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What degree do I need to be a principal?

Elementary, middle and high school principals have full plates: Not only are these leaders responsible for guiding an entire school full of students, they also serve as professional mentors for teachers and other specialists dedicated to educating students. Principals are also called upon to manage day-to-day operations at their schools, and set institution-wide goals and objectives as well as guide faculty and staff toward achievement. It's a big job, and it takes training and experience to measure up to the expectations set upon a principal.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most principals are required to have a master's degree in education administration or leadership. They often have experience as a classroom teacher, meaning many principals hold bachelor's degrees in education, too. This combined background generally prepares principals to oversee daily operations at their school. Master's degree programs in education administration or leadership take this training ever further, and allow future principals to pick up the skills needed to guide teachers and other staff members, set both immediate and long-term goals, and serve as a liaison with parents and the public. The BLS also indicates that most states require school principals to obtain a license in school administration. Requirements can vary from state to state, but a master's degree is usually the minimum requirement. Continuing education can be an important factor in maintaining licensure. Principals are obviously dedicated to education; as students, instructions and leaders.


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