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Principal PreK-12

  • Certificate
  • Online
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  • Program Overview

    The online Gannon University Principal Certification program prepares educational leaders for certification in grades PreK-12.  This portion of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's (PDE) certification process includes 21 credits of coursework that can be completed in one academic year.  Candidates are also required to complete three years of classroom teaching and successfully pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment Praxis before applying to PDE for principal certification. 


    The 21-credit program is made up of five online academic classes, course concurrent internships in the candidate's school district, and culminating portfolio and internship projects. PDE requires 360 hours of supervised internship, which are scheduled throughout the program.


    • Candidates can begin in any semester.
    • All classes are online, and internships take place in the school district.
    • Courses are offered two per semester in 7-week sessions.  This unique format allows the candidate to focus on one class at a time.
    • Four of the five classes have concurrent internships, and the remaining 235-hour internship course is completed in the summer.
    • The program can be completed in one full-time year.

    You will experience

    What makes the Gannon Principal Certification Program different?

    • An online program that gives busy professionals the opportunity to complete their coursework with much more flexibility than a traditional face-to-face program
    • Tuition of $565/credit for the 2023-2024 academic year with no additional fees.
    • A 21-credit program
    • A cohort model with a group of educators that offers networking opportunities with other future education administrators
    • Adjunct faculty members who are also educational practitioners.  This provides a pragmatic link between theoretical applications and present-day instructional practices and regulations.  Gannon's adjunct faculty is comprised of superintendents and principals who present a realistic and firsthand view of theoretical models that are valid and applicable in today's classrooms.
    • Personal contact with Gannon University advisors throughout the internship process, meeting face-to-face and online on a regular basis.

    You will achieve

    The mission of the Gannon University Principal Preparation Program is to prepare principals as instructional leaders who effectively and ethically bring about continuous school improvements that result in increased student achievement.  

    Upon successful completion of this online principal preparation program, candidates will have completed the coursework required for certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    Exit Criteria

    • All required coursework as indicated on the program plan of study must be completed
    • All course grades must be B- or higher
    • Final GPA for the program must be 3.0 or higher

    Steps to Certification

    • Provides a chief school administrator's verification of the completion of three (3) years of relevant professional experience defined as "professional experience in an educational setting that is related to the instructional process."
    • Pass the required Praxis exam. Currently, the exam is 6990, School Licensure Assessment 
    • Apply for certification 
    • Gannon will then recommend candidates for certification, and PDE will make the decision to approve and issue certification.

    You Will Study

    Online Coursework

    Fall Semester Session I (August - October) 

    • GEDU 720, Quality Teaching, Continuous Improvement, Professional Accountability (3 credits)
    • GEDU 725, Principal Introductory Internship 35 hours (1 credit)

    Fall Semester Session II (October - December)

    • GEDU 722, School Financial Management (3 credits)
    • GEDU 726, Finance Developmental Internship 35 hours (1 credit)

    Spring Semester Session I (January - March)

    • GEDU 730, Diverse Learner Competencies for School Leaders (2 credits)
    • GEDU 731, Diverse Learner Developmental Internship 35 hours (1 credit)

    Spring Semester Session II (March - May) 

    • GEDU 721, Principal as Agent of School Reform (3 credits)

    Summer Semester (May - August) 

    • GEDU 723, Legal Aspects of Educational Administration (2 credits)
    • GEDU 727, Legal Aspects Internship 20 hours (1 credit)
    • GEDU 728, Principal Mastery Internship 235 hours (3 credits)
    • GEDU 732, The Principal Professional Portfolio (1 credit)


    Many school districts and employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees who choose to further their education.  If your employer provides this perk, Gannon University offers the following plans:

    • If your employer offers a 100% tuition reimbursement program, you may defer the balance of your semester bill until 45 days after the end of the semester. A signed reimbursement form and $100 down payment is required by the semester bill due date. No interest will be charged.
    • If your employer offers a partial reimbursement program, you may defer your employer's portion of the tuition until 45 days after the end of the semester. A signed reimbursement form and payment for the amount not covered by your employer is required by the semester bill due date. No interest will be charged.

    To utilize this deferment option, please submit a signed school district reimbursement form and your applicable down payment by the semester bill due date. Payment can be made on your student account in Gannon Self-Service and school district reimbursement forms may be submitted to

    Program Options

    • Principal PreK-12 Certification
  • State Authorization

    View Gannon's State Authorization for more information on SARA and state authorization. Have a complaint about a distance education program or courses? Read the state contact information document to learn more about filing a complaint.

    Student Success

    Gannon's Online Engagement Coordinator facilitates our online new student orientations, implements strategies to ensure that online students are active in their online courses, and provides general online student support through a variety of high-touch methods to engage students and support student retention efforts. Gannon online students can reach out with general questions about online learning or how to remotely access Gannon's comprehensive student services.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of instructional, strategic, and operational leadership.
  2. Design and lead staff in professional development.
  3. Evaluate data to inform decision making.
  4. Demonstrate the impact of change within a school environment.
Katie Tiefenthal

Katie Tiefenthal Principal Certification PK-12

“I feel strongly that the courses and content in the Gannon University Principal Program helped me realize my potential in the role of a principal and grow in confidence through the assigned readings, discussion boards, and course projects…...The concurrent internships throughout the program allowed for real-life situations and valuable conversations to take place while working through each course. It was nice to be able to apply the newly acquired knowledge in meetings with colleagues and stakeholders. This alone was a confidence boost and made me feel at ease when meeting or interviewing a variety of stakeholders…… I am so thankful that I took this leap of faith and joined the Principal Program through Gannon University. I can continue my career confident and with the knowledge needed to be successful in this role for my students.”

Kelly Zimmerman Principal Certification Program

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  • Online Learning Readiness Assessment

    Online instruction can be different from instruction in the classroom.  Before enrolling in an online program at Gannon, you should first assess your readiness for stepping into the online learning environment. Your results from the online questionnaire will help you identify the requirements necessary to succeed at online learning and areas you may need to explore before starting your online program.