Your Path to Principal

Here to get you there  

Be the Change as a School Leader

American College of Education (ACE) has multiple pathways toward principal licensure that are fast and affordable for Illinois educators.** Our fully online programs may help you earn a principal endorsement on your professional educator license, while preparing you to take the Principal as an Instructional Leader exam.

Earn Your PEL Administrative Endorsement

Our programs are intentionally designed to help you become a confident school leader by equipping you with the knowledge, experience and skills you need. 

Complete the Internship

Maximize your time by completing the internship experience at your current school.

Develop Your Leadership

Practice designing a school vision, setting core values and learn effective strategies for leading a team of educators toward instructional excellence.

Choose Your Path Toward Principal Licensure**

Whether you need a master’s degree or already have one, we have a flexible and affordable pathway for you. 

Certificate in
Principal Preparation

Designed for aspiring principals, directors or administrators, our fully online Certificate in Principal Preparation prepares you to become an education leader and earn your administrative or principal certification. You’ll engage with current scientific research, pedagogy and instructional technology while improving your supervision and leadership skills. Understand how to create an effective school-wide vision and use data to inform decision-making in P-12 school settings. Advance your career while maximizing your impact in the field of education.








Master of Education
Educational Leadership**

Designed for aspiring principals, the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership prepares you to lead a PreK-12 school. You’ll develop the strategies to design and implement a shared school vision — one that reflects a core set of values surrounding equity, diversity, digital citizenship, and community. You’ll learn to maintain an inclusive culture and advocate for the needs of students, families, and personnel. Through systematic problem solving and data-driven decision making, this program will shape you to be a reflective and responsive educational leader.








*This is an estimated value of the cost for tuition and fees. Amounts may vary depending on number of transfer credits applied to the selected program hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program credit hours, the receipt of, or eligibility for, institutional or non-institutional scholarship and/or grant amounts, and adjustments to tuition or fees as described in the Catalog Right to Modify Tuition section.

**Graduates may still need to satisfy additional state licensure requirements such as years of experience in a prior or current position, additional coursework, internship hours, content test passage, or additional training such as CPR certification, as applicable. ACE principal educator preparation programs are CAEP accredited and approved by the Indiana State Department of Education. Prospective students are strongly advised to confirm the benefit(s) or available out-of-state pathway for which they may be eligible with their Department of Education, prior to enrolling in an American College of Education degree or certificate program.

What Sets Us Apart

We’re dedicated to equipping you with the skills you need for future success, while helping you achieve a positive return on your investment. 


of Our Students Finish Without Debt¹


Earned for Every Dollar Spent²

No. 3

in the Nation For Most Master’s Degrees Awarded in Education

No. 2

Online College in America³


Degrees Awarded


Student Satisfaction⁴

1 Source: Internal research completed in June 2023  2 Source: Lightcast employment data 
3 Source: Newsweek  4 Source: Student Right to Know 

Recognized and Accredited

American College of Education is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission— a federally-recognized accrediting agency. This accreditation ensures that an institution’s academic program meets or exceeds acceptable levels of quality and is the most recognized accreditation status for higher education entities. To receive and maintain HLC accreditation and affiliation approval, we must continuously undergo routine peer review cycles and provide proof that our programs meet or exceed HLC accreditation criteria and expectations of quality. 

Our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. This evidence-based accreditation assures that our program aligns with CAEP’s quality standards for excellent educator preparation. 

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