two to three years to complete. It is possible to complete some graduate education programs in as little as 18 months. However, this would require taking a heavy course load. This may not be an option for an educator who is already working full-time.
Work as an Assistant Principal
After completing a graduate education program, you will still need to work as an assistant principal before being qualified to be a school principal. Most school principal positions require applicants to have at least five years of experience in administration for consideration. After working as an assistant principal for several years, you can begin searching for school principal positions.
Find a School Principal Position
When you have the required education and experience, you still have to find a suitable school principal position. These positions are hard to find, as each school has only one principal. Also, principal positions generally offer excellent benefits and a high level of job security. This means that the few principal positions that do exist rarely open up. However, with enough persistence, you will eventually obtain the school principal position of your dreams.