Spring on the York College campus

Online Educational Leadership (PK-12) Certificate

Flex-schedule, Pennsylvania-approved certification pathway for school principals.

The Educational Leadership Certificate program at York College of Pennsylvania positions eligible educators to advance in their principalship and administration careers and apply for the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Principal PK-12 Administrative Certificate.

The 24-credit Educational Leadership Certificate program is entirely online, providing professional development opportunities without the need to commute to campus. The coursework imparts practical skills and knowledge that students can apply directly in their professional roles. After completing the program and three years of relevant professional experience in an educational setting, students will meet the requirements for principal certification and possess a well-rounded leadership toolkit.

Whether continuing to principal roles or instituting newfound skills in other related functions, the online Certificate in Educational Leadership readies students to stand out as school leaders through effective assessment, efficient project management, and successful inclusivity initiatives.

A teacher stands beside an elementary school student while he works at a classroom round table. She smiles while glancing down at his paper.

About the Online Educational Leadership Certificate Leading to Principal Certification

  • Key Courses

    Educational Leadership Certificate Curriculum and Requirements

    If you're currently working as a teacher or in a related role in an educational setting, the Certificate in Educational Leadership (PK-12) can help you advance your career, pursue more specialized roles, enhance your effectiveness, and transition to a credentialed principal or administrator position.

    The Educational Leadership Certificate:

    • Is 24 credits, including one foundation course and seven core courses
    • Can be completed in one to two years
    • Can lead to certification as a principal or administrator in Pennsylvania
    • Advances administrative educational careers in a convenient online schedule

    This is a certificate-only program and does not yield a master’s degree. If you seek a complete graduate degree, check out the fully online Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership program.

    Flexible Online Courses

    The fully online courses in the Certificate in Educational Leadership program engage skills in fostering a healthy and effective learning environment and incorporate real-world practice in leading others and improving educational experiences.

    The courses you take may include:

    • MED 502: Development, Learning, and Inclusive Practice
    • MED 550: Legal and Ethical Issues in Education for Administrators
    • MED 561: Introduction to Organizational Leadership
    • MED 562: Supervision of Instruction
    • MED 565: School of Financial Management

    Financial Aid and Admissions for the Certificate in Educational Leadership

    Depending on the course load per semester, you may be eligible to apply for federal funding through the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Review certificate costs and tuition information and contact the Financial Aid Office with questions.

    You must have a bachelor's degree to apply for admission to the Certificate in Educational Leadership (PK-12) program. For complete admissions and application information, review Graduate and Professional Programs admissions.

    Pursue Principal Certification Online With York College of Pennsylvania’s Educational Leadership Certificate

    York College of Pennsylvania’s flexible, online Educational Leadership (PK-12) Certificate program equips qualified students with the skills needed for administrative roles and to pursue principal certification in Pennsylvania.

    Ready to upgrade your career, increase effectiveness in your current role, and become credentialed to work as a principal?

    Request more information or begin your application today.

  • Career Opportunities & Benefits

    Pursue Leadership Roles and Principal Certification in PA

    The dual accomplishment of completing the Educational Leadership Certificate at York College and pursuing the Pennsylvania Principal PK-12 Administrative Certificate can greatly benefit educators looking to advance in their careers. York College's online program prepares today's teachers to take on the important responsibility of shaping learning experiences for student populations in a grade, school, district, or state. The administrative certification is required to be a principal in a public school in Pennsylvania.

    York College's certificate program satisfies the requirements to apply for PDE principal certification, not including taking the necessary entrance exam. If you are not pursuing principal certification through PDE, the Educational Leadership certificate program can still provide valuable learning experiences that enhance your résumé.

    Immerse yourself in coursework that prepares you for leadership positions across education, including:

    • Academic Dean
    • Assistant Principal
    • Education Consultant
    • Program or Department Administrator
    • School District Administrator

    Adding credentials in school leadership can also promote advancement to positions with higher salaries in education administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, principals and other educational administrators (kindergarten through high school) report average wages of $101,320 annually. Administration and leadership roles in postsecondary education report a yearly salary of $99,940.

