Learn How to Become a Principal, Superintendent, or Other Administrator in Indiana with a Doctorate or Master’s in Educational Leadership

elementary student high five teacher

Indiana has long supported its K-12 school system; currently its $20.8 billion biennial education budget accounts for around half of the state’s total expenditures.

But that doesn’t mean that students today are free from challenges, challenges they face together with a team of educators and administrative leaders.

College attendance is down for high school graduates in Indiana by a staggering 10% over the past five years. Whereas state leaders had hoped to see 60% of Indiana adults graduating with at least an associate’s degree, today that number is only around 48%.

Disparity in education is particularly apparent along a rural-urban divide, with lower property values in rural areas having a knock-on effect on local district funding. There are also worrying racial discrepancies in educational achievement.

Bold thinkers and innovative leaders have come together to brainstorm responses to challenges like these; solutions that must be tailored to each district’s unique demographics and location.

Leaders from Indianapolis Public Schools have developed a program called Rebuilding Stronger that’s already reshaped education and seen the hiring of eight new Building Level Administrators. These new school leaders are implementing curricula changes that will emphasize STEM, Montessori, or International Baccalaureate.

This is just one example from Indianapolis. There are countless others in development throughout the state. However planning and implementing the best evidence-based plans for school and district success are missing one important thing: you.

You know your way around the classroom, but it’s time to find your way as an administrative leader. You’re experienced, you have ideas that you know can work, and you want to maximize your ultimate impact on student success.

At this point it’s time to think about leveling up in your career and your education. Earning a graduate degree in educational leadership is your ticket to jobs like Building Level Administrator and even Superintendent.

How to Become a Building Level Administrator in Indiana – School-level Educational Leadership

Before you can become a Building Level Administrator you need at least two years of verified teaching or school counseling experience. You need to have a current Professional Educators License whose proficiency is one of the following:

You can also qualify with an Instructional or School Counselor License.

As a current teacher you already have CPR certification and suicide prevention training.

Step 1. Gain the Required Education

You’ll need at least a master’s degree to qualify for a Building Level Administrator License.

You also need to complete specific coursework from an approved educator preparation program (EPP). Currently there are 19 in-state schools approved by the Indiana Department of Education to offer P-12 Building Level Administrator License EPPs.

Schools typically offer you the option to complete the Building Level Administrator EPP as stand-alone coursework or as part of a master’s or doctoral degree. Degrees that include this EPP coursework have titles like:

Step 2. Pass the Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision Praxis Exam

The Indiana Department of Education works with the company ETS, which administers the Praxis test you must pass to qualify for the Building Level Administrator License:

Praxis Test Code 5412 – Educational Leadership: Administration & Supervision

The exam is comprised of 120 selected-response questions, and you have two hours and 45 minutes to complete it. The six general topic areas covered are:

You can schedule your test date online.

Step 3. Apply for Your License

Once you’ve reached this stage, you’re ready to apply through your existing online LVIS account with the Department of Education.

Congratulations! You’re ready to start applying for positions as a Building Level Administrator and put your natural leadership skills to good use.

Building Level Administrator Salary and Jobs in Indiana

Statewide Indiana’s Building Level Administrators earned $104,020 in 2022.

That’s according to the US Department of Labor, which keeps track of salary data across the state for Building Level Administrators, as represented by the 75th percentile salary for K-12 education administrators.

At the local level the highest salaries for Building Level Administrators can be found in Indiana’s largest cities like Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Fort Wayne.

Some of the largest high schools in the state are Carmel HS with a student population of 5,300, and North Central HS in Indianapolis with a student population of 3,750.

When it comes to job growth, the Department of Labor reports that Indiana is slated to add 430 new K-12 education administrators over the decade leading up to 2030. That’s an increase of 8.2%, above the national average.

How to Become a Superintendent in Indiana – District-Level Educational Leadership

Leadership at the district-level is calling, and as someone who’s not challenge-averse you’re ready to step up to the plate.

