Long lauded for its highly educated workforce, Vermont has always been an education-forward state, and its public school system is no exception. In fact, Vermont has consistently earned itself a Top 10 spot on the lists of esteemed publications like WalletHub and Forbes for its K-12 school system.
The Green Mountain State has plenty to brag about, including a much higher spending per pupil than the national average ($20,838 vs. $13,494 as of FY2020) and the lowest pupil-to-teacher ratio in the country. It also consistently outperforms most states on issues like performance, safety, and instructor credentials.
This, of course, is exciting news for Vermont educators whose career plans include staying put in the same educational system where they first earned their chops. It’s even better news for educators like you with plans to explore the administrative side of education. There’s plenty of room to grow and make a difference outside of the classroom here, in principal and superintendent roles. A bigger paycheck, more career opportunities, and near-endless ways to continue to effect positive change in Vermont’s public school system await you in educational administration and leadership.
Whether you’re seeking a master’s, educational specialist, or doctorate degree, a graduate degree will allow you to gain the skills and knowledge you’ll need to make the transition from educator to administrator in Vermont and continue your career-long commitment to the state’s educational system.
How to Become a Principal in Vermont – School-level Educational Leadership
Building-level leadership will allow you to commit your time and energy to supporting school teachers and staff, developing new curriculum standards, counseling students, and more.
To become an assistant principal or principal in Vermont, you’ll need to add a Principal endorsement to your Level II Professional Educator license through the Vermont Agency of Education.
But first you’ll need to have at least three years of PK-12 teaching experience as a licensed educator. Once you meet this requirement, you can begin taking the steps to become a principal in Vermont.
Step 1. Earn a Minimum of a Master’s Degree and Complete Coursework and Practical Experiences That Align with the Core Leadership Standards for Vermont Educators
Principals in Vermont must earn, at a minimum, a master’s degree in educational leadership or administration and complete specific leadership coursework and at least 300 hours of supervised field experience.
Fortunately, there are many master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral programs that include all of the required coursework and practical experiences necessary to earn a Principal endorsement. The Vermont Agency of Education maintains a list of approved programs in the state.
Just some of the programs designed to prepare principals include:
If you already hold a master’s degree or higher, you can also choose to complete a post-graduate certificate program that includes all of the coursework and practical experiences necessary for the Principal endorsement. Many of these programs are offered in partially or fully online formats that provide outstanding convenience and practicality for busy, working educators.
Step 2. Take and Pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment
Educational Testing Service (ETS) develops and produces the School Leadership Series Assessment (Test Code 6990). This exam, which can be taken online or at a testing center near you, will test your knowledge on the following topics:
Step 3. Add a Principal Endorsement to Your Teaching License and Maintain Your License
You must apply for an administrator endorsement —Code 91 – Principal— through the Online Licensing System, ALiS. Adding a new endorsement to your Vermont teaching license requires an academic review process. Once the academic review process is complete (about 4-6 weeks), you’ll receive approval from the Agency of Education.
Your Level II Professional Educator license with Principal endorsement must be renewed every five years upon the completion of at least six credits (90 hours) of professional learning in your endorsement area. At least two of the six credits must align with the knowledge and performance standards of your Principal endorsement.
School Principal Salary and Jobs in Vermont
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), principals in Vermont earned a median salary of $100,760 as of May 2022. Top earners in this profession earned about $105,480 during this time.
Principals in the Burlington-South Burlington metro area earned more than the state median, at $104,530 as of May 2022. The top-earning principals in this metro area earned one of the highest average salaries in the state, at $129,670.
Principals in both the Northern and Southern Vermont non-metro areas reported similar median salaries as of May 2022, at $99,460 and $99,480, respectively.
How to Become a Superintendent in Vermont – District-Level Educational Leadership
To become an assistant superintendent or superintendent in Vermont, you’ll need to add a Superintendent endorsement to your Level II Professional Educator license through the Vermont Agency of Education.
But first you’ll need to have at least six years of experience that includes at least three years of PK-12 teaching experience as a licensed educator.
Once you meet this requirement, you can begin taking the steps to become a superintendent in Vermont.
Step 1. Complete a Minimum of Three Years of Educational Administration as a Licensed Administrator
Only licensed administrators in Vermont can add a Superintendent endorsement to their license. These include:
If you hold one of the above administrator endorsements, you will have already satisfied the education and exam requirements and have met the Core Leadership Standards for Vermont Educators to become a superintendent in Vermont.
Therefore, once you have completed at least three years of experience in one or more of the above administrator roles, you can apply for the Superintendent endorsement.
Step 2. Add a Superintendent Endorsement to Your Teaching License and Maintain Your License
You must apply for an administrator endorsement —Code 90 – Superintendent — through the Online Licensing System, ALiS. Adding a new endorsement to your Vermont teaching license requires an academic review process. Once the academic review process is complete (about 4-6 weeks), you’ll receive approval from the Agency of Education.
Your Level II Professional Educator license with Superintendent endorsement must be renewed every five years upon the completion of at least six credits (90 hours) of professional learning in your endorsement area. At least two of the six credits must align with the knowledge and performance standards of your Superintendent endorsement.
Superintendent Salary and Jobs in Vermont
According to the BLS, superintendents in Vermont earned about $129,670 as of May 2022. Those in the Burlington-South Burlington metro area reported a slightly higher average salary for superintendents during this time, at $133,270, while those in the state’s Northern and Southern nonmetropolitan areas reported average salaries of $122,500 and $125,950, respectively.
Educational Leadership Degree Options in Vermont: Doctorate and Master’s in Educational Leadership
Positive job projections for Vermont’s educational administrators and leaders mean plenty of exciting opportunities in the coming years. In the ten years leading up to 2030, the number of jobs for Vermont’s educational leaders like principals and superintendents will increase by about 7.3 percent. During this period, you can expect to see about 70 annual job openings in this field due to a blend of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.
Plentiful master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral programs are available, both in Vermont and across the nation, so your move from the classroom and into administration is easier and more accessible than ever. Whether your career plans include a focus on building-level leadership as a school principal or you want to explore where a career as a district superintendent can take you, there’s many programs to get you where you want to be.
And because many of these graduate programs in educational administration and leadership are offered in convenient and flexible online formats, busy, working educators like you can reach your career goals while still meeting your professional and personal responsibilities.
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.