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Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “There are no good schools without good principals. It just doesn’t happen. And where you have great principals, good teachers come, and they stay, they work hard, and they grow.”

Principals are the academic and organizational force of a school, making sure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone has what they need to thrive. As a conduit of information, they must maintain good communication with faculty, staff, parents and the board of education. They are responsible for ensuring that the everyday workings of the school function well and that students and staff enjoy a secure environment. They have the critical task of having a comprehensive vision for the school’s future.

Principals oversee budget issues and finances as well as staff and curriculum development. They counsel and discipline students, and maintain parent and community relations. They also work in collaboration with local and state leaders to manage resources and agendas. Though the role of principal is demanding, it will allow you to have a positive impact on a school’s potential for success.

To pursue positions of school building leadership, it is critical to determine the state licensing or certification requirements before choosing a post-secondary program.

Educational Requirements

In the state of Mississippi, you must meet the following educational requirements to qualify for a position as building principal:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and an educator license/certificate from your state
  • Complete an approved graduate degree program in educational administration or leadership from a state-approved or regionally accredited college or university
  • Obtain an institutional recommendation from that program, verifying your successful completion of the leadership preparation program

Examination, Experience and Certification Requirements

While license or certification requirements vary from state to state, all states require some form of certification for administrators, and many require educational or leadership experience.

To become a principal in the state of Mississippi, you need a Five-Year Standard Educator’s License and three years of education experience.

Licensing for public school principals requires that you pass the Praxis II School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA), which is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The Mississippi Department of Education issues Entry-Level and Standard Career Level Administrator Licenses to qualified applicants. Both of these licenses are at the Class AA, AAA, and AAAA levels. According to Mississippi State Regulations, however, private schools do not require individuals to have a state-issued license to become principals.

The online Master of Education in Educational Leadership at Mississippi College is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for over fifty years, which is the longest accreditation in the state. The program is designed to prepare you to integrate technology, student assessment, state and national standards, and research to drive decision-making as you work with students, teachers and staff as a school leader.

The M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at Mississippi College consists of 36 credit hours. Coursework includes interpersonal skills, instructional leadership, organization, information management, school law and the political aspects of leadership. Incorporated into the program are 360 hours of focused internship and 150 hours of clinical experience for a total of 510 practicum hours. Graduates of the program are eligible for a K-12 administrator endorsement and an upgrade to an AA license once their passing scores from the SLLA have been submitted.

Coursework at Mississippi College will empower you with the knowledge you will need to perform administrative duties, and the internships in school settings will give you the skills necessary to meet the dynamic challenges of leadership.

Learn more about Mississippi College’s online Master of Education in Educational Leadership program.


BAM! Radio: Teacher Leadership: When Your Hands Feel Tied

Mississippi Department of Education: Five Year Administrative License Approved Program Route How to Become a School Principal: Step-by-Step Guide Mississippi Administration/Principal Certification

U.S. Department of Education: Mississippi State Regulations

ETS: Preparation Materials

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