South Dakota Administration/Principal Certification

south dakota

The South Dakota Department of Education issues Administrative Certificates to applicants who meet qualifications for the following areas: PK-12 Principal, P-8 Elementary Principal, 7-12 Secondary Principal, and P-12 Career School Superintendent. Endorsements in these areas are also possible if you meet qualifications.


Education Requirements

  • You must have an education specialist or doctoral degree and complete a state-approved program for career school superintendent preparation (currently only at one school); OR
  • You must have a master’s degree and 15 graduate semester hours of courses in state-approved school superintendent preparation programs.

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



For both Principal and Superintendent Certifications, you must pass the Praxis II Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision exam.


Experience Requirements

  • You must have three years of school experience specific to the grade level in which you wish to become a principal (i.e., PK-12, P-8 or 7-12) with at least one of those years consisting of classroom teaching experience
  • You must also complete an internship within your principal preparation program, with time spent in at least two of the following levels: elementary school, middle school or secondary school
  • You must have three years of school experience within grades PK-12 with at least one of those years consisting of classroom teaching experience
  • You must also participate in an internship in your school superintendent preparation program, including all job responsibilities of a school superintendent
other information

Documents and Application Requirements

You must apply online for administrator certification in South Dakota after meeting the above requirements. Application fees must be paid online, and the following documents must be sent directly to the South Dakota Department of Education:

Send all of the above documents to South Dakota Department of Education, Certification, 800 Governors Dr., Pierre, SD 57501. You will be emailed a printable administrative certificate once your application has been processed.


Criminal History Background Check

As an applicant for administrative certification in South Dakota, you need not undergo a criminal history background check as part of the certification process. However, the school district that hires you will run your fingerprints through a state and federal background check. You will be given more information on this process when you are hired.


Contact Information

Contact the college/universities, listed here, for information on principal and superintendent preparation programs in South Dakota.

Contact the South Dakota Department of Education Office of Teacher Quality at or 605-773-3134 for more information on administrator certification in the state.

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Terminology and Specifics

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