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Prepare for the Principal Exam With an Online M.Ed. Program

Teachers interested in becoming principals in Texas must meet multiple requirements before they can apply for related jobs. It's important to note that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is redesigning the requirements for obtaining a principal certificate; however, most of the current requirements will still apply.

How to Become a Principal in Texas

The new requirements include the TExES Principal exam and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL). Regardless of timing, teachers will still need to take TExES.

TEA also requires the following for the principal certification:

  • A master's degree from a university that holds accreditation from an agency recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
  • A valid classroom teaching certificate.
  • At least two years of creditable teaching experience.
  • Completion of an approved principal educator preparation program.

Teachers can satisfy the degree requirement and educator preparation program with an online program like the one at the University of Texas at Arlington.

What Does the Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Curriculum Cover?

While developing the M.Ed. curriculum, UTA collaborated with area school districts. The goal is to instill the skills and knowledge needed to help program candidates become principals or assistant principals. Both the University of Texas System and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board have approved the fully accredited program.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has accredited UTA's College of Education. The U.S. Department of Education and other national organizations recognize NCATE as the accrediting body for programs that prepare teachers and education personnel for jobs in schools serving preschool through grade 12.

The curriculum helps program candidates develop leadership and obtain knowledge to improve teacher retention and boost student achievement.

UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program includes these topics:

  • Leadership in education and theories.
  • Designing, implementing and evaluating curriculum.
  • Education research and evaluation.
  • Politics and law in education.
  • Resource management.

The program contains an administrative internship and ends with a capstone internship that fulfills the exam requirements for the degree. The student will also complete the professional portfolio and research project.

Prepare for the Exam with an Online Master of Education Program

The online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program provides a good stepping stone for teachers who want to pursue the Superintendent Certification. This certificate requires having the principal certificate as well as a master's degree from an accredited program. Edwin Hood earned his Superintendent Certification online. Hood says it has prepared him for the next stage of his career.

Earning the M.Ed. may lead to a salary increase. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median pay for elementary, middle and high school principals in 2016 was $92,510. From 2016 to 2026, the growth rate for this job category is 8 percent, a two percent increase over 2014.

In addition, 2014-2015 data from the National Center for Education Statistics places education in the top three fields for number of master's degrees conferred -- the other two being business and healthcare. Educators who earn an M.Ed. may have a greater chance of landing the job they want than those who do not hold the degree.

Students like Elizabeth Alaniz say that UTA's online program better prepared them for the principal's exam. Her husband also earned a master's degree, but he attended an on-campus program. After Alaniz completed her program, her husband knew he could have completed his degree faster had he opted for the online format.

Alaniz accomplished her goal of earning the Master of Education degree when her children were very young. It allowed her to balance work, school and being a parent.

Learn more about the UTA online Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.


Sources:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook: Principals

UTA: Elizabeth Alaniz - Two Big Steps Toward Her Dream

UTA: How to Become a Principal in Texas

National Center for Education Statistics: Graduate Degree Fields

Texas Education Agency: Principal Certification Redesign

UTA: What Is an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies?

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