Academic Requirements

Penn State will make an institutional recommendation to the Pennsylvania Department of Education when a candidate shows evidence of satisfactory completion of the requirements listed below. It is important to note that Penn State endorses successful candidates for certification; the Pennsylvania Department of Education officially grants the certification.

Candidates must

  • Complete 15 credits of course work in the Educational Leadership Program with at least a 3.0 (See Table 1).
  • Complete a 3-credit internship spanning a full calendar year that is planned with the faculty internship supervisor and administrative mentor (see below).
  • Pass the required Praxis exam.

Courses will be scheduled in cooperation with the Educational Leadership Program at University Park. For the convenience of participants, there will be evening and weekend courses varying in length from six weeks to 15 weeks. Many of the courses are offered in blended instruction; that is, both face-to-face and online instruction.


The Pennsylvania Department of Education now requires a 360-hour internship/field experience for Principal Certification candidates. These hours must stretch across a full-year school cycle, including fall, spring, and summer (June and August) in order to meet PDE requirements.

The internship is normally completed at the end of the Principal Certification Program. Students should work with their assigned EDLDR 595 Internship instructor as well as their designated on-site coordinator/supervisor to construct an appropriate sequence of experiences that cover the full school year. Candidates for Principal Certification should see their advisor for internship requirements, as well as for further information regarding the Performance-based Internship.

Praxis Exam

All principal candidates must take and pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) Exam. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the Praxis Pennsylvania Test Requirements site.

This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.