As Central Texas continues to grow, the need for qualified campus administrators will continue to rise. Austin Community College District (ACC) will launch a new Principal Certification Program through the Continuing Education (CE) Division to help prepare K-12 educators to become principals and assistant principals. 

The alternative certification will offer face-to-face classes that accommodate working professionals. The program has been approved by the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Educator Certification. It will consist of six content courses (totaling 240 clock hours) and a practicum in a Texas Education Agency-approved private or charter school campus and overseen by a campus principal and an ACC-trained field supervisor (160 clock hours). 

The program is cost competitive, with a tuition of $6,500 for the coursework and practicum. To apply, candidates must have a Texas teaching certificate, two years of experience, a master’s degree, and must pass applicable state exams. 

The Level I Certificate was created in response to a CE Division survey of leaders in 28 Central Texas school districts — superintendents, human resource directors, and current principals. Of the 497 survey respondents, 75% anticipate a principal/assistant principal shortage in the next five years, 100% plan to promote the growth and development of principals from within their district, and 82% of principals surveyed said they knew of at least one staff member they would recommend to the certification program. The median salary for principals in the Central Texas area is $81,938.

The Continuing Education Division expects to recommend 30 candidates for principal certification per year by the end of the second year. The first cohort is expected to start January 2024.