Administrative Program for Principals

Administrative Program for Principals Online Certification Only

About Administrative Program for Principals Certification

Take on a leadership role in your school with certification as a K-12 principal.

Develop strong school administration skills, enhance your classroom instruction and advance your career. PennWest California's administrative program for principals combines 100% online courses with on-site fieldwork and internships taking place at your school. 

This flexible and affordable graduate program is designed for M.Ed. holders seeking certification as K-12 principals. It can be completed in 52 weeks while you continue to work full time.

Develop expertise and apply your knowledge.

  • Complete 360 hours of standards-based internship experiences in a school setting.
  • Participate in problem-solving activities and fieldwork that teach you how to be an effective school administrator.
  • Demonstrate your abilities to synthesize and apply program knowledge through performance assessments rather than traditional testing.


Cohort Model: The administrative program for principals fosters personal learning networks. Cohorts start in the spring and summer and stay together throughout the program, enabling strong relationships and networking opportunities that continue after  program completion.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


The national median salary for elementary, middle and high school principals is $90,410 per year. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since 1852 
PennWest California was founded as a teachers college and has been producing top-quality educators for over 160 years.
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Program Benefits

In PennWest California's Administrative Program for Principals you will:

  • Develop the strong school administration skills that improve student achievement.
  • Work with a personal faculty adviser to achieve academic and career
  • Enjoy the flexibility of 100% online classes.
  • Enhance your classroom instruction.
  • Participate in hands-on experiences in a school setting.
  • Gain exposure to the decision-making processes of school principals.
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Graduate Outcomes

Certification as a K-12 school principal gives you the opportunity to take on administrative leadership roles at the school level, whether as a principal, vice principal or supervisor of a content area. Program alumni are highly successful in getting administrative jobs and have gone on to rewarding careers in K-12 schools in Pennsylvania and across the country.


Administrative Program for Principals Certification Courses and Related Programs

This 24-credit online program starts in the spring or summer and is designed for seasoned educators seeking certification as K-12 principals and/or wishing to enhance their teaching and leadership skills. Students seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.



Course Credits
ADP 621  Curriculum Leadership Using a Standards Aligned System 3
ADP 626  Instructional Leadership and Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms 3
ADP 631  School Law and Ethics 3
ADP 641  School Community Relations Seminar  3
ADP 647  Orientation and Assessment 3
ADP 661  Educational Leadership 3
ADP 670  Internship Part 1 3
ADP 670  Internship Part 2 3
Total 24
Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Certification Only: Master's degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Copy of teaching certification
  • A letter of endorsement from applicant's principal or immediate supervisor
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae
  • A completed Applicant Data Sheet
  • Statement of career goals and degree objectives
  • International Global Online Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Certification Only:  Master's degree with a GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Copy of teaching certification
    • A completed Applicant Data Sheet and/or a current resume or curriculum vitae

Provisional Admission
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Out of State Students:
Out of state students are welcome to apply but should first contact their state department of education for further information regarding certification requirements and reciprocity agreements.

Related Programs

Master's Degrees


Principals certificate online

Award-Winning Faculty

All of our faculty currently serve or have formerly served in school or district administrative roles, and many are PennWest California grads. Faculty awards include: Fulbright scholarships, The Digital Innovative Learning Award, Pennsylvania Principal of the Year, the Apple Distinguished School Award, and the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Research & Publication Award, among others.

Principals certificate online Pennsylvania

Learn from Successful Alumni

Meet professor and PennWest California alumnus Dr. Greg Taranto '00. In addition to teaching in the administrative program for principals, he is the principal of Canonsburg Middle School, which has been designated as a "school to watch" nationwide due to its high-quality programs and extracurricular activities. Dr. Taranto has also been named a PAESSP Middle Level Principal of the Year.


Double the Impact of Your Internships

Course projects and internships in PennWest California's administrative program for principals focus on collecting data, identifying gaps and addressing needs that are specific to your school. If you join the program with a colleague, you can work together to make an even greater impact.

Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information. 

Completion of an approved certification program is a requirement for certification in Pennsylvania. In the certification process, the University informs the state that a student has completed the University's state-approved program. The state then reviews the student's credentials and determines eligibility for certification. We encourage all students to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education before beginning PennWest California's program for further information about certification requirements in Pennsylvania.

At the present time, we cannot confirm whether this program meets the requirements for certification in states other than Pennsylvania. Interested students may contact the Department of Education in their state to inquire about their requirements. A listing of state Departments of Education can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Out-of-state students seeking Pennsylvania certification should notify us of that intent in order to meet the PA certification expectations. Additional information related to Pennsylvania certification can be located at the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

Individuals must apply for endorsement for certification through the program coordinator, Dr. Silvia Braidic,  to initiate the process.