How to Become an Education Administrator in South Dakota

Learn how to become an Education Administrator or School Principal in South Dakota.

The South Dakota Department of Education issues Administrative Certificates to applicants who meet qualifications for the following areas: PK-12 School principal, P-8 Elementary School principal, 7-12 Secondary School principal, and P-12 Career School Superintendent. Endorsements in these areas are also possible if you meet the qualifications.

Academic Obligations

School principal:

  • You must possess a minimum of a master’s degree and successfully complete a state-authorized education administrator program for school principal preparation


  • You must possess an education specialist or doctoral degree and successfully complete a state-authorized education administrator program  for career school superintendent preparation (currently only at 1 school); OR
  • You must possess a master’s degree and 15 graduate semester hours of courses in state-authorized school superintendent preparation programs.


For both School principal and Superintendent Certifications, you must pass the Praxis II Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision exam.

Classroom Teaching Experience Requirements

School principal:

  • You must possess 3 years of school experience specific to the grade level in which you wish to become a school principal (i.e., PK-12, P-8 or 7-12) with at least 1 of those years consisting of classroom teaching experience
  • You must also successfully complete a practicum within your school principal preparation program, with time spent in at least 2 of the following levels: elementary school, middle school, or secondary school


  • You must possess 3 years of school experience within grades PK-12 with at least 1 of those years consisting of classroom teaching experience
  • You must also participate in a practicum in your school superintendent preparation program, including all job responsibilities of a school superintendent

Documents and Application Requirements

You must apply online for education administrator licensure in South Dakota after meeting the above obligations. Application fees must be paid online, and the following materials must be sent directly to the South Dakota Department of Education:

Send all of the above materials to the South Dakota Department of Education, Certification, 800 Governors Dr., Pierre, SD 57501. You will be emailed a printable administrative certificate once your application has been processed.

Background Check Requirements

As an applicant for administrative licensure in South Dakota, you need not undergo a criminal history background check as part of the licensure process. However, the school district that hires you will run your fingerprints through a state and federal background check. You will be given additional info on this process when you are hired.

State Contacts

Contact the college/universities, listed here, for info on school principal and superintendent preparation programs in South Dakota.

Contact the South Dakota Department of Education Office of Educator Quality at [email protected] or 605-773-3134 for additional info on education administrator licensure in the state.

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