How to Become an Education Administrator in Montana

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Learn how to become an Education Administrator or School Principal in Montana.

Montana’s Office of Public Instruction offers Class 3 Administrator licenses to qualified persons who wish to serve as school principals, superintendents, and subject-area supervisors in Montana schools.

Academic Obligations

School principal:
You must possess 1 of the following degrees:

  • Master’s degree in school administration from an accredited institution, plus graduate from the appropriate state-authorized, accredited administrative-level preparation program
  • Master’s degree and 24 graduate credit hours from a school administrator preparation program, with courses in the following areas:
    • School Leadership
    • Supervision
    • School and Community Relations
    • Montana School Law
    • Educational Leadership and Curriculum at the appropriate level (elementary or secondary)

You must also receive a recommendation for endorsement from your educator preparation program official.

You must possess an education specialist or doctoral degree in education leadership from an accredited institution’s educator preparation program. You must also possess at least 18 graduate semester credit hours in school administration, with at least 12 credits beyond the master’s degree level, with classes in the following areas:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Facilities Planning and Policy
  • Personnel and Labor Relations
  • Community and Board Relations
  • Policy Development
  • Montana School Law (at least 3 semester credits)
  • Montana School Finance (at least 3 semester credits)

You must also receive a recommendation for endorsement from your educator preparation program official.


No assessment is required to acquire administrative licensure in Montana.

Classroom Teaching Experience Requirements

For certification at the School principal level (K-8, 5-12 or K-12), you must have at least 3 years of teaching experience at an accredited K-12 school.

For certification at the Superintendent level, you must meet the obligations for a School principal endorsement, have 3 years of teaching experience, and have at least 1 year of administrative experience as a School principal.

Document and Application Requirements

Once you have completed all the administrative licensure obligations in Montana, complete the Application for a Montana Class 1, 2, or 3 Educator License. Sign the application in front of a notary public. Along with the completed application, see to it that the following items have been included and actions have been taken:

  • Possess official transcripts forwarded to the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) from every college and university you attended
  • Ask your college to complete the Institutional Recommendation Form and send it to OPI
  • Enclose the proper application fees
  • Finish the fingerprint/background check (see below)

The above mentioned should be sent to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Attn: Educator Licensure, P.O. Box 202501, Helena, MT 59620-2501.

Background Check Requirements

If you apply for an initial Class 3 Montana license, you must successfully complete the fingerprint/background check process, conducted by the Montana Department of Justice. Visit your local law enforcement agency and request that they fingerprint you. Finish the fingerprint card they provide and send the completed card, along with a check for $29.25 payable to the Montana Department of Justice, to Montana DOJ, P.O. Box 201403, Helena, MT 59620-1403.

If you do not receive a response from OPI, your background check/fingerprints have cleared. If there is a problem, OPI will make contact with you with info on how to proceed.

State Contacts

For additional info on authorized education administrator preparation programs in Montana, make contact with the institutions offering these programs.

For additional info on administrative licensure in Montana, make contact with OPI at 406-444-3150.

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