The job of a school principal is complex, involving constant multitasking and managing numerous responsibilities and school functions. Yet, even with the surprises and responsibilities inherent to the role, many experienced teachers want nothing more than to become educational leaders.

If this sounds like you, becoming a principal is the next logical step. As a building-level administrator, you can make a difference in the lives of your students, your teachers and your entire community. Plus, if you are a busy working educator, the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Educational Leadership program from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) can provide you with the flexibility you need to satisfy educational requirements and advance to the principalship in Michigan.

Requirements for Becoming a Building Principal

To qualify under the “traditional” path for a building-level School Administrator Certificate in Michigan, you must earn a master’s degree (or higher) at a regionally accredited college or university and complete a school administrator preparation program approved by the Michigan Department of Education. EMU’s online M.A. in Educational Leadership qualifies graduates for the building-level principal license in Michigan. The advanced degree program consists of 32 credit hours of studies including in-depth courses such as:

  • Educational Leadership in a Pluralistic Society
  • Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues of Administration
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Leadership for School Improvement
  • Principles of Educational Research

You will also take an additional three credit hours of coursework which you will choose with the graduate advisor, making the complete program 35 credit hours. This program will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the nuances of modern educational leadership.

If you already have a master’s degree, another path to becoming an administrator would be to complete EMU’s online Post-Master’s Certificate in K-12 Basic School Administration program. This 23 credit hour program also enables you to pursue a school principal role in Michigan.

Requirements for Continuing as a Building Principal

The School Administrator Certificate must be renewed every five years to continue leading at the building level. The renewal process involves taking coursework at the college level or participating in education-related professional learning, totaling 150 hours, including either Michigan State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) or annual District Provided Professional Development (DPPD).

Further, if you hold a valid, out-of-state K-12 administration certificate, you may use it one time to renew your School Administrator Certificate.

Professional Satisfaction

The role of building principal is not for everyone. The hours can be long, the responsibilities are heavy, and district politics can be time-consuming and challenging. But the joy of working with the school community, solving problems and watching children grow and succeed is more than enough to keep principals coming back day after day. If a rewarding career in school leadership interests you, consider gaining the knowledge and qualifications you need through earning an online M.A. in Educational Leadership.

Learn more about EMU’s online M.A. in Educational Leadership program.