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Top 11 High School Principal Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available to high school principals, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a high school principal in the job market because they demonstrate that the individual has gone through rigorous training and has acquired the necessary skills to be successful in this role. Certification programs provide an opportunity for individuals to gain specialized knowledge and experience in educational administration, as well as providing evidence of their commitment to professional development. This demonstrates to potential employers that the individual is qualified for the position and has taken initiative to gain additional qualifications. Additionally, certifications can give a competitive advantage when it comes to job applications, showing that the individual is a dedicated professional with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to successfully lead a high school.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for High School Principals and explain how they can contribute to a high school principal's career.

What are High School Principal Certifications?

High school principal certification is a type of professional certification that enables educators to become qualified school principals. This certification is designed to equip potential administrators with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in the role of principal. It also provides the opportunity for them to demonstrate their commitment and dedication to the educational field. The certification can be obtained through a variety of programs such as master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, or specialized certification programs specific to school leadership.

Having high school principal certification can help educators demonstrate their commitment to their career path and show potential employers that they have taken the time and effort required to gain this important credential. This can result in increased opportunities for advancement within their current roles or for new positions at other schools. Additionally, having this certification may open up opportunities for higher salaries as well as better benefits packages due to increased job security. Finally, having this credential may also provide access to valuable resources such as research-based best practices, professional development courses, and networking opportunities with other certified principals in the same field.

Pro Tip: When enrolling in a high school principal certification program, be sure to check the program's accreditation status. Accreditation is an important indicator of the quality and rigor of the program and its ability to prepare you for your career as a high school principal.

Related: What does a High School Principal do?

Top 11 High School Principal Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to High School Principals today.

1. School Administrator Certification

School Administrator Certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in the field of school administration. It is typically awarded by state education boards or other organizations. It is often a requirement for those who wish to become school administrators, such as principals or superintendents.

The length of time it takes to get School Administrator Certification varies from state to state, but generally it takes two years to complete the program. The process usually involves completing coursework in areas such as educational leadership, school law, curriculum development, budgeting and finance, and personnel management. In some states, candidates may also need to pass an examination or demonstrate their experience in the field before they can be certified.

To get School Administrator Certification, individuals must meet certain requirements set by their state's education board or organization. These requirements may include having a bachelor's degree in education or a related field; completing coursework in educational leadership; passing an exam; and demonstrating experience in school administration. Additionally, some states may require applicants to have a master's degree in educational administration or another related field.

The cost of getting School Administrator Certification varies depending on the state and the program chosen. Generally speaking, the cost includes tuition fees for courses taken as part of the certification program as well as any applicable exam fees.

2. School Leadership Certification

School Leadership Certification is a professional credential that allows an individual to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of school leadership. It is designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in educational administration or school leadership. The certification requires completion of a set of courses and/or assessments that focus on topics such as educational policy and law, curriculum development, school finance, personnel management, and instructional leadership.

The length of time it takes to complete the certification depends on the individual’s specific program requirements and their own pace of study. Generally speaking, most programs can be completed within one to two years.

In order to get certified, individuals must first meet the eligibility requirements for their chosen program. This typically includes having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least a 3.0 GPA; some programs may also require additional coursework or experience in education-related fields. Once these requirements have been met, individuals can then apply for admission into their chosen program and begin taking courses or assessments to complete the certification process.

The cost of School Leadership Certification varies depending on the individual’s program requirements and their choice of institution. Generally speaking, tuition fees range from $3,000 to $30,000 depending on the length of the program and other factors such as location and type of institution.

3. Educational Leadership Certification

Educational Leadership Certification is a credential that recognizes the specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities of educational leaders. It is designed to ensure that those in leadership roles in education have the necessary qualifications and experience to lead effectively.

The certification process typically takes between two to three years to complete, depending on the individual's background and experience. To become certified, individuals must meet certain requirements such as completing coursework related to educational leadership, passing an examination, and demonstrating successful performance in a professional setting. The cost of obtaining certification varies depending on the institution offering it but typically ranges from $500-$2,000.

4. School Safety and Security Certification

School Safety and Security Certification is a program designed to help school administrators, teachers, and other staff members create a safe and secure learning environment for students. It involves the implementation of safety protocols, such as emergency plans, security systems, and training for staff. The certification process typically takes about two weeks to complete and involves an onsite assessment by a team of experts.

