How to become a principal

To become a principal in a publicly funded school in Ontario, you need:

  • an undergraduate degree
  • five years of teaching experience
  • certification in three divisions (primary, junior, intermediate, senior)
  • two Specialist or Honour Specialist additional qualifications or a master's degree
  • complete the principal's qualification program

Principal’s qualification program

The principals’ qualification program is offered by Ontario universities, teachers’ federations and principals’ associations. The program provides educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective school administrators.

Read the principal’s qualification program guide from the Ontario College of Teachers, the self-regulatory body that certifies, governs and regulates teachers and principals. Find a list of course providers.

Learn more

Find out more about becoming a principial in Ontario:

Resources for current principals

If you are currently certified to work as a principal or vice-principal in a publicly funded school in Ontario, find information below to assist you in your leadership role.


The following associations represent the interests of and provide services to principals and vice-principals in Ontario’s publicly funded education system:

Ontario College of Teachers

The Ontario College of Teachers is the independent, professional body that licenses, governs and regulates the teaching profession. The College sets and regulates the qualifications and standards of conduct of teachers and principals.

The College's website provides information about professional development opportunities for prospective and current principals and vice-principals, including the Principal's Qualification Program and the Supervisory Officer's Qualification Program.

Supervisory officer’s qualification program

The supervisor officer’s qualification program is designed to prepare school administrators become supervisory officers in Ontario. The program consists of four modules that address the challenges of the supervisor officer’s role.

PPM 152: Terms and conditions of employment of principals and vice-principals and effective practices guide

PPM 152: Terms and Conditions of Employment of Principals and Vice-principals sets out provincial standards of practice to help school boards establish the terms and conditions of employment of principals and vice-principals that are consistent province-wide.