Want to be an educational administrator in Michigan? The state requires you to have a valid School Administrator Certificate. This applies to the superintendent, principal, assistant principal and chief business official roles.

What Is Required to Be an Educational Administrator in Michigan?

For a building-level administrator to earn the standard School Administrator Certification, the candidate must have an approved master’s degree or higher in educational leadership or administration from a regionally accredited college or university as listed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s database. Building-level administrators of elementary or secondary institutions are eligible for certification. Once earned, the certificate is good for five years.

The requirements are different for the central office administrator. For this role, candidates need a master’s degree or higher and 21 semester credit hours of post-master’s courses from a regionally accredited college or university. In addition, the program must have advanced studies in K-12 school administration.

Those hired under the experience-based provision in Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) are exempt from both requirements. According to the Michigan Department of Education, administrators authorized and employed under the experience-based provision in Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 380.1246(1)(a) will be required to hold the new Experience-Based School Administrator Certificate or obtain the School Administrator Permit as of September 1, 2018.

The School Administrator Certificate has unlimited renewals, with each renewal lasting five years. Renewing the certificate requires the education professional to complete 150 hours of education-related professional learning. This keeps the administrator current on education topics to help oversee improvements at his or her educational institution.

Where to Begin Working Toward the School Administrator Certificate?

Education professionals who want to move into administrative positions will want to start looking for a master’s degree program in education from a regionally accredited college or university. One option is Eastern Michigan University’s 100 percent online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program.

EMU’s program aligns with Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards and puts students on the road toward earning Michigan’s building-level principal license. To complete the degree program, students take 12 courses worth 35 credit hours. It takes 18 to 36 months to earn the Master of Arts degree, depending on the number of courses taken per session. The calendar year contains six sessions and each course lasts 7.5 weeks with the exception of the 15-week capstone course.

Students who want to move into central office administrator roles can earn the Post-Master’s Certificate in K-12 Basic School Administration Certificate from Eastern Michigan University. They can do this either during the MA in Educational Leadership program or after graduating. It satisfies the requirement of earning 21 credit hours of post-master’s degree level courses. This program is approved by the Michigan Department of Education.

EMU has designed this program for aspiring and current educational leaders looking to advance their careers in educational administration.

To qualify for the online certificate program, students need at least a 3.3 GPA from an accredited university, a resume, a personal statement, and two professional or academic recommendations.

Students can complete the program in 12 to 24 months. An academic adviser works with students individually to help them through the program while making sure they are on the path toward earning their School Administrator Certificate.

Learn more about EMU’s online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program.


CHEA Database of Institutions Accredited by Recognized U.S. Accrediting Organizations

Michigan Department of Education: School Administrator Certificate Renewal

Michigan Department of Education: School Administrator Certificates

Michigan Department of Education: Michigan Online Educator Certification System