The first step in the process is to develop a comprehensive school safety plan that outlines the steps necessary to ensure student safety. This plan should include details about how to respond to various emergencies, such as fires or active shooters, as well as strategies for preventing incidents from occurring in the first place. Once this plan is approved by the school’s administration, it must be implemented throughout the entire campus.

Next, the school must install appropriate security measures such as cameras, access control systems, and alarm systems. These measures should be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual campus. The final step in this process is providing staff with adequate training on how to use these security measures effectively.

The cost of obtaining School Safety and Security Certification varies depending on the size of the school and its specific needs. Generally speaking, however, most schools can expect to pay between $2,000-$5,000 for certification services.

5. Crisis Management Certification

Crisis Management Certification is a certification program that provides individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to develop and implement effective crisis management plans. It is designed for those who are responsible for managing and responding to crises, such as emergency managers, public safety officers, corporate security personnel, government officials, and other professionals in the field of crisis management.

The certification program typically consists of online courses or workshops that focus on topics such as risk assessment and mitigation, communication strategies, incident response protocols, team building and leadership development. The duration of the program can vary depending on the provider but typically takes between six months to a year to complete.

To get Crisis Management Certification, you must first meet certain prerequisites such as having a relevant degree or experience in the field of crisis management. You must then apply for the certification by completing an application form and submitting it along with supporting documents such as transcripts or work experience letters. Once your application has been approved, you will be required to take an exam which tests your knowledge of crisis management principles.

The cost of obtaining Crisis Management Certification varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $500-$2,000 USD.

6. Special Education Administration Certification

Special Education Administration Certification is a certification program designed to provide educators with the necessary knowledge and skills to lead special education programs. This certification is offered by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

The program typically takes two years to complete and includes coursework in areas such as educational law, leadership, human resources management, curriculum development, and budgeting. To obtain this certification, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in special education or a related field from an accredited college or university. Additionally, applicants must pass the CEC Special Education Administrator Certification Examination.

The cost of obtaining this certification varies depending on the institution offering the program. Generally speaking, tuition costs range from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the length of the program and other fees associated with it.

7. Instructional Leadership Certification

Instructional Leadership Certification is a professional development program designed to equip educators with the skills and knowledge necessary to become effective instructional leaders. The certification is offered through the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and focuses on topics such as curriculum design, assessment, technology integration, and leadership.

The certification process typically takes between six months and one year depending on the individual’s experience level. Those interested in obtaining the certification must first complete an online application form which includes a brief essay about their educational background and goals. Once accepted into the program, participants must complete five core courses which cover topics such as instructional design, technology integration, assessment strategies, and leadership theory. Additionally, participants must also complete two elective courses which can be chosen from a variety of options including classroom management, digital citizenship, or data-driven decision making.

The cost of Instructional Leadership Certification varies depending on the number of courses taken and whether they are taken online or in person. Generally speaking, each course costs around $500 USD per credit hour plus any additional fees associated with materials or registration. In total, completing all seven courses could cost up to $3500 USD or more depending on the individual’s circumstances.

Overall, Instructional Leadership Certification provides educators with an opportunity to gain valuable skills that can help them become more effective instructional leaders in their schools and districts. The program is relatively affordable when compared to other professional development programs and can be completed within a reasonable amount of time if individuals are committed to putting in the effort required for success.

8. Student Services Administration Certification

Student Services Administration Certification is a professional certification program for those who work in student services or related fields. It is designed to help individuals become more effective and knowledgeable in their field. The certification is offered by the National Association of Student Services Administrators (NASSA).

The certification process takes approximately two years to complete, depending on the individual's experience and level of commitment. To become certified, an individual must complete a series of courses, exams, and practical experiences. These include courses in student services administration, student development theory, student affairs management, and other related topics. After completing these requirements, individuals must pass an examination administered by NASSA to receive their certification.

To get started with the certification process, interested individuals should contact NASSA to learn more about the requirements and fees associated with obtaining the certification. The cost of the program varies depending on which courses are taken and how many credits are earned; however, it typically costs between $500-$1,000 USD for all required materials and exams.

Once certified, individuals can pursue career opportunities in higher education institutions as well as other organizations that provide services to students such as counseling centers or student health centers. Certified professionals may also be eligible for higher salaries than those without the credential.

9. Curriculum and Instructional Design Certification

Curriculum and Instructional Design Certification is a professional certification that can be obtained by completing a course of study in curriculum and instructional design. This certification is designed to demonstrate an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities related to designing effective curricula and instruction for K-12 classrooms.