  • Internships & Work Experience

    Create Plans for Inclusive Practice in Educational Leadership

    Each student pursuing an online certificate in school leadership completes practical projects, such as compiling a leadership plan that includes mission, vision, and values underpinned with inclusive practices.

    In MED 502: Development, Learning, and Inclusive Practice, investigate what makes school policy and practice inclusive and how to support a range of needs in your leadership, from professional development plans to accessible learning environments

    Principalship Practicum

    The principalship practicum is a pivotal component of the principal certification program, designed to provide hands-on, practical experience in school administration and leadership. With supervision from experts in the field, certificate program students will engage in various school-based administrative activities during their practicum term, offering a unique opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in a practical setting.

    Whether completed in a York-assisted placement or your current school or role, the principalship practicum gets you closer to meeting Administrative Certificate requirements in the state.

    Administrative Internship

    Aligned with the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) and Interstate Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, a built-in administrative internship provides flexible and convenient field-based opportunities tailored to individual circumstances. Through this process, online learners gain valuable experiences to further their skills.

    During their internship, participants in the Educational Leadership Certificate reinforce the practical application of theoretical concepts and prepare for leadership roles in educational settings. They gain firsthand knowledge of the diverse challenges of educational administration and begin positively impacting their school communities, all while taking online classes.

  • Mentorship & Community

    Learn Directly from Expert Faculty

    In our Educational Leadership Certificate program, you'll gain insights into instructional technology across PK-12 levels under the mentorship of our experienced faculty. These experts bring a wealth of real-world classroom experience, offering interactive online discussions and detailed feedback.

    Connect to Work Opportunities and Employers

    Join our fully online certificate program and leverage York's strong connections with educational institutions and employers. As a student, you'll have access to various internship and networking opportunities in educational leadership and related fields, helping you to build a professional network that aligns with your career goals — even if you're studying online.

  • High-Demand Skills

    Prime Skills for Leadership and Administrative Roles

    The Educational Leadership Certificate program is a shorter alternative to a graduate degree program and provides students with skills necessary for advancing into administrative positions like principal or dean. Graduates are also equipped with leadership and communication skills essential for educational policy, educational consulting, and instructional and training careers.

    With the 24-credit certificate, students gain skills including:

    • Project and financial management for effective budgeting of resources and successful completion of various projects and initiatives
    • Ethical and culturally competent written and verbal communication that furthers goal-oriented conversations with students, families, and other stakeholders
    • Application of relevant law and policy in everyday decisions in education administration
    • Upholding of inclusive and diverse learning environments

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the requirements to become a principal in Pennsylvania?

    To become a principal in Pennsylvania, you need a bachelor’s degree, at least three years of professional experience related to the instructional process in an educational setting, and to complete an approved graduate-level certification program. Additionally, you must sit for and pass a state examination and meet moral character and background check standards. For more information on the various routes to certification, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

  • What can you do with a certificate in Educational Leadership?

    A graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership prepares you for leadership roles in educational settings, such as School Principal, District Administrator, Instructional Coordinator, Education Consultant, or Department Head of a higher education department. The skills gained are also transferable to corporate training and development roles or non-profit management.

  • How long does it take to complete principal certification and the certificate program?

    The Certificate in Educational Leadership at York College consists of 24 credits and can be completed within one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. After completing this Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved program and its internship and practicum components, the next step to receiving principal certification is earning a passing grade on the required examination.

Contact Us
Graduate Programs - Behavioral Sciences and Education
Molly Milam, PhD, BCBA-D
Asst. Director, Graduate Programs in Behavioral Sciences and Education
Appell Life Sciences Building, Room 346
Phone: 717.815.2005

Dawn Keiser, Administrative Assistant
Appell Life Sciences Building, Room 355
Phone: 717.815.1551