Principal Certification Program

Estimated Completion

33 credit hours, 18+ months

Application Process

Our program application process includes several steps, which you must complete in order to be considered for the program. View the full application process.


The M.Ed. and Principal certification program is designed to prepare for challenging and productive roles as campus-level and central office-level administrators in Texas public schools. Our program’s quality educational experiences stimulate and encourage intellectual, personal and professional growth and a strong commitment to education and those served.

We offer the following program options:

  • M.Ed. in Educational Administration with Principal Certification is a 33 semester hours certification for individuals seeking a master’s degree along with principal certification.
  • Post-Master’s Principal Certification is a 24 semester hours certification-only program for individuals holding a master’s degree. 


 Coursework is delivered in a fully online format.

Recommendation for Certification

Recommendation for certification by Tarleton State University and the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology will be forwarded to the State Board for Educator Certification only after the student has successfully completed:

  • Designated course of study including the practicum, certification and professional development requirements,
  • Verification of two years of full-time teaching experience as a classroom teacher (TAC § 241.25), and
  • Successful performance on the Texas Principal as Instructional Leader Examination (#268).

Student regulations for recommendation of Certification.

Application Process

  1. If not currently attending Tarleton State University as a graduate student, submit the ApplyTexas online application for admission into the College of Graduate Studies.
  2. Submit the Principal Certification Program Application form, with a reference letter from your current school or district administrator.
  3. Please view this flowchart to help guide your decision for applying to the master’s program in EC-12 principalship, higher education administration, or educational technology leadership.

Note: If you are pursing an M.Ed., admission to the professional teacher certificate program is granted upon recommendation from the department head of your program and the submission of a certificate plan approved by the Tarleton Teacher Certification Officer. Certification is for Texas Residents Only.

All program applicants should email their completed application to the coordinator of Principal Certification or mail to the Department of Educational Leadership & Technology at the following address:

Tarleton State University
Attn: Principal Certification Program Applications
Box T-0815
Stephenville, TX 76402

 1. Texas State House Bill 1508, effective September 1, 2017, requires notice regarding the consequences of a criminal conviction on eligibility for an occupational license: View more information.


Education Administration Core Courses1 (required) — 18 semester hours

  • EDAD 5300 – Foundations of Educational Administration
  • EDAD 5309 – Legal Issues in School Leadership
  • EDAD 5316 – Instructional Leadership
  • EDAD 5339 – Leadership Processes of Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 5398 & 53992 – Practicum Courses for the Principalship (required for certification)

Additional Courses (with consent of advisor taken from) — 15 semester hours

  • EDAD 53013 – Research in Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 5307 – Leadership of Programs and Procedures in Supervision
  • EDAD 5342 – Leadership of Campus Resources
  • EDAD 5345 – Leadership of Curriculum Systems
  • EDAD 5355 – Leadership of Diverse Learning Communities
  • 1No course in the EDAD core courses sequence can be older than six years at the time of application for the Principal TExES certification examination.
  • 2No more than one EDAD core courses may remain to be taken by the student prior to enrolling and participating in the Practicum courses, EDAD 5398 & 5399, for the Principalship. If a student has one remaining core course to take, the student may request permission of the Department Head to enroll in the remaining core course concurrently with the Practicum.
  • 3EDAD 5301 is not required for Post-Master’s Principal Certification Only Program
  • Note: No course in the program may be taken prior to submission of departmental application and formal admission by the Educator Preparation Council.

T-TESS & AEL Training Certification 

Effective September 1, 2019, all students seeking the Principal as Instructional Leader Certificate must obtain the Texas Teacher Evaluation System (T-TESS) Appraiser Certification and the Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL) Certification. Evidence of certification completion must be provided in order to receive approval to attempt the 268 Principal as Instructional Leader certification exam and Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL). These certifications will be required for Tarleton State University to recommend the student for certification approval through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Upon successfully completing the 268 & PASL exams, the student is responsible for submitting the application for the TEA Standard Principal Certification.

The Effective Schools Project (ESP) at Tarleton State University (TSU) will offer both certification trainings in the summer (not as coursework) for a discounted price. However, student may elect to attend trainings through an Educational Service Center.

For information about attending the certification training through TSU and the Effective Schools Project, please contact the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology.

Professional Development

Practicum for Principalship

The Principal Practicum course work cannot be applied to the Master of Education degree; students must complete the educational administration core and be enrolled in the last program courses prior to enrolling in the practicum. The practicum includes two courses over two semesters; however, the student may be required to repeat these courses so that he/she can satisfactorily complete practicum requirements. The student must enroll each semester until the practicum is satisfactorily completed.

Application for admission to the principal practicum must be submitted to the Coordinator of Principal Certification Program no later than July 1 preceding the fall of enrollment for the practicum and November 1 preceding the spring practicum. .