It’s an exciting time to launch a career as an education leader in Michigan. From improving student outcomes to enhancing facilities, district and state administrators alike are committed to building a stronger educational community.
Consider Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan. Launched by the State Board of Education in 2020, this endeavor seeks sweeping improvements across the board, such as:
The exciting part is: you can be a defining force that supports these initiatives. You’ve worked as an educator in the state for some time and understand the systemic changes necessary to improve student lives and performance. But what specific steps must you take to enter an administrative role? We’ll outline how you can become a principal and superintendent in Michigan.
How to Become a Principal or Superintendent in Michigan – School-level and District-Level Educational Leadership
To work as a principal or a superintendent in Michigan, you first have to obtain a School Administrator Certificate through the Department of Education. The state grants the certificate for those who meet the following prerequisites:
Here’s how the process works from soup to nuts:
Step 1. Find Regionally Accredited Colleges or Universities Offering MEds
You know how to teach. Maybe you’ve been doing it for close to a decade. But do you know the finer points of developing school policy? Do you know how to allocate funding to myriad departments? These are all questions you’ll be able to answer through a master’s program. Such master’s programs include:
Keep in mind that the college or university you choose to attend must be regionally accredited. That’s a key stipulation when searching for a master’s degree. That’s what the Michigan Department of Education will accept.
Step 2. Narrow Down Your Search to Include Schools with Approved Preparatory Courses
After narrowing your search, ask admissions departments about what types of preparatory courses they include in their MEd programs. To earn the School Administrator Certificate, you must take one of the following:
You can find schools that offer them through the Office of Educator Excellence. All of the schools in the database offer at least one of the two programs.
An elementary and secondary school administration program is more suited to aspiring principals. In contrast, the central office school administration program is more applicable to those pursuing careers as superintendents. However, both qualify you to work at any administrative level in Michigan.
Whichever preparatory program you choose will determine what type of endorsement you’ll receive.
Step 3. Seek an Endorsement from Your University
After completing your studies, speak with your career counselor about receiving an endorsement. Depending on the preparatory program you completed as part of your degree, you’ll receive one of the two:
The endorsement is the last form you’ll need to apply for your School Administrator Certificate. Conveniently, you can submit all of your documentation to the Michigan Department of Education online.
Step 4. Apply For Your School Administrator Certificate through MOECS
The Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) is the system through which you’ll apply for your School Administrator Certificate. You can add your endorsements, graduate degree, and other pertinent information.
Once that’s done, you’re on your way to a fruitful career. You could take a principal position at a school you’ve taught at for years, or rise through the ranks to become superintendent of your district. All the opportunity in the world is available to you!
School Principal Salary and Jobs in Michigan
Speaking of opportunity: You won’t need to fret about making a living after getting your School Administrator Certificate. The median salary of principals working in MI is $98,340 per year, with the top 25 percent earning upwards of $106,560 annually. That’s a comfortable living no matter where you are in the state, whether it’s by Lake Superior or in Detroit.
That being said, how much you earn will vary depending on the metropolitan area you serve. For instance, principals in the Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area earn around $100,010 per year, whereas those in the Northwest Lower Peninsula of Michigan make around $96,420 annually. That’s the biggest disparity you’ll find, though.
What about the long-term job prospects? The future looks steady for those pursuing a career in education administration. The number of school-level and district-wide jobs is expected to increase two percent over the decade.
Superintendent Salary and Jobs in Michigan
The median salary for superintendents working in Michigan is $126,330 per year. Those in the upper peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area bring in at least $123,760 annually, while those in Detroit-Warren-Dearborn earn upwards of $128,440 per year. So, like principals, the disparity in pay between superintendents isn’t that wide, either.
How does that compare with the rest of the country? The top 10 percent of superintendents across the nation earn a median $153,520 per year. Don’t get discouraged, though: many of those superintendents live in states with a markedly higher cost of living such as Massachusetts, New York, or Hawaii.
Educational leadership Degree Options in Michigan: Doctorate and Master’s in Educational Leadership
Take that next step. You have what it takes to get your school or district on a path that benefits students and teachers. All you need to do is find a school that will launch your administrative career. We’ve compiled a list of all the universities in Michigan that can help you fulfill the requirements of the School Administrator Certificate.
Schools of Leadership
(Ed.D, Ph.D, Ed.S) in Educational Leadership
Ed.S in Leadership
M.Ed in Educational Leadership
Concordia University Ann Arbor
School of Education
MS in Educational Leadership
Professional and Graduate Studies
MA in Education
Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and Development
Ed.S in Educational Leadership
2021 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.