How to Become an Education Administrator in Washington

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

School education administrators and school principals are leaders in their communities, seeking to strengthen their schools’ educational foundations. Given the huge obligations and demanding standards of school education administrators, potential education administrators must show they can lead by seeking licensure in Washington.

Academic Obligations

While educators in Washington need only hold bachelor’s degrees, school education administrators must earn master’s degrees at regionally accredited institutions in the state.

While earning master’s degrees, administration candidates attend state-authorized education administration preparation programs that teach them the skills they’ll need to become successful school leaders. First time administrative applicants must initially apply for their Residency Education Administrator Certificate.

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) also offers administrative licensure to those who have completed 3 years of administrative experience while holding an out-of-state certificate.

After 2 years of employment as an education administrator, you must apply for their Professional Certificate. At the start of your 3rd year of administrative work, your residency licensure’s expiration date is set at 5 years. To earn a Professional Certificate, candidates must successfully complete a Professional Certification program to ensure they’ve gained enough experience to move up to the advanced level.

The OSPI also offers a Superintendent Initial Certification for people who have completed an authorized preparation program and received their master’s degree with a superintendent focus. The initial licensure lasts for seven years, after which it may be renewed for 5-year periods.


Education administration candidates must have already attained a regular teaching certificate. In Washington, candidates for administrative licensure should have already passed the WEST-B Skills Test proving their knowledge of fundamental reading, writing, and math skills, in addition to the WEST-E Endorsement Test.

Classroom Teaching Experience Requirements

During their education administrator preparation programs, candidates for licensure must complete a supervised practicum. After a Residency Administrative Certification expires, you must apply for Professional Administrative Certification.

The Professional Administrative Certification requires applicants to confirm 3 years of experience in an administrative position, in addition to the successful completion of a Washington Professional Certificate Program. More info on the Professional Certification Program may be found here.

Document and Application Requirements

After meeting obligations for licensure as a school administrator, candidates can start the application process.

The initial step to applying for licensure is to print and complete the Administrative Certification application form.

School principal licensure requires:

  • The Application
  • Fees
  • Fingerprint Check
  • Background Questionnaire
  • Regular Teaching Certificates
  • All official transcripts
  • School-based experience
  • Institution authentication of Program Completion

Administrator candidates should complete all required forms and materials and submit their applications to their local Educational Service District.

Background Check Requirements

Before you acquire your education administrator license, you must undergo a criminal history background check. The check includes an FBI check in addition to a Washington State Patrol background check.

Fingerprint cards may be requested from 1 of Washington’s ESDs, where applicants will be processed. Applicants should go to the office in-person to pay the $46.25 and be entered into the fingerprint system.

State Contacts

For additional info on becoming an education administrator in Washington, see the OSPI website for education administrators.

Additionally, the OSPI may make contact withed via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 360-725-6400. Administrator candidates who wish to learn additional info about the OSPI in person may visit their office

Choose your Reaction!