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what do u need to become a principal

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Kamarie,

My brother is on the path to being a principal. He started out as a high school teacher with a bachelor's degree in Education. He taught high school history and government for almost 20 years. During that teaching time, he got a masters degree in Education as well as a masters degree in Education Administration. My brother feels strongly that the best administrators come through the teaching route. He got the second masters degree because it is required in the state where he lives. It might even be a district level requirement. You should check with the school district where you think you want to work for more information. You would have a different kind of empathy for the teachers in your school if you had been one of them, even for a little while. If you decide to go into Administration, a bachelor's degree in Education would be very helpful to fill that gap.

You also mentioned nursing in your hashtags. My sister in law is a nurse. She did something similar. She worked as a nurse for 15 years and then got a masters degree in Nursing Administration. This allows her to be a nursing educator, but would also include rising up in management within a hospital. This would appear to be a similar path as becoming a principal.

Good luck on your path to becoming a principal.


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Debra’s Answer

Hi! Great question! Every career has its own factors to consider as you select what your career path will be. Asking questions and talking to as many people as possible is the way to go. To be a great principal the personal characteristics that you need are as follows!
1.) enjoy multi- tasking- most days a principal is problem solving one problem after another. My favorite principal calls it “putting out fires” all day long. You need to be able to stay calm and solve problems all day long. Typically, you don’t spend too much time sitting at your desk.

2.) excellent ability to get along with all different kinds of people! They call it EQ. There are all kinds of books about it. You have to enjoy getting people to come together to compromise and work on a same goal. Teachers are naturally bossy- they like to be in charge and that is great- but can also mean they have strong opinions. Sometimes it’s hard to lead them!

Most states require you to be a teacher for at least 3 years. Bilingual principals are sought after- so if you speak Spanish that gives you a big advantage! Typically, teachers work on a masters or doctorate degree in education administration while they are teaching.

If you approach a principal at a school you attended, I am quite sure they would be happy to have you shadow them to get an idea of what the job entails besides sitting in lots of meetings! 😊

Good luck!!

Debra recommends the following next steps:

Arrange to shadow a principal for the day
Explore 4 year universities that have teaching programs. It is a good idea to take extra classes on language and reading.
Start to generate a list of things that you want and don’t want in a career. Do you want to work in an office, move around all day, or have a structured schedule v. Changing constantly?
Volunteer as much a possible working with kids- not forgetting special needs kids.

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Kimberly’s Answer

It depends on the state you live in. I would contact the Department of Education or a college you are considering getting your degree at. Some require certain certifications and/or education.

I would also look at job listings. Depending on the district, they may require a certain amount of time teaching and/or in another administrative position.

thanks for that info Kamarie C.

You are very welcome - best wishes! Kimberly Petillo

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Craig’s Answer

Pupils and teachers, plus a passion to move and develop a school. I suggest becoming a teacher, dept head first. My sister took this route

What do I need to know to come a School head? Tobias Nhamo