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How to Become a High School Principal

How to Become a High School Principal

Become a Principal

Watson College of Education - Insights Article  
by Student Services  |  June 7, 2023

Becoming a high school principal is a prestigious and rewarding career path that allows individuals to lead and inspire educational communities. High school principals play a crucial role in shaping school culture, fostering academic excellence, and nurturing the growth and development of students and staff alike. If you aspire to become a high school principal, this article will guide you through the essential steps to embark on this fulfilling journey.

  1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: The first step towards becoming a high school principal is to earn a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. A solid foundation in education provides the necessary knowledge and understanding of instructional practices, curriculum development, and educational theory.
  2. Gain Teaching Experience: After completing a bachelor's degree, it is essential to gain practical experience in the field of education by becoming a licensed teacher. Teaching experience allows aspiring principals to understand the challenges and dynamics of the classroom, develop effective instructional strategies, and establish relationships with students and colleagues.
  3. Pursue a Master's Degree in Educational Administration: To qualify for a high school principal position, a master's degree in educational administration or a related field is typically required. This advanced degree equips individuals with the necessary skills in leadership, organizational management, curriculum planning, and school administration.
  4. Acquire Administrative Certification: In addition to a master's degree, obtaining administrative certification is a crucial step toward becoming a high school principal. This certification ensures that individuals have met the specific requirements and competencies needed to lead a school, including knowledge of school law, budgeting, personnel management, and community relations.
  5. Gain Experience in School Leadership: Building experience in school leadership positions is highly valuable when aiming to become a high school principal. Seek opportunities to serve as an assistant principal, department chair, or instructional leader to develop essential skills in decision-making, problem-solving, and team management.
  6. Network and Professional Development: Networking within the educational community is vital for aspiring principals. Attend conferences, workshops, and professional development events to stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in educational leadership. Building connections with other administrators, teachers, and education professionals can provide valuable insights and opportunities for growth.
  7. Apply for Principal Positions: Once you have completed the necessary education, gained relevant experience, and obtained administrative certification, it's time to start applying for high school principal positions. Keep an eye on job boards, district websites, and educational publications to find suitable opportunities. Tailor your application materials, including your resume and cover letter, to highlight your qualifications and passion for educational leadership.

Becoming a high school principal requires dedication, continuous learning, and a genuine passion for educational leadership. By following these steps, including obtaining the necessary education, gaining experience, and pursuing administrative certification, you can set yourself on a path toward a fulfilling and impactful career as a high school principal.

Explore CSUSB Watson College of Education Educational Administration Program

Are you ready to take the next step toward becoming a high school principal? Explore the educational administration programs the CSUSB James R. Watson & Judy Rodriguez Watson College of Education offers today at Our programs provide aspiring leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in educational administration roles. Start your journey towards positively impacting students, teachers, and the educational community as a high school principal.