Wisconsin Administration/Principal Certification


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) offers administration certification for accomplished teachers who wish to move into positions of leadership at their schools.

Certification in administration shows that a candidate is able to sustain school culture, ensure proper school management, and has the knowledge to successfully collaborate with teachers, parents, and students on school-wide initiatives.


Education Requirements

Administration certification applicants must have completed a master's degree program in the area of administration before seeking certification.

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

Administrative programs typically focus on educational leadership, and school management skills, giving potential principals a foundation of what it's like to run a school.

Graduate administrative programs must lead to institutional endorsements from a certified official of the program, which signals successful completion and recommendation for certification.

For more information on programs leading to administrative degrees, click here.


Experience Requirements

A principal must be able to identify with teachers and students, and often, the best way to accomplish this is by being teachers themselves. That's why, before becoming administrators, potential principals must first hold Professional Educator Licenses to teach in the early childhood through adolescent levels.

Additionally, applicants must have accomplished at least three years of successful teaching at any grade level from early childhood to adolescence.

document application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

The DPI requires initial administration applicants to use the ELO System to complete the licensure application.

There are four major areas to complete on the application:

  • Applicant Information: Provide a phone number where you can be reached from 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time.
  • License Requested: Indicate the requested license and the date the license should begin
  • Experience: Send a work verification form to employers to prove you've gained the experience necessary to be a principal.
  • Graduate Education and Institutional endorsement: List graduate degrees and provide endorsement information.

In addition to the requested information, applicants must mail a $100 application fee with their complete application packet that covers the cost of license review and processing.

Candidates for certification must mail their application packets, including fee payments, to the certifying officer of their Wisconsin college or university for endorsement. The college will then forward the application to the DPI.


Criminal History Background Check

Before earning certification, candidates must also fill out a Conduct and Competency Review consisting of 12 yes or no questions about the candidate's past conduct. Questions include items such as “Are you currently on probation, prole, or other court-ordered supervision in any jurisdiction?”

Candidates must completely fill out the review and sign the form in the presence of a notary.

Answers are examined independently, so answering yes on one of the questions does not automatically disqualify a candidate for certification.


Contact Information

For more information on administrative licensing procedures, call the DPI at (800) 266-1027 or visit their office at:

DPI Educator Licensing
Drawer 794
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0794