As a current teacher you likely already meet some requirements like CPR certification and having a certificate that shows you completed suicide prevention training. You must also have at least two years of verifiable teaching experience with a Professional Educators License rated initial, standard, provisional, or accomplished practitioner.

At this point you can fulfill the remaining education and examination requirements to earn a Superintendent License.

Step 1. Fulfill the Education Requirement with a Doctoral Degree

Leading an entire school district carries great responsibility, and that’s way the Indiana Department of Education requires those applying for a Superintendent License to earn a doctoral degree in education and complete a District Administrator–Superintendent educator preparation program (EPP) at an approved college or university.

Currently there are nine schools in Indiana approved by the state’s Department of Education to offer EPPs for the District Administrator: P-12 Superintendent License.

Degree programs that fulfill this education requirement have titles like:

Courses cover topics like:

Step 2. Pass the School Superintendent Assessment (SSA) Praxis Exam

The company ETS contracts with the Indiana Department of Education to administer the Praxis test you must pass to qualify for the District Administrator – P-12 Superintendent License:

Praxis Test Code 6991 – School Superintendent Assessment (SSA)

You can schedule your test date online and take the computer-based exam throughout the year at home or at a testing center.

The test is made up of 120 select-response questions and three constructed-response questions, for which you’ll have a total of three hours to complete. Content evaluated comes from these seven main areas:

Step 3. Apply for Licensure or the Temporary Superintendent Permit

Once you’ve completed the requirements up to this point, you’re qualified to apply for the full District Administrator P-12 Superintendent License. You do this through your existing LVIS account with the Indiana Department of Education.

Temporary Superintendent License

Because there’s currently a shortage of superintendents at some locations in the state you may find the option is available for a Temporary Superintendent License in your area.

To qualify you need at least a master’s degree and some knowledge or experience with the superintendent position.

The local school board must submit a written request on your behalf to the Indiana Department of Education.

A temporary license is only valid for as long as your employment contract and you can’t transfer it to another district.

If you work as a superintendent on a temporary license for at least three years and receive at least an “effective” evaluation rating throughout that period, and pass the SSA Praxis exam, then you can upgrade your temporary license to a full Administrator P-12 Superintendent License.

Superintendent Salary and Jobs in Indiana

Statewide, superintendents in Indiana earned $127,910 in 2022.

That’s according to the US Department of Labor for its 90th-percentile salary level for Indiana K-12 education administrators, a natural stand-in for superintendents.

The salary for superintendents varies depending on which zip code you live in. From all statistical areas, the metro-area salary for superintendents comes in at six figures:

The Indianapolis Public Schools district is the largest in the state, serving more than 30,000 students. It employs over 5,000 staff including 2,600 teachers. The Fort Wayne Community Schools district also ranks high for its student body population and is home to 32 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, and nine high schools.

Educational Leadership Degree Options in Indiana: Doctorate and Master’s in Educational Leadership

In recognition of the fact that you’re already a busy professional, it’s common to find programs with online and on-campus options alongside flexible weekend and evening classes. Colleges and universities can be bragging rights for larger cities but can also be located rurally in learning-conducive environments.

We’ve analyzed every private non-profit school in the state that offers a graduate degree in educational leadership to make the next step easy. Now it’s up to you!

Bethel University

Adult and Graduate Studies

Bethel University

M.Ed in School Leadership

Indiana Wesleyan University

School of Education
Accreditation: HLC

Indiana Wesleyan University

MS in School Administration

Also offers:

Ed.S in District Level Leadership
Ed.D, Ed.S in Educational Leadership
Graduate Certificate in School Administration

Marian University

Klipsch Educators College

Marian University

MA in Educational Leadership

Also offers:

Ed.D in Organizational Leadership

University of Indianapolis

School of Education
Accreditation: HLC
Hybrid, online

University of Indianapolis


University of Notre Dame

College of Arts and Letters
Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program
Low residency

University of Notre Dame

Master of Educational Leadership

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for education administrators, kindergarten through secondary. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2023.

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