California Administration/Principal Certification


The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing offers the Administrative Services Credential to prospective administrators and principals.


Education Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, you must already possess a prerequisite teaching credential, as per one of the following:
  • A valid California teaching credential (meaning that you completed at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a teacher preparation program)
  • A valid California Designated Subjects Teaching Credential, along with at least a bachelor’s degree
  • A valid California Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Teacher Librarian Services Credential, Speech-Language Pathology Services Credential, Clinical or Rehabilitative Services Credential, or a School Nurse Services Credential (Clear or Professional Clear level only), along with at least a bachelor’s degree and completion of a program of professional preparation

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

Additionally, you must complete a Commission-approved administrator preparation program. You may be exempt from this requirement if you fulfill certain experience and/or examination requirements (see below).

The Preliminary Administrative Services Credential is valid for five years and must then be converted to a Clear Administrative Services Credential. Educational requirements for the Clear Credential include completing one of the following:
  • An individualized program of advanced preparation in cooperation with your employer and the program sponsor
  • A State Board of Education-approved Administrator Training Program
  • A Commission-approved alternative preparation program, or equivalent examination or experience (see below)



To be eligible for the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, you may take The California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination (CPACE), in lieu of the Commission approved administrator preparation program or the one-year administrative internship. If you have not already done so, you must also satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement by passing one of the approved exams.

To receive the Clear Administrative Services Credential, you may opt to take a Commission-approved performance assessment or meet the Mastery of Fieldwork Performance Standards and pass an assessment in lieu of the educational preparation program.


Experience Requirements

If you are pursuing the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, you may complete a one-year, Commission-approved supervised internship in administrative services in lieu of the educational program. You must also have three years of full-time experience in teaching, pupil personnel work, health services, librarianship, or clinical or rehabilitative services (substitute or part-time experience does not count).

Before receiving the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, you must be able to verify employment in an administrative position. If you have not yet been hired, you may apply for a Certificate of Eligibility, which may be converted to a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential once you secure an administrative position.

When you seek the Clear Administrative Services Credential, you must verify completion of two years of full-time administrative experience while holding the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential.

document application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

To apply for the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, complete the Application for Credential Authorizing Public School Service (Form 41-4). Send the completed application, required fees and the following documents to State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; Certification, Assignment and Waivers Division; Attention: Applications; 1900 Capitol Avenue; Sacramento, CA 95811-4213:
  • Official, unopened transcript documenting completion of a Commission-approved administrator’s educational preparation program, or other approved educational program
  • Copies of score reports of examinations passed
  • Verification of Employment form (completed and signed by your employer)
  • Copy of completed Request for LiveScan Service (see below)
  • Signed Oath and Affidavit (located on application)

The Clear Administrative Services Credential must be applied for and renewed online only.


Criminal History Background Check

As part of your application for the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, you must complete a criminal history background check, which includes fingerprinting, and apply for a Certificate of Clearance. To begin the process, print three copies of the Request for LiveScan Service. Submit these copies to the LiveScan operator who takes your fingerprints (locations may be found here). If you complete the credentialing application online, you will be given instructions on how to verify the fingerprinting process has begun. If you submit the application via postal mail, you must attach a copy of the Request for LiveScan Service to verify that your fingerprints were taken.

The fingerprint and character identification process will take one to three days to complete. When you have met the requirements for the Certificate of Clearance, you will receive an email from the Commission notifying you of this.


Contact Information

For more information about Commission-approved administrator preparation programs, contact the colleges and universities offering them.

For more information about Administrative Services Credentialing, contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at (888) 921-2682 or visit their website.

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