If you’re passionate about education, a career as an elementary or secondary principal could be the right path for you. This career is facing severe shortages across the country. With excellent benefits and strong salaries, a principal is one of the most in-demand and rewarding career choices.

A Void of Principals

A study done by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals found that “approximately half of the school districts surveyed reported a shortage in the labor pool for K-12 principal positions they were trying to fill that year.” The study found this statement to be true across the board, “regardless of the schools’ grade levels and whether they were rural, suburban, or urban schools.

Merrimack College also surveyed 15 partnership communities in the Massachusetts area. This study found an extraordinary need for educational leaders within the next five years. Most individuals seeking principal positions need to have a Master’s Degree in education administration or leadership.

In response to these findings, Merrimack College developed the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) program in Educational Leadership. This program is specifically designed for professionals seeking leadership roles in schools or related institutions.

Preparing for a Career in Education Administration

Merrimack College offers three convenient tracks to prepare future principals for successful careers. These tracks include Educational Leadership-Principal/Assistant Principal Licensure (K-6, 5-8, 9-12), Educational Leadership (Non-Licensure) or School Counseling. Candidates who are currently working as administrators in schools may want to align their administrative skills with the new Educator Evaluation System. When you are ready to prepare for top-level positions in educational administration, the program will serve as a foundation for further graduate study.

Candidates may complete the C.A.G.S. in Education Leadership in as little as 18 months. Courses are offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters. To accommodate the educational practitioner, classes are held in the late afternoon and evening. Summer courses are held in two sessions: May/June or July/August.

The core of each track is designed to provide a strong basis for leadership. Each program offers specialized courses to enable the school leader to meet state requirements or enhance their leadership skills and interests.

Career Outlook for Principals

Principal positions in elementary, middle and high schools are expected to grow by 6 percent through 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Increases in school enrollments will drive employment growth. School principals earn an average of $90,410 per year, the BLS reports.

Through programs such as the C.A.G.S. at Merrimack College, communities across the country can be ready to meet the overwhelming need for strong administrator leaders in their districts.