School Administrator Certification and Endorsements

Eligibility Requirements

On August 15, 2006, PA335 established voluntary certification of school administrators in Michigan. Graduates of MSU’s Department of Educational Administration may be eligible and should read the following carefully. Scroll down for link to Application site.

Levels of Certification and EndorsementsEligibility Requirements
School Administration CertificationEligible upon successful completion of a Master’s Degree in K-12 Administration in a State Board of Education approved program
Successful completion of a Master’s degree in another education field plus 18 or more core EAD credits from a State Board of Education approved Master’s Degree in K-12 Educational Administration (see more below) as designed to meet state standards
Elementary EndorsementIncluded with School Administrator Certification
Secondary EndorsementIncluded with School Administrator Certification
Central Office Administrator CertificateEligible upon successful completion of a State Board of Education approved set of core classes that are part of an Ed.S., Ed.D. or Ph.D. degree program.
Enhanced & Specialty EndorsmentsGiven by accredited professional associations only. To be eligible, applicants must hold a School Administrator Certificate.

MSU choices for certification and endorsement:

The MSU K-12 Educational Administration Master’s program is approved for:

  • School Administrator Certification
  • Elementary School Administrator Endorsement
  • Secondary School Administrator Endorsement

Individuals who hold a Master’s degree in a field related to education, can participate in the Certification Pathway Program. They can qualify for the School Administrator Certificate and the Elementary and Secondary endorsements by completing an approved program with at least 18 credits. An advisor will conduct a review of coursework and experience to design a program that ensures students meet the state standards for K-12 school leadership. Students who are not school administrators will complete an additional internship, which brings the total number of hours to 21 credits.

To be recommended to the State of Michigan for School Administrator Certification and Endorsements students must have completed an MSU advisor approved program in K-12 Administration, be free of any incidence of academic dishonesty, earned an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher and earned a passing score on any and all comprehensive or exit exams.

Time Limitation

The Michigan Department of Education will no longer process applications of educators whose degrees or qualifying credits were earned prior to 2006. Educators who completed qualifying degrees or credits since then may apply using the link below. Educators currently earning degrees or qualifying credits may apply at the time of their completion.

MSU graduates who completed their programs prior to 2006 will work with K-12 faculty to assure their knowledge, skills, and performances meet current MDE school administrator standards. Doing so may require taking additional courses and submitting a portfolio of performance assessments or some other performance review.

K-12 EAD Master’s Degree Pathway to the School Administrator Certificate

Educators who earn a Master’s degree in K-12 Administration from Michigan State University may apply for School Administrator Certification with Elementary and Secondary Endorsements.

Certification Pathway Program

As provided for with Michigan legislation (PA 335, 2006 and PA 202, 2009), preparation for the School Administrator certificate can also be accomplished through an alternative path, the Certification Pathway Program, for those who already hold an education-related master’s degree. The Certification Pathway Program includes a minimum of 18 credits earned in the Department of Educational Administration. Students without administrative experience will complete an internship, which may increase the total credits to 21.

Decisions about courses required for an individual participating in the Certification Pathway Program are guided by the Michigan Standards for Building-level Administrators, approved by the State Board of Education in November 2007. Find the standards at the MDE website.

To assure that our students meet the standards, an advisor will conduct a review of past coursework (MA or MS degree) and professional experience, and, in consultation with the student, develop a program plan. These courses are the same courses in the regular MA programs on campus (East Lansing) and in southeast Michigan (Birmingham). Because this is a somewhat customized plan, we do not post a general course sequence.

If you wish to speak with an advisor about the possibility of the Certification Pathway Program, please contact Dr. BetsAnn Smith via email at or call the Department of Educational Administration at 517-353-8480.

Certification Pathway Program Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Registration

Students who wish to complete the MA program complete the online application. Upon admission to the program, students will be assigned to an academic advisor who will guide the students’ elective choices.

Students pursuing the Certification Pathway Program do NOT apply to the MA program. Please register under Graduate Certification status by completing the Lifelong application and checking the box that indicates coursework is taken for certification. Graduate certification status allows the student to avoid paying matriculation fees. Students should understand that they cannot transfer more than 9 Graduate Certification credits into any MSU degree program. Students who decide to earn credits under the Graduate Certification status must still register with the Department. To do this, please contact Angela Card at

Certification students should not register for classes that are not approved by the advisor.

Go to Schedule of Courses

Central Office Endorsement

The Doctor of Educational Leadership program is designed to qualify students to demonstrate that they meet the Michigan Standards for Central Office Administration. The Michigan Department of Education is currently in the process of updating these standards. When these are final, the K-12 Unit will apply to MDE to become an approved program so that our graduates earn this certificate.

To Apply for School Administrator Certification

Graduates with a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from MSU may print out the application for the School Administrator Certificate located at:

School Administrator Certification Application

Complete the application and the attached conviction disclosure form, attach any necessary transcripts, and mail it to Certification Office, 134 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.