Residency Administrator Certificate (Principal and Program Administrator)
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How do I BECOME CERTIFIED in Washington? (basic requirements)

Qualified applicants for an administrator certificate can anticipate two levels of certification during their career, in these roles: Principal, Program Administrator, and Superintendent. They can also apply for a substitute administrator certificate.

Principal and Program Administrator

Superintendent (only)


Residency Administrator Certificate
(Principal and Program Administrator)


Washington issues the Residency Administrator Certificate to all first-time applicants for a regular Administrator Certificate.

The candidate must have:

  • Earned a master's degree from any regionally accredited college/university.
  • Completed any state's approved college/university administrator preparation program in the administrative role (principal or program administrator).  In-state programs approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board are available through Washington colleges/universities.
    OR (if no state-approved college/university program)
    Completed three years successful experience in the appropriate administrative role while holding a regular administrator certificate issued by another state.
  • [Principal role] Hold or have held a regular teaching certificate
    OR ESA certificate
  • [Principal role] Verification of three years successful school-based instructional experience in an educational setting.


Includes details on the documents needed and process to obtain certification.

Electronic Certification Application



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