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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)from the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Visit OSSE’s website 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 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 Administrative Services Credential or have not taken the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA)?

All school leaders need a valid District of Columbia Administrative Services Credential (ASC), issued through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). However, we are 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. While candidates who meet all other criteria can still advance through the screening process, and a lack of licensure will not adversely affect your application in screening, all candidates should be aware of and working toward receiving their ASC from OSSE. Please note that new school leaders cannot receive an official offer until their ASC has been officially issued.

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] or by calling (202) 741-5881.

What are the different types of Administrative Services Credential?

  • Standard Administrative Services Credential - Valid for four (4) years from date of issuance and is renewable.
  • Initial Administrative Services Credential - Valid for two (2) years from date of issuance and is nonrenewable.

To see if you qualify for the above credentials please see the Principal & Assistant Principal Certification page on the OSSE website.

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 is the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA)?

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 SLS Study Companion[PDF]

How often is the test given?

The SLLA is offered during numerous testing windows throughout the year. Please see the ETS website for specific dates.

Cost of Assessment

The SLLA costs $425. 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 151 for all exams taken after September 1, 2009*. 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 163.

Registration

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