Program Administrator Certification

The Program Administrator Certification program at SPU prepares candidates for administrative positions in a school district central office, resource center, or other administrative center. The study of current research and best practices will enable you to become an effective administrator in a time when such leaders are being asked to facilitate positive change at all levels of the educational system.

Who Should Pursue This Certificate

To be eligible for the Program Administrator Certification program, you must have a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, as well as at least one year of documented successful school, district, or school-site experience. However, applicants are not required to hold a Residency Teacher Certificate or an Educational Staff Associate Certificate. Individuals who hold a master's degree or other advanced degree do not need to complete a second master's degree in order to obtain certification as a program administrator.

Others who may be interested in this certificate are holders of Principal or ESA certificates who wish to expand their understanding of central office administrative roles and responsibilities.

Program Components

This program is identical to that of the Principal Certification program, with the exception of the location and content of the internship. The Program Administrator Certification program requires 30 credits, which includes seven core courses and an internship.

Major Core

  • EDAD 6580   Leadership in Education (3)
  • EDAD 6581   Leadership for School Culture (3)
  • EDAD 6584   School Finance (3)
  • EDAD 6585   School Law (3)
  • EDAD 6586   Human Resources Management (3)
  • EDAD 6588   Supervision of Instruction (3)
  • EDAD 6589   Engaging Communities (3)


The Program Administrator internship (9 credits, 3 per quarter) allows you to engage in leadership and administrative activities under the supervision of a mentor administrator in an administrative or district office. Over the course of a full school year, you will acquire and practice skills that are crucial to your future success as an administrator. In conjunction with SPU's Educational Leadership faculty, you are responsible for securing the site mentor and district approval for your internship. While the Program Administrator internship requires 540 hours of experience during the entire school year, it is designed to be completed in conjunction with a full-time contract. It is not necessary to take a leave of absence.


Upon successful completion of the program, you will be recommended to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for a Residency Program Administrator Certificate in Washington state. Most states have reciprocal agreements that will allow certificates to be transferred between states.

Locations and Schedule

The seven core courses for the Program Administrator Certification program are offered in-person on the main campus and online via a synchronous meeting platform. Both in-person and synchronous online classes meet one evening per week from 4:40 to 7:15 p.m. Classes offered during the Summer Session meet at SPU during weekdays between late June and mid-August. All seven core courses are offered during the day in the summer over a two-year sequence for a “summers only” option.

Option for a Second Certificate

Applicants who have earned Residency Program Administrator certification from SPU may earn a Principal Certificate by completing 6 additional internship credits. A valid teaching or ESA certificate is required for those who wish to add a Principal Certificate. Students must complete all coursework for the second certificate within three years of earning the previous certificate.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to Graduate Admissions:

  • Application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Official transcript documenting bachelor's degree (including official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended).
  • Official transcript documenting master's degree (including official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended).
    • Note, to be considered official, transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope from the college or university. Transcripts may be delivered to Graduate Admissions as long as they remain in their original, unopened university envelope. Electronic transcripts received via eSCRIP-SAFE or Parchment Exchange are also acceptable.
    • If your degree is not from a US college or university, please arrange for your transcript to be evaluated by an accredited transcript-evaluation company, such as FIS or WES. Have the report forwarded directly to Graduate Admissions. 
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Résumé.
  • Two letters of recommendation (one supervisory, one professional).
    • A recommendation must come from the current administrative supervisor (principal and/or other school administrator) who has direct knowledge of the applicants abilities and potential for a leadership position and will recommend support of the applicant's pursuit of administrative certification.
    • The second letter of recommendation must come from another school administrator or if possible a district–level administrator who affirms the applicant’s abilities and potential for an administrative internship.
  • District Acknowledgement of Future Administrative Internship Form is required for all applicants pursuing an internship for a Washington State Administrative certificate. 

Application Deadlines

Autumn Quarter: August 15
Winter Quarter: November 15
Spring Quarter: February 15
Summer Session: May 15

Faculty Chair

John B. Bond

Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Supervision; Chair of Educational Leadership
EdD, Seattle Pacific University

Phone: 206-281-2554
Office: Peterson Hall 419


Graduate Admissions

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Because your needs are specific to fit your career, our graduate programs are not “one size fits all.” Graduate Admissions is your source for information on all SPU graduate programs, as well as admissions and events.

Did You Know?

You can work on your Administrative Pro-Certificate and an SPU Superintendent Certificate at the same time — and at no extra cost. In addition, three credits of your Administrative Pro-Cert credits may be applied toward an SPU doctoral program.