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School Leader Eligibility and Certification

In order to be considered for a principal or assistant principal position, you must possess the following qualifications. These qualifications are a requirement for obtaining an Administrative Services Credential (ASC), the District of Columbia's official school leader license. Visti the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education's section on school administrator licensure for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of license does a school leader need in order to serve as a principal or assistant principal in Washington, DC?

All new school leaders need a valid District of Columbia Administrative Services Credential (ASC). The ASC is authorized through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Find out more information about the school leader licensure requirements and complete the ASC application.

Will I still be considered for a school leader position if I do not qualify for the Transitional Administrator license or have not taken the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA)?

DC Public Schools is aware that many candidates will not have their ASC upon applying for a position, since the SLLA exam is only offered a few times each year. If you have met all other criteria, then you will still be considered for a school leader role, and a lack of licensure will not adversely affect your application in the screening process, although you should be aware of and be working towards licensure.

Who can I contact if I have specific questions regarding my license?

If you have specific questions regarding your license or certification, contact the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Educator Licensing and Accreditation Office. You can reach the Licensing Office by emailing [email protected], calling (202) 741-5881, or by visiting 810 First Street, NE, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20002.

What are the different types of School Administrator Licenses?

  • Regular Administrator License - Valid for four (4) years from date of issuance and is renewable. Applicants who successfully meet all requirements outlined in Option 1 or 2 listed on the ASC application.
  • Restricted Administrator License - Valid for one (1) year from date of issuance and may be extended one time for one additional year upon submission of SLLA scores and verification of continuing progress toward the completion of a state-approved program in school leadership/administration. Currently employed DC Public Schools Principals or Assistant Principals who were hired prior to January 1, 2000 with no breaks in service as a principal or assistant principal.
  • Transitional Administrator License - Valid for one (1) year from date of issuance and may not be extended or renewed. Applicants who hold a current out-of-state license that authorizes him/her to operate as a full or lead principal in a K-12 grade school, but who have not successfully completed the SLLA as required by the District of Columbia.

If I hold a current out-of-state license, does my state have reciprocity with DC?

DC has reciprocity with all 50 states; however, a candidate must hold a full principal-level license in the issuing state and not an assistant principal-level license. For example, the Maryland Administrator II license is considered a full principal-level license.

When I submit a completed ASC application to the licensure office, what is the turnaround time for processing?

ASC processing typically takes 12 weeks but may take longer during the peak summer months of June, July, and August, when the OSSE Licensure Office receives a surge of applications.

What do I need to know about the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA)?

The following information is taken from Educational Testing Service, under the Test Directory - "School Leadership Series."

How often is the test given?

The SLLA is given three times a year, once in January, June, and September. 

Brief Overview of Assessment

The SLLA exam is four-hours long and consists of multiple choice and constructed response questions. The test calls for answers based on scenarios and sets of documents educators might encounter. More information on test content can be found in the “Test at a Glance” PDF file.

Cost of Assessment

The Registration fee per test date is $50. The SLLA costs $325. Additional fees apply for late registration and score by phone requests. At this time, DC Public Schools does not provide stipends for the cost of this test.

Test Scores

The District of Columbia requires a qualifying score of 163*. Passing score information is on your score report and is only sent to those score recipients listed on your registration form. Therefore, please indicate on the registration form that you would like your scores sent to OSSE, Educator Licensing and Accreditation Office. SLLA scores take approximately 4-6 weeks to be reported. Therefore, if a candidate takes the test in June, his or her scores will not be back until mid-July. For more specific score release dates, please visit www.ets.org.

*The passing score changed because ETS recently regenerated the SLLA exam. A passing score on tests taken before 9/01/2009 is 160. A passing score on tests taken on or after 9/01/2009 is 163.


To obtain additional information on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) or to register for the exam, visit the Educational Testing Service website.