The certification process typically takes about six months to complete, depending on the program chosen. To get certified, individuals must first complete an approved course of study in curriculum and instructional design. This can include online courses or traditional classroom instruction. After completing the coursework, individuals must pass a comprehensive exam to receive their certification.

The cost of obtaining Curriculum and Instructional Design Certification varies depending on the program chosen. Online courses are typically more affordable than traditional classroom instruction, with some programs costing as little as $500 or less. Traditional classroom instruction can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more depending on the institution offering the program.

In addition to completing an approved course of study, individuals seeking Curriculum and Instructional Design Certification may need to have prior teaching experience or other related qualifications in order to be eligible for certification.

10. Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Facilitation Certification

Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Facilitation Certification is a professional development program that provides educators with the skills and knowledge needed to facilitate successful PLCs. The certification is designed to help teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals lead effective PLCs in their schools and districts.

The certification consists of an online course that takes approximately 8 hours to complete. During the course, participants learn about the essential components of a PLC, how to facilitate collaborative conversations, and how to use data-driven decision-making techniques. Participants also receive guidance on developing an action plan for implementing a successful PLC in their school or district.

To get certified, participants must successfully complete the online course and pass an assessment at the end of the program. The cost of the certification varies depending on where you take it; however, most programs range from $150-$400 USD.

11. Technology Integration in Education Certification

Technology Integration in Education Certification is a professional certification program that provides educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively integrate technology into their teaching. The goal of the certification is to help teachers use technology to create engaging, meaningful learning experiences for their students.

The Technology Integration in Education Certification program typically takes one year to complete and consists of three courses: Introduction to Technology Integration in Education, Teaching with Technology, and Advanced Technology Integration in Education. Each course focuses on different aspects of incorporating technology into the classroom, such as using digital tools for assessment and instruction, creating online learning environments, and designing effective technology-based projects.

To get certified, you must first complete an application form and pay a fee. After your application is approved, you will be required to take all three courses within one year. Upon completion of the courses, you will receive a certificate from the American Council on Education (ACE).

The cost of the Technology Integration in Education Certification program varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD.

Do You Really Need a High School Principal Certificate?

The answer to this question really depends on the individual. If someone is looking to become a high school principal, then it is likely that they will need a high school principal certificate in order to be eligible for the job. Many states require that principals have a specific type of certification in order to be employed as a school administrator. This certification helps demonstrate that an individual has the necessary qualifications and skills to lead a large educational institution.

For those who are just starting out in their career, a high school principal certificate may not be necessary right away. However, for those who are already working in education and are looking to move up the ladder, obtaining such a certificate can be beneficial in order to show potential employers that they possess the knowledge and experience needed for the job. It can also help them stand out from other applicants when applying for positions as it shows a commitment to learning and professional development.

In conclusion, whether or not someone needs a high school principal certificate really depends on their individual goals and aspirations. For those who are serious about becoming an administrator at a high school, obtaining this certification can be an important step towards achieving their dream job.

Related: High School Principal Resume Examples

FAQs About High School Principal Certifications

1. What qualifications are required to become a high school principal?

Answer: To become a high school principal, individuals must typically hold a master's degree in educational leadership or administration from an accredited college or university. In addition, many states require that aspiring principals have several years of teaching experience and complete an administrative credential program.

2. How long does it take to get certified as a high school principal?

Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified as a high school principal varies depending on the state, but generally speaking it can take anywhere from 1-3 years to complete all of the necessary coursework, exams, and other requirements for certification.

3. What is the cost associated with becoming a certified high school principal?

Answer: The cost associated with becoming a certified high school principal will vary depending on the state and type of institution offering the certification program. Generally speaking, tuition costs can range from $2,000-$15,000 depending on if one is taking online classes or attending in person. Other expenses may include fees for tests and certifications as well as any books or materials needed for courses.

4. Are there any special requirements for certification in certain states?

Answer: Yes, some states may have additional requirements beyond those mentioned above such as criminal background checks or minimum GPA scores in order to receive certification as a high school principal. It is important to check with your state's Department of Education for specific requirements in your area before beginning the certification process.

5. Is there continuing education required after becoming certified as a high school principal?

Answer: Yes, most states require that principals continue their education by taking professional development courses every year in order to maintain their certification status and stay up-to-date with current educational trends and best practices.