Principal Certification Only

Applicants for the certification-only program must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a current teaching certificate.

Program snapshot

TOTAL CREDITS 26 credits
FORMAT Monthly seminars on campus; online
APPLICATION DEADLINE June 1. Cohorts begin each fall semester.

*for the 2017-18 academic year


  • More than 80 percent of last year’s graduates were hired in administrative positions.
  • Jobs for principals are expected to increase 10 percent through 2020 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Whitworth offers seminar-style learning with professional colleagues.
  • Work with faculty who have years of experience in Washington’s public schools.
  • A 36-credit master's degree option is available for those who do not yet hold a master's degree.

Answer your call to serve others and demonstrate your passion for students and education by becoming a school principal. The principal certification program works to extend Whitworth’s mission by preparing future leaders and school administrators to serve with integrity and compassion for others. Whitworth’s 26-credit program will give you the skills to deliver positive and transformative change, along with the opportunity to practice those skills during your internship placement in either a public- or private-school setting.

Cohort Format

The cohort format of the principal certification program reinforces Whitworth’s commitment to build community by modeling community. You’ll move through the program with a group of colleagues as part of a cohort, providing a built-in support system and establishing your own network of professional colleagues. The cohort will take each of the classes together in sequence; you’ll begin and end the program with the same group of professionals.

Classes to Fit Your Busy Schedule

Whether you live in Spokane or commute from elsewhere, our schedule makes it possible for you to complete your principal certification. The seminar-style courses meet on Friday evenings and Saturdays once monthly, with instructor and peer engagement online between class sessions.

Enhance Your Career Opportunities

Throughout the program, we will explore some of the most pressing topics facing our schools, preparing you for situations you’ll face every day. Topics may include meeting the needs of special and diverse populations, implementing efficient and effective management systems, and improving classroom instruction to enhance student learning.

In your second year, you’ll take what you’ve learned in your seminar-style classes and put it into practice during a field placement in either a public- or private-school setting. You’ll work with other members of school administration, staff and students to gain the tools needed to become a successful leader and experience the continually changing field of education.

Applicants for the certification-only program must hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a current teaching certificate.

Administration Courses (20 credits)

2 Credits
2 Credits

Internships (6 credits)

Do I need to hold a teaching certificate to enter the program?

State law requires that to obtain a Washington principal certification you must also hold a Washington teaching certificate and have at least three years of teaching experience.

When does the program begin and end?

The first class begins in late August, fall semester, each year. However, some courses may be taken out of sequence, so it’s best to check with the program advisor if you wish to start at another time. You can complete the program in as little as two years, although you have up to six years to finish.

When are applications due?

Applications for the fall semester are due June 1. Applications may be considered after June if space is available.

Are there many employment opportunities once I graduate?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for principals is expected to grow 10% through 2020. Eighty percent of our most recent graduates were employed in administrative positions upon completion of the program.

Can my master’s degree be in a field outside of education if I wish to pursue just the certification?

Yes. You do not have to have a master’s degree in education. However, if you are applying for the principal certification you must have at least three years of teaching experience.


Whitworth's mission is to provide its diverse student body an education of mind and heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.

Next Steps

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