Skip to main content Skip to navigation


Preparing educators for professional advancement and opening the world of teaching to people seeking to change their careers.

Principal Certification

A Field-Based Program

The WSU Spokane Principal Certificate Program provides course work in Spokane and remote locations throughout Eastern Washington.

The Program Administrator and Principal Credential programs at Washington State University Spokane balance practical experience, theory and research to help you prepare for leadership in the world of education.

Completion of these programs leads to Washington State Program Administrator or Principal Credentials and the opportunity to expand your career in K-12 education.

To prepare school leaders with the leadership and management skills needed to improve student learning in a variety of school environments the program includes the following principles:

  • Provide relevant and rigorous coursework that closely aligns with expectations for school building and district leaders.
  • Collaborate closely with school district mentors to plan and supervise internship experiences.
  • Encourage and facilitate networking among administrative candidates through participation in seminars and workshops with interns.
  • Deliver instruction by faculty members who have experience, skills, and knowledge as school building and district leaders.

Academic expectations

Courses and seminars reflect the academic standards of WSU graduate programs. Program participants are expected to successfully complete all academic course requirements and to demonstrate their ability to write and think clearly through the completion of course papers and other assignments.

Required Courses

Participation in the principal program is cohort-based, and courses are offered on a two-year rotation schedule. Courses include:

EdAd 516 Instructional Leadership (offered spring semester even numbered years)
EdAd 583 Community and Communications (offered spring semester odd numbered years)
EdAd 585 Finance Management in Education (offered every summer)
EdAd 588 Law and Education (offered every summer)
EdAd 589 Leadership Development Seminar (offered fall semester even numbered years)
EdAd 509 Leading School Improvement (offered fall semester odd numbered years)

Washington State-funded educational leadership intern program

It is very important that an intern has release time from his or her other responsibilities to experience and practice the role of the principal, to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the school, and to participate in leadership professional development opportunities.

The Washington State-Funded Educational Leadership Intern Program provides funds to school districts for release time for individuals participating in an administrative intern program. The program is managed by the Washington School Principals Education Foundation, an affiliate of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), in cooperation with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Grants are awarded each year through a competitive grant application process. Applications are distributed to school districts, universities and educational service districts in mid January from OSPI and due back to AWSP in mid March. Successful grant recipients are usually notified in May regarding release time funding for the following academic year.  Grant recipients are also expected to respond to various surveys and data collection processes conducted by AWSP.

Spokane interns are expected to apply for this grant in January of the first year of the two year internship to support their second year internship activities.

Funding for the Washington State-Funded Educational Leadership Program is dependent on legislative appropriations.

The objectives of the internship activities are: (1) to assist the candidate to acquire the skills identified for each of the standards, and (2) to provide additional valuable learning experiences relative to the administrative position as jointly determined by the mentor, the candidate and the university supervisor.  Students register for SIX graduate internship credits over the course of the two-year program, typically taking one or two internship credits each fall and each spring.

Alignment with degree programs

Education courses taken in Spokane may be used as supporting course work for students admitted to a WSU degree program, such as the Education Master’s degree in Educational Leadership or Education Doctorate in Leadership Studies.

Admission Requirements and Process

Prerequisite Experience

Applicants must hold or have held a valid teaching certificate or an ESA certificate with appropriate documentation of successful school-based experience in an instructional role with students to be admitted to the principal certification program.

Academic requirement

Applicants must have a master’s degree from an accredited institution in order to apply for the administrative certificate. Students may work on the master’s degree and the certificate at the same time, and most of the course work in the principal certificate program may be applied to the Ed.M. in Educational Leadership offered through WSU Spokane.

Moral Character

Applicants who do not hold a valid Washington certificate at the time of application (See WAC 180-79A-155) must complete Fingerprinting, Washington State Patrol and FBI background check.

Application Process

The Principal Certification Program admits students each fall. Please note that application is a multi-step process and often takes four to six weeks to complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application deadlines:

  • June 30, last day to apply for fall semester (August start)

Steps to application:

  • Apply online to the WSU Graduate School for acceptance to the university.
  • Submit supplemental materials to the department for acceptance into the certification program.

For application instructions, please refer to the Checklist and Instructions for Admission Requirements provided with the application packet.

Principal Program Application 

Important note. Programs in Educational Leadership (EdM, MA, principal certification, superintendent certification, EdD and PHD) do not accept state tuition waivers.


Jennifer Gallagher,
Academic Coordinator