PK-12 Principal Certification

PK-12 Principal Certification

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  • Application requirements: Online application, transcripts, essay, 2 recommendations, minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for undergraduate work and a minimum of 3.6 is required for graduate work
  • Deadline(s): July 15 for a fall start, December 15 for spring start and April 15 for a summer start. The application and all supporting materials are due by the listed deadlines.
  • Course Requirements: 13-15 courses (37 credits for certification only - additional 6 credits for M.Ed.)
  • Typical Course Load: Fall (1-2 courses), Spring (1-2 courses), Summer (1-2 courses) 
  • Time to Completion: 3-4 years
  • Practical Experience Component: Students complete an apprenticeship with a school principal in the field
  • Alumni Current Positions: Graduates work as assistant principals  and principals in PK-12 schools as well as Dean of Students.
  • Note: Due to Pennsylvania Department of Education criteria, international students are not eligible for this program.


Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, this program is designed for educators who are interested in assuming a position as a school principal. They learn how to lead schools to encourage innovation and excellence among staff while addressing the needs of students of diverse abilities and backgrounds. 

In order to be certified as a principal in Pennsylvania, candidates must complete this program with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. They also must: 

  • Have a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience, such as in classroom teaching or school counseling 
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident
  • Show satisfactory achievement on the Pennsylvania-required test 

Candidates for principal certification who already have a master’s degree are required to take 37 credits in areas such as school law and ethics, organizational leadership, school building management, addressing the needs of diverse learners and those with special needs, supervision and professional development and curriculum management. 

Most of the classes are in the late afternoon or evening for the convenience of working professionals. Over the summer, there are flexible course offerings. After finishing the coursework, students do an apprenticeship with a school principal in the field.  

Students who want to earn a master’s in Educational Leadership along with the Pennsylvania K-12 Principal Certification, must take two additional courses: Educ 471 Diversity and Multicultural Perspectives and Educ 403 Research. 

Lehigh’s noted faculty include leaders with years of experience as school administrators and teachers as well as professors who are at the forefront of research on best practices for school administrators.  

Those seeking to apply for admission to the K-12 Principal Certification program should complete the online application and submit official undergraduate and graduate transcripts. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for undergraduate work and a minimum of 3.6 is required for graduate work. 

Applicants should submit two letters of recommendation, either academic or professional and a written narrative answering questions about their background and why they are seeking principal certification.  

Students may begin in any semester with an July 15 deadline for a fall start, Dec. 1 for spring start and April 15 for a summer start.  

For more information on Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements, see this link.


Core Requirements - 12 credits
(A minimum of 9 core credits must be completed BEFORE proceeding on to courses in the Leadership & Management Skills area)
EDL 400 Organizational Leadership and Change Management (F, SP, SU) 3
EDL 424 Leadership: Self and Groups (F, SU) 3
EDL 421 Instructional Leadership (SP, SU) 3
EDL 420 Data Based Decision Making (SU) 3
Leadership & Management Skills - 15 credits
EDL 422 Curriculum Management for the School Executive (SU) 3
EDL 467 Supervision and Professional Development (SP) 3
EDL 476 School Resources Management (F) 3
EDL 479 School Law and Ethics (SP) 3
EDL 423 Leading Inclusive Learning Systems (F) 3
Apprenticeship - 10 Credits
(All Core Requirements & Leadership & Management Skills coursework must be completed before proceeding to this section)
EDL 404 The Principalship I (F) 3
EDL 405 The Principalship II (SP) 3
EDL 414 Principal Internship I (F) 2
EDL 415 Principal Internship II (SP) 2
Total Credits 37

Note: In order to attain the Master's degree and Pennsylvania K-12 Principal Certification, students need to also take the following courses in addition to the courses listed above:

  • Educ 471   Diversity and Multicultural Perspectives
  • Educ  403  Research

Click here to view the course catalog which provides descriptions of the courses.