Principal or Program Administrator Certificate

Department of Educational Leadership and Sport Management

Program requirements


WSU Vancouver’s certification program requires successful completion of six courses plus a year-long administrative internship, for a total of 24 credits.

  • ED_AD 509 Leading School Improvement
  • ED_AD 516 Instructional and Curricular Leadership
  • ED_AD 583 Community and Communications
  • ED_AD 585 Financial Management in Education
  • ED_AD 588 The Law and Education
  • ED_AD 589 Leadership Development Seminar
  • ED_AD 590 Administrative Internship


In addition to the required coursework and internship, candidates must have three years of successful experience with a regular Teaching, Educational Staff Associate (ESA) or Career and Technical Educator (CTE) certificate.

Master’s degree

A master’s degree in any field is required before an administrator certificate will be issued. Those who do not already have a master’s degree can combine a Master of Education (Ed.M.) in Educational Leadership with their administrator certificate program at WSU. The combined certificate plus master’s program is 41 credits. In addition to the credits required for the certificate, the master’s degree requires an additional 17 credits comprised of five classes and a final comprehensive written exam (take-home).

Length of program

Certification only

Standard program: 3 years

For most students, the three-year program provides the necessary time to gain the knowledge, develop the skills, and cultivate the dispositions needed to successfully transition into an administrative leadership position.

Schedule: Year 1: Two courses in both fall and spring. Year 2: One course in both fall and spring. Year 3: Internship.

Accelerated program: 2 years

The accelerated program may be a good fit for students who already have substantial building and/or district leadership experience, and who may be already be serving in a Dean of Students or Associate Administrator role.

Schedule: Year 1: Two courses in both fall and spring. Year 2: One course in both fall and spring plus internship.

Extended Program: 3+ years

The extended program may be a good fit for students who, for various reasons, want additional time before entering the job market, who are balancing a complex mix of personal, professional, and educational responsibilities, or for whom an internship placement with their district is not immediately available.

Schedule: Course schedule is customized under the advisement of both the Academic and Program Coordinators; timing of the internship is determined in conjunction with the Internship Coordinator.

Certification plus Master of Education (Ed.M.)

The combined Master of Education / Administrator Credential is a three-year program with credential classes offered in the fall and spring semesters and courses required for the master’s degree offered in the summer, as well as during the school year.

Application and admissions

Applications for both the certification and certification plus Ed.M. programs are revised and available in January of each year. Please contact our Academic Coordinator, Jennifer Gallagher at or 360-546-9075 to request an application.

The certification program admits students just once a year in the fall (August). Applicants are advised to submit applications by June 1, but no later than July 1. Late applications will be accepted on a space available basis through August 1.

The combined certification plus Ed.M. program admits students in either summer (May) or fall. Applicants wishing to begin in May are advised to submit applications by March 1, but no later than April 1. Late applications will be accepted on a space available basis through April 15. Applicants wishing to begin in fall should follow the deadlines above.

NOTE: Degree and certification programs in Educational Leadership do not accept state of Washington tuition waivers. This includes the following graduate programs: Ed.M., M.A., Ed.D., and Ph.D., as well as these certification programs: principal, program administrator, and superintendent.