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

Written by Rebecca Turley

utah school bus on a rural road

You’re among Utah’s bold, visionary public school educators. Your dedication to the state’s public school system runs deep, and your commitment is unwavering. And thanks to the tireless work of you and your fellow educators, Utah’s graduation rates continue to climb, reaching 88% as of 2021 – that’s a 6% gain in the last eight years.

Your laser-sharp focus on student achievement mirrors the state’s commitment to its PreK-12 public school population. Between 2014 and 2021, the state increased its per-pupil spending by about $1,960, reaching $10,299 per student in 2021.

But you work is far from over, and your career trajectory has educational leadership and administration written all over it. Now it’s time for you to begin exploring the exciting opportunities available in educational administration. Whether you have your sights set on becoming a principal or superintendent, a leadership position in the same system where you put down roots and made a name for yourself just makes sense. Now it’s time to earn the education that will propel your career in education to the next level.

A master’s, EdS, doctorate, or post-master’s certificate in educational leadership will allow you to climb the career ladder, enjoy a bigger paycheck, and continue to make a positive difference in the lives of Utah’s public school children.

How to Become a Principal in Utah – School-level Educational Leadership

To become a principal in Utah, you’ll need to earn a School Leadership (K-12) license through the Utah State Board of Education.

But first you’ll need to hold a Utah Professional Educator License or Utah Associate Educator License. Once you meet this requirement, you’ll can start taking the necessary steps to become a principal in Utah.

Step 1. Earn a Minimum of a Master’s Degree and Complete a Board-Approved School Leadership Preparation Program

Before you can become a principal in Utah and earn a School Leadership license, you’ll need to earn, at a minimum, a master’s degree and complete a Board-approved school leadership preparation program. School leadership preparation programs are usually embedded into master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees, such as:

If you’ve already earned a master’s degree or above, you may also choose to complete a graduate certificate that includes an embedded school leadership preparation program. These programs include all of the necessary coursework and practical requirements for a School Leadership license in Utah. The credits earned in these graduate certificate programs can usually be transferred to an educational specialist or doctoral degree.

Step 2. Take and Pass the Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision Exam or the School Leaders Licensure Assessment

You can choose from one of two Praxis exams to become a principal in Utah:

Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision (5412)

This exam includes questions on the following topics:

School Leaders Licensure Assessment (6990)

This exam includes questions on the following topics:

You can take your chosen Praxis exam either online or at one of the testing centers located throughout the state.

Step 3. Apply for and Maintain Your School Leadership License

You will apply for your School Leadership license through the Utah Schools Information Management System (USIMS).

Your School Leadership license must be renewed every five years upon the completion and approval of at least 100 hours of professional learning activities.

School Principal Salary and Jobs in Utah

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), principals in Utah earned a median salary of $99,120 as of May 2021. The top-earning principals in the state – likely those with extensive experience – earned about $125,100 during this time.

Median salaries for principals in Utah according to metro area for this time included:

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

As of 2018, Utah superintendents are not required by law to be licensed. Some school districts require superintendents to hold a School Leadership license (see How to Become a Principal in Utah), similar to a principal, but many school districts do not require a license. Each school district sets its own superintendents education and experience requirements.

Utah law states that all superintendents in the state are appointed, and all work under two-year, renewable contracts.

Superintendent Salary and Jobs in Utah

According to the BLS, superintendents in Utah earned about $129,390 as of May 2021. Average salaries for superintendents were fairly consistent throughout the state’s metro areas during this time:

Educational Leadership Degree Options in Utah: EdS, Doctorate, and Master’s in Educational Leadership

Growth among principal and superintendent jobs in Utah in the coming years is downright impressive, so now may be the perfect time to consider advancing your career to educational administration and leadership. In the ten years leading up to 2030, the number of jobs among principals and superintendents in Utah is projected to increase by 21.6%, rising from 2,220 jobs in 2020 to 2,700 jobs in 2030.

During this time, the state expects to see about 220 annual job openings in educational administration and leadership due to a blend of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

It’s easier and more convenient than ever to become a principal or superintendent, thanks to a growing number of colleges and universities, both in Utah and throughout the country, that offer master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees in educational administration and leadership. Many of these programs are now offered in partially or fully online formats, which is ideal for today’s busy, working educators.

Brigham Young University

David O. McKay School of Education

brigham young university


Also offers:

Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Foundations

Western Governors University

School of Education|

western governors university

MS 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 March 2023.

Scroll to Top