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

Written by Alex Dorian

walking upstairs in school

When you think of Minnesota’s education system, you envision an economy on the rise.

As a teacher, you’re not aloof to the challenges facing you or your students. However, such challenges do not discourage you or your colleagues from implementing solutions.

For example, Fox reported that 19 of the state’s schools have no students who are proficient in math. The Minnesota Department of Education (DOE) found that only 49 percent of the state’s students were proficient in reading in 2022. Even less (42 percent) were proficient in math. In response, teachers, administrators, and even organizations outside of the education system are proposing solutions to increase math and reading proficiency.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota is launching two programs in partnership with local school districts: the American Reading Company (ARC) and Edmentum. ARC first assesses a student’s reading level and then teaches that student how to select age-appropriate books of interest to them. Edmentum demonstrates how reading and math can help students solve problems in their day-to-day lives, crossing the bridge between the classroom and the real world.

Of course, the Boys and Girls Clubs can’t do this on its own. Students throughout the state need teachers like you with their own ideas on how to prepare students for the rigors of the real world. Stepping into the role of an administrator can be daunting, but what better time than now?

The question is, where do you start? In this article, we’ll walk you through how to become a principal and a superintendent in Minnesota. It all starts with getting your documentation in order.

How to Become a Principal or Superintendent in Minnesota – School-level Educational Leadership

Minnesota issues three administrative licenses:

The prerequisites for achieving any of the aforementioned licenses are the same. The chief difference lies in the type of internship you pursue. Overall, to become a licensed Superintendent or Principal in Minnesota, you must:

You’ll submit your application for the administrator license to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). PELSB processes all administrative licensing applications. After acquiring your license, you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $100 to the Board of School Administrators (BOSA).  

Step 1. Document Your Teaching Experience

Whether you want to become a principal or a superintendent, you need a total of three years of teaching experience as:

For example, if you worked as a school social worker for one year and a teacher for two, you’ve fulfilled the first prerequisite for the Principal or Superintendent licenses. To prove you’ve acquired this experience, obtain a signature from an authorized school official. It also wouldn’t hurt to assemble:

Once you obtain your verifying signature and documentation, you can start looking for a master’s or doctoral program in education leadership.

Step 2. Find a Master’s or Doctoral Program in Education Leadership 

Minnesota requires aspiring principals and superintendents to complete at least 60 semester hours of graduate or post-graduate work. These semesters can be obtained through any education-focused master’s or doctoral program such as:

Any of these programs would enable you to develop the core competencies Minnesota requires its principals and superintendents to possess. These skills include the ability to:

All of the competencies Minnesota requires are listed here. Perusing the list will help you find programs offering courses fulfilling the state’s needs.

Step 3. Intern under a Principal or Superintendent

The chief difference between obtaining a Principal or Superintendent license is your internship.

You must complete the 320 hours of field experience within 12 consecutive months. Within that time, you must obtain at least 40 hours of experience at each school level – 40 hours in an elementary school, 40 in a middle school, and 40 in a high school.

Once you complete your internship, you’re ready to send in your application to PELSB.

Step 4. Send in Your Licensing Application to PELSB

Now all you have to do is send in your application to PELSB. Before you mail in your application, make sure you have the following signatures and documentation in order:

If you choose to send in the application through snail mail, you can send it to PELSB at 1021 Bandana Blvd. East, Suite 222, Saint Paul, MN 55108-5111.

Once you’re working as a principal or superintendent, what could you expect to earn? What is the projected demand for these positions?

School Principal Salary and Jobs in Minnesota

Principals in Minnesota earn a median $126,580 per year – right on par with the national median. How much you’ll earn partly depends on where you work. Here are the median annual earnings broken down by metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area:

  • Duluth, MN-WI: $119,610
  • Mankato-North Mankato: $130,040
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington: $127,520
  • Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $98,870
  • Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $100,220
  • Rochester: $124,650
  • Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $124,650
  • Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $99,750
  • Cloud: $122,800

Job openings for principals and superintendents in Minnesota look steady. Between 2020 and 2030, these positions will grow 6.1 percent, which is just around the average for all other occupations. 

Superintendent Salary and Jobs in Minnesota

Superintendents throughout Minnesota report a median income of $150,430 annually. That will get you far no matter where you live in the state. We’ve also broken down the median yearly salary of superintendents living in the following metropolitan areas:

  • Duluth, MN-WI: $124,700
  • Mankato-North Mankato: $130,040
  • Minneapolis Paul-Bloomington: $160,630
  • Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $125,290
  • Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $125,550
  • Rochester: $124,730
  • Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $128,830
  • Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area: $126,040
  • Cloud: $126,040

Educational leadership Degree Options in Minnesota: Doctorate and Master’s in Educational Leadership

Throughout this process, finding the right school to get your master’s or doctorate in educational leadership can be the toughest part. Don’t turn to Google – we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a list of all the colleges and universities in Minnesota offering degrees in educational leadership, education administration, and school improvement. Good luck with your application, and we wish you a fruitful career!

Concordia University-Saint Paul

CSP Global

concordia university saint paul

MA.Ed in Educational Leadership

Martin Luther College

Graduate Studies

Martin Luther College


Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

School of Education

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

MA in Educational Leadership

Also offers:

Certificate in Catholic School Leadership
Certificate of Teaching Training and Leading with Technology
Executive Ed.D in Leadership
Ed.D in Leadership

University of St. Thomas

School of Education
Campus, online

University of St. Thomas


Also offers:

Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Learning

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 March 2023.

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