Michigan Administration/Principal Certification


The Michigan Department of Education will issue a School Administrator Certificate if you are a qualified applicant. Endorsements are available at the Elementary (Elementary School Principal or Assistant Principal), Secondary (Secondary School Principal or Assistant Principal) and Central Office (Superintendent) levels.


Education Requirements

Elementary or Secondary Endorsement:

Learn more about the graduate school process. Contact schools offering educational administration degree programs in Michigan.

Central Office Endorsement:
  • Possession of at least a master’s degree
  • Completion of at least 21 semester hours of post-graduate credit in advanced studies in K-12 school administration

Alternative Certification for School Administrators
You may qualify for an alternative certification program for school administrators if you meet the following requirements:
  • Possession of a bachelor’s degree and at least one of the following:
    • Three years of experience as a K-12 administrator
    • Three years of experience as a central office administrator
    • Three years of experience in management or leadership in other fields (if you are admitted under this option, you must complete a supervised internship)



If you are pursuing school administrator certification under the traditional route, no examinations are required (beyond the ones you may have already passed in order to earn your teaching certificate).

If you are under an alternative certification program and are admitted under the third option above (three years of experience in management or leadership in other fields), you must pass the following Praxis examinations: Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision and the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.

If you are pursuing Central Office Administrator certification under the alternative route, you must also pass the School Superintendent Assessment.


Experience Requirements

No experience is required if you are pursuing the traditional route to administrative certification. If you are in an alternative certification program, three years of experience is necessary as explained above.

document and application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

If you are applying for administrative certification, use the Michigan Online Education Certification System (MOECS). The application deadline for 2012 is April 23. Contact the Office of Professional Preparation Services at 517-373-6791 or 517-373-3310 for more information.


Criminal History Background Check

Under Michigan law, you may not work with children until you pass a criminal history background check conducted by the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You must go to one of these LiveScan fingerprinting locations after a school district has hired you to fill an administrative position. Here, your fingerprints will be taken electronically and you will be responsible for the fees. The results of your background check will be mailed to the Michigan Department of Education who will then notify the school district to which you have applied for employment as an administrator. Until that district receives clearance, you will not be allowed to work as a school administrator in Michigan.


Contact Information

For more information on approved central office/superintendent preparation programs in Michigan, see this link.

For more information on alternative administrator certification for Michigan school administrators, visit this link.

For information about Michigan administrative certification, contact Rajah Smart at the Michigan Department of Education at 517-335-6615 or email SmartR@mi.gov .

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Terminology and Specifics

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