Assistant principals spend years learning, gaining experience and testing to get to their position. Becoming an assistant principal generally requires at least a master's degree in education, administration, leadership or a related field, as well as a state-issued license or certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, assistant principals typically also have extensive experience in teaching.
Become a Teacher
Get a bachelor's degree in a subject you would be comfortable teaching, such as algebra or biology. To become a teacher, candidates must complete a mandatory training period and apply for certification or a license in their state. The length of training varies, but usually involves hands-on experience working as a student teacher. The BLS notes that states may require applicants to pass an exam on the subject they wish to teach, or a general assessment exam. Details for each state can be found through Teach.org.
Scout for Opportunities
The University of Scranton suggests accepting different teaching positions over the course of a few years, gaining experience in dealing with various age groups and developing your lesson plans accordingly. In addition, find opportunities to put your leadership and managerial skills into action. For example, you may join planning committees at your school or volunteer to organize school or community projects. Use these activities to practice motivating others and to establish professional relationships.
Further Your Credentials
Assistant principals typically need a master's degree, but furthering your education will put you ahead of competition. According to the University of Scranton, principals often go on to earn a doctoral degree. Apply for any other credentials required by your state, such as the professional educator's license as a school administrator that the North Carolina State Board of Education requires. Some states have no additional requirements. For example, assistant principals in Kansas only need a master's degree and a valid teaching license.
Battle the Competition
Assistant principals can advance to become the principal of a school or the superintendent of a district. However, opportunities should be concentrated in certain regions of the country between 2012 and 2022. According to the BLS, demand for principals and assistants comes from increases in the number of students enrolling in school. It expects student enrollment to increase in the West and South, decrease in the Northeast and remain stable in the Midwest from 2012 to 2022.