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Do you plan on working in the education sector? Pursuing a career in education often extends past teaching and evolves into a role as a principal, education administrator, or another type of leadership position within schools. To prepare for this, our Administrative Services Credential program can help pave the way toward a fulfilling path that allows dedicated individuals to lead and provide for students and other educators of the future. 

Pursue a career in education today

The program helps participants to practice and learn the expected competencies as outlined by the California Administrator Performance Expectations (CAPEs). These include six standards which define what an education administrator should be able to fulfill in their day-to-day responsibilities. These include: 

  • Development and implementation of a shared vision
  • Instructional leadership
  • Management and learning environment
  • Family and community engagement
  • Ethics and integrity
  • External context and policy

Each of these standards have subsections that each candidate must learn, understand, practice, and uphold as a school administrator. In preparation for the California Administrator Performance Assessment (CalAPA), candidates must also meet certain requirements and deadlines. It includes enrolling in a Commission-approved preliminary administrative service program and completing three cycles of the CalAPA with passing standards1.

Administrator Program Guidelines Required by CalAPA

Per the requirements outlined by the CAPEs, the Administrative Services Credential program prepares candidates by following the guidelines with regards to structure and implementation. This includes: 

  • A program matrix that identifies where each CAPE is introduced, practiced, and assessed
  • Course syllabi illustrated which CAPEs are addressed in each class session and the activities implemented to familiarize candidates with the content
  • Program review exhibits that show the program’s administrative and support structure
  • Site visit team interviews to verify program oversight and implementation of program standards

Additional program components required through CalAPA include employing specific personnel to assist candidates with passing the three CalAPA cycles, coursework and fieldwork that includes the instruction, practice, and feedback necessary to understand and implement the content learned, and collaboration with schools to allow candidates to meet the necessary hands-on practicum training.

Cycles and Scoring Per California APA

There are three leadership cycles required through the California APA. These are: 

  • Analyzing Data to Inform School Improvement and Promote Equity
  • Facilitating Communities of Practice
  • Supporting Teacher Growth

These courses are part of Alliant’s curriculum for the Administrative Services Credential program and the MAE in Education Administration. Each administrator candidate must receive a final score of 14, 12, and 12 points, respectively, for these three cycles. 

Preliminary California Teaching Requirements

Prior to being admitted to the Administrative Services Credential program, a person must already meet California’s teaching requirements. These are:

  • A valid California clear or life teaching credential requiring a bachelor’s degree and a program of professional preparation, including student teaching; or
  • A valid California clear or life Designated Subjects Teaching Credential provided the holder also possesses a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally-accredited college or university; or
  • A valid clear or life California Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Teacher Librarian Services Credential, Speech-Language Pathology Services Credential, Clinical or Rehabilitative Services Credential, or a School Nurse Services Credential, requiring a bachelor’s degree and a program of professional preparation, including field practice or the equivalent. 

California works on a two-tier credential structure for education administrators. First, a five-year preliminary credential is issued after a person meets the basic credential requirements. Then, a clear credential is issued when all credentials have been completed. As part of the first tier, an individual is obligated to meet all of the following: 

  • Possess a valid prerequisite credential
  • Satisfy the basic skills requirement as outlined by the Commission
  • Complete five years of full-time experience
  • Verify employment in an administrative position
  • Complete a Commission-approved administrative services program or a one-year-Commission-approved administrative services intern program or achieve a passing score on the California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination

Due to the different phases, deadlines, and policies laid out by CalAPA, it’s important for individuals to be organized, disciplined, and thoughtful in their pursuit. Education and experience are what’s required, but the role of an education administrator also mandates patience and determination as part of the unspoken characteristics called for as well2

Starting the Path Toward Becoming an Education Administrator

Individuals who pursue a professional career in education administration have a passion for teaching and want to fulfill a leadership role in a larger capacity. The coursework and experience that comes with this chosen path calls for teaching credentials and experience, completion of an accredited administrator program, and proven competency of what’s necessary as an administrator through the cycles as outlined by the CalAPA.3 

Fortunately, through the programs offered at Alliant, candidates can feel confidently prepared and equipped to complete these steps successfully when studying different areas in education. The role of an educator is invaluable as it guides and inspires generations for their own learning and achievements. It takes time and dedication to assume the title of a principal, superintendent, or similar leadership position, but the journey is well worth it for what is accomplished in the end. For further resources on the California APA, contact our admissions team today.

Become an education administrator today


  1. Administrative Services credential California prepared (CL-574C), accessed November 24, 2021,…-(cl-574c).
  2. “California Administrator Performance Assessment (CalAPA),” California Administrator Performance Assessment (CalAPA), accessed November 24, 2021,…
  3. “2017 Preliminary California Administrative Services ...,” accessed November 24, 2021,….

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