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

Written by Alex Dorian

principal and student talking and walking in the hallway

Saying Nebraska’s education system is facing a contentious time would be an understatement.

Across the state, principals, superintendents, and educators are grappling with a range of proposals that will fundamentally change educational leadership across the state. Censorship worries are tempting educators to switch careers. Others wonder of how private school vouchers would affect the public school system.

In addition to these concerns, Gov. Jim Pillen and several state senators proposed a whopping $2.5 billion legislative package aimed at revamping Nebraska’s education system. The proposals include:

It’s a somewhat chaotic time. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how state leadership will try to overhaul Nebraskan education. That’s where you come in.

Assuming leadership in times like these takes guts. Retaining that leadership takes fortitude. If you’ve seriously considered a career as a principal or a superintendent, now is the time to start your career. You can establish order, and be a confident voice amidst the cacophony.

Where do you start? What would be the foundation of your career as an administrator? In this article, we’ll review how to become a principal and a superintendent in Nebraska.

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

In Nebraska, there are two certificates you can obtain to work as a principal or a superintendent:

The key difference between the Professional and Standard Certificates is that applicants for the former must complete at least 60 graduate credit hours in an approved educational leadership or administration program. Another option is to complete a doctorate or educational specialist program. Otherwise, the prerequisites for the Standard and Professional Certificates are the same. Here’s the process for obtaining both.

Step 1. Document Two Years of Teaching Experience

First, you must hold a Nebraska Standard or Professional Teaching Certificate to qualify for one of the administrative certificates. In conjunction, you need to submit verified evidence that you worked for at least two years as one of the following:

You can verify your experience by filling out a Verification of Employment Experience form. Fill out the name of the school, the years during which you taught, and receive a signature from your district superintendent or one of its board members.

Step 2. Obtain an Advanced Degree in Educational Leadership or Educational Administration

This is the biggest piece of the puzzle. A master’s or doctorate’s in educational leadership or educational administration is the foundation for getting your Standard and Professional Administrator Certificates.

As mentioned, you must complete at least 60 graduate credit hours to qualify for the Professional Administrative Certificate. Successful completion exceeds the minimum qualifications for receiving the Standard Administrative Certificate, so it’s in your best interest to pursue a more intensive master’s or doctorate program. Qualifying majors include:

After completing your major, you must retain the official transcripts. They’re proof that you did the necessary work to earn your certificate.

Step 3. Complete an Institutional Verification Form

In addition to submitting your official transcripts, you must also complete an institutional verification form signed by a certification officer from the college or university you attended. The officer verifies:

After documenting your education experience, you’re ready to take the requisite Praxis assessments.

Step 4. Take the Praxis Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision Assessment

Nebraska requires aspiring principals to submit a signed endorsement from Praxis with their application. To receive this endorsement, you must pass the Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision test. You can prep for this exam with a written study companion or buy a practice test.

A qualifying score is 146. Earn that score, and Praxis will give you a signed endorsement. With that step out of the way, you can pursue additional training Nebraska requires.

Step 5. Complete Human Relations Training

Assuming you already have your Standard or Professional Teaching Certificate, you’ve likely already completed the Human Relations and Special Education Training requirements. However, if you received your certificate before July 21st, 2022, you may have to take the trainings if you didn’t complete them as part of your initial certification.

You can find a list of upcoming human relations courses here. These courses instruct you on managing dehumanizing biases, using HR tactics to develop positive learning experiences, and empathizing with individuals from different backgrounds.

Step 6. Complete Special Education Training

You have two options to fulfill your Special Education Requirement:

  1. Verify that you’ve worked with students possessing certain disabilities throughout your time as a teacher.
  2. Receive specialized training on how to facilitate environments in which students with disabilities may thrive.

If you plan on using your experience to fulfill the Special Education Requirement, you must complete what’s called a “Narrative.” The Narrative describes the skills you’ve acquired through instructing students with disabilities. Your supervisor provides written affirmation that you possess the following knowledge:

The Special Education Training is the last pre-application requirement on your checklist. Now, you can submit your application for the Standard or Professional Administrator Certificate through the TEACH system.

Step 7. Submit Your Application and Fee through the TEACH system

The TEACH system is where you’ll submit applications for new certifications as well as renewals. You can use your existing credentials to login, and then start a new application for your Standard or Professional certificate.

After submitting your application, you’ll receive updates through the TEACH system regarding the status of your certification. If you want any updates, feel free to contact the Department of Education directly.

Step 8. Superintendent Option: Receive a Superintendent Endorsement through Praxis

As we mentioned earlier, there’s an additional requirement for those who wish to become superintendents. You’ll fulfill all of the aforementioned prerequisites with one key difference: You’ll take the Praxis School Superintendent Assessment. A passing score is 162 – 16 points higher than the Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision test. Praxis has a ton of study resources for aspiring superintendents, so take full advantage of them before you schedule your exam.

If you pass the superintendent exam, you’ll receive an endorsement through Praxis. Include that endorsement in your application through the TEACH system.

School Principal and Superintendent Salary and Jobs in Nebraska

Whether you receive your Standard or Professional Administrator Certificate, you’ll make a good living for yourself.

For one thing, educational leadership roles are expected to grow 7.7 percent between 2020 and 2030. That’s slightly above the average for all other occupations. Regardless of which educational leadership role you step into, you’ll have work – so don’t fret about your employment prospects.

As far as pay goes, principals in Nebraska earn a median annual income of $118,930 per year, which is comparable to the national median. You’re likely going to earn a six-figure salary in a low-cost state, which will get you very far. Here’s the median annual salary for principals broken down by area:

What about superintendents? These folks earn a median annual salary of $126,040 – about $8,000 more than principals. Again, you’re going to set yourself up very well. Like principals, your pay will largely depend on where your district is in the state. Here’s a breakdown of the median annual salaries for superintendents:

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

All the pieces are set, and it’s an exciting time to step into an educational leadership role. Like we said, your education will be the foundation on which you build your career as a principal or superintendent. We’ve assembled a list of all the master’s and doctorate degrees in educational leadership and administration throughout the state.

Concordia University Nebraska

Accreditation: HLC

Concordia University Nebraska

M.Ed in Educational Administration with Principal Endorsement

Creighton University

Graduate School

Creighton University

MS in Educational Leadership

Also offers:

Graduate Certificate in Catholic School Leadership
Ed.D in Interdisciplinary Leadership
Graduate Certificate in K-12 Educational Leadership through Sports
MS in Educational Leadership-Teacher Leadership

Doane University

College of Education Graduate

Doane University

M.Ed in Educational Leadership

Midland University

Walker School of Education

Midland University

M.Ed in Leadership Teaching and Learning

Also offers:

MS in Sport Administration and 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.

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