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How to Become a Principal in Kansas

Educators who want to move into the role of principal or other educational leadership roles in Kansas schools will need to complete the process of earning a leadership license from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). The KSDE Teacher Licensure and Accreditation Team oversees the licensing process.

Becoming a principal at PreK-12 schools requires completing the steps outlined in the KSDE license requirements document. After completing the tasks, the educator will earn the initial school leadership license.

What You Need to Earn a School Leadership License in Kansas

The initial school leadership license is good for two years from the date of issue. To earn the professional school leadership license, educators are required to complete a one-year supervised internship in administrative leadership. This license is valid for five years after issuance.

How to Obtain an Initial School Leadership License

Earning the building leadership license to become a principal requires the following:

  • At least five years of accredited experience with a valid professional license or certificate.
  • A graduate degree from a regionally accredited college.
  • Completion of a graduate level state-approved program in school leadership.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher in graduate coursework.
  • At least eight credit hours or one year of accredited experience occurring within the last six years of application for the license.
  • A passing score on the school leadership exam given by Educational Testing Services.
  • Application for an initial school leadership license.

How to Obtain and Renew a Professional School Leadership License

After receiving the initial school leadership license, follow these steps to obtain the professional school leadership license:

  1. Complete a performance assessment through a year-long approved mentoring program chosen by the local education agency doing the hiring.
  2. Apply for the professional school leadership license.

KSDE renewal of professional license requires earning 120 professional development points. These must come from a Kansas local professional development council under an approved individual development plan.

All license application and renewals require a $50 fee for background clearance and a fingerprint card in the following situations:

  • First application for Kansas license
  • Expired Kansas license or certificate
  • Previous application submitted without a fee or a fingerprint card

It takes six to eight weeks to process the application. Applicants can do a Kansas Educator License Lookup to verify the status of the license.

How to Find Approved Educator Programs

To search for approved schools, check out the KSDE approved educator preparation programs and institutions. The site lists programs by endorsement and institution. It also indicates whether schools have an approved online program.

If you look up an institution like Emporia State University, you will see that its educational administration program has KSDE approval for its Building Leadership and online programs. The ESU program can help educators ensure they meet the requirements for licensing.

KSDE requires educators to contact the licensure officer for a plan of study and entry requirements before starting a graduate-level school leadership program. Educators must also meet the experience requirements prior to starting the school leadership program. If you have questions, contact the institution with a KSDE-approved program or the Kansas licensure officer.

Learn more about Emporia State University’s online Master of Science in Educational Administration program.


Kansas State Department of Education: Approved Educator Preparation Programs and Institutions

Kansas State Department of Education: Educator License Look-up

Kansas State Department of Education: Renewal of Professional License Requirements

Kansas State Department of Education:  School Leadership License Requirements

ETS Praxis: Kansas Test Requirements

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