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How to become a School Principal?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered August 30 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
School Principals start by getting a degree in teaching, working in the classroom for a few years, and then become Principals. They usually have Master's degrees and administrator licenses.

The first step to becoming a School Principal is to follow the steps of becoming a Teacher.  Once you are a licensed Teacher, you should work in the classroom for a few years. Different states have different requirements for the minimum amount of time Principals need to spend working as Teachers, so if becoming a Principal is your goal, it is a good idea to research these requirements for your state. 

Once you have worked in the classroom for a few years, you can apply to Master's programs in education leadership or administration. These programs will cover topics like curriculum design, school law, and school finance. These programs may also require that you write a thesis or complete a final project.

Finally, you will probably need to obtain a license in school administration from your state. Most states also require a background check, and some require an additional exam. Private school Principals do not need a license. 

Important Things to Know Before Becoming a School Principal
  • Politics play a role in your work
From state requirements to school board elections, politics' role in education cannot be understated. You will sometimes have your hands tied by policy, and you will have to accept that there will be some things that you won't have power over. 
  • You are held to the highest standard
Teachers are held to very high standards, Principals even more so. You need to demonstrate the very model of professionalism and integrity. Even when you're not in the school, you are still its representative, even on weekends and in public. As far as parents and the larger community are concerned, you are the face of your school. 
  • You do not get summers off
Teachers get to relax and enjoy their summers. Principals? Not so much. There is still work to be done in administration, scheduling, budgeting, meetings, etc. You do get to enjoy a quiet and peaceful work environment for the summer, though!