Can I Become a School Principal With Only a Bachelor’s Degree?

Serving your community as a school principal is a great way to advance your educational career. You’ll still be a role model for children in your school, but you’ll step up your responsibilities and take on administrative duties. You could be the person who leads your school in a better direction, improves staff morale or makes students happy to come in the building. However, it takes hard work and a good education to become a school principal. 


To work as a classroom teacher, you must become licensed. Principals face similar requirements in most states. Some regions of the country might require an advanced degree for new principals. If you live in one of these states, you can still achieve your dream of becoming a school leader. Consider working as a teacher while earning your master’s in education leadership, or look for schools where you can work without a license.

Public Schools

State-funded schools are required to follow the state’s licensure requirements. If you have your heart set on working at a public school, you’ll need to find a state that will give you a license with only a bachelor’s degree. Of course, many school districts want well-educated leadership, so once you find a job, you can get support to earn a higher degree. Many areas will pay for your classes, and many advanced education degrees are designed to work with the regular school year.

Charter Schools

With school voucher programs growing, charter schools are becoming more popular. For example, North Carolina is considering opening an additional sixty-two charter schools next academic year, and most states are seeing similar rises in numbers. Charter programs are eager to offer public school alternatives and embrace dynamic new professionals. For principals with only a bachelor’s degree, this means a chance to break into education administration, especially if you have unique experiences. Depending on the state, charter school administrators are subject to the same licensure requirements as public schools, so check with your state.

Private Schools

In most states, a private school can hire any employees that it wants, making parochial schools a great option for potential principals with a bachelor’s degree. Private schools offer a great variety of administrative salaries. You can join a newly opened school and build up experience then find yourself with a six-figure job offer from an elite school. If you’re strongly religious, you might enjoy the private experience more than working in a public school.

Your future job as a principal will be tough. You’ll have to balance student, parent and teacher needs with your overall budget and state laws. You must be charismatic, personable, good with finances and well-organized. With only a bachelor’s degree in education, administration or leadership, your career options might be limited. However, you can still find schools that need strong, inspirational administrators. if you want to be a school principal, you can make it happen!