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Administrator Certification Pathways and Programs

In Michigan, school administrator preparation is guided by state law, state administrative rules, and administrator preparation program standards. Additional information is available regarding what administrative positions require the School Administrator Certificate.

Program Requirements

As outlined in law (MCL 380.1246), school administrators whose primary responsibility is administering instructional programs must hold a valid School Administrator Certificate. This certificate can be obtained by completing a program for an Elementary & Secondary Admin K-12 (ES) or Central Office (CO) endorsement. Additionally, those administrators in these positions prior to January 4, 2010 who have maintained their professional learning requirements, are eligible for the Experience-Based Administrator Certificate (EZ).

Individuals seeking an Elementary & Secondary Administrator K-12 (ES) endorsement must:

Individuals seeking a Central Office (CO) Endorsement must:

  • Possess a master’s degree or higher and
  • Complete at least 21 semester credit hours at the post-master’s degree level at an approved preparation program.

Special Education Director/Supervisor: Administrator Certificate Requirements

Michigan approved School Administrator Certificate preparation programs can be found within Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) searchable program database.

Pathways to Certification

Currently, there are three pathways to earn a school administrator certificate in Michigan.


Educational organizations often offer educators enhancements that show the completion of professional learning focused on an educational topic (e.g., curriculum, human resources management, athletic organization, etc.). Completion of a school administrator enhancement program does not lead to the issuance of a School Administrator Certificate. Enhancements are, instead, a way for individuals to display specific skills they have learned through professional learning and training. An individual looking to add enhancements to their portfolio should investigate this option with education organizations – state or national.

Application Process

Application for initial certification based upon an in-state preparation program or evaluation of an out-of-state school administrator certificate must be submitted using the Michigan Online Educator Certification System.