State Profile

School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

State Profile - Arkansas

April 2018


The data included in this 50-state comparison is specific to school leader preparation program and certification requirements. There may be additional requirements that are not indicated. For additional information, questions or comments, please contact Deven Scott at

Has the state adopted leadership standards? Yes. Arkansas has adopted the Standards for School Administrators in Arkansas (identical to the 2008 ISLLC standards).

Arkansas has also adopted the Professional Standards for Educator Leaders (identical to the 2015 PSEL standards).
Which state entity approves traditional school leader preparation programs? Arkansas Department of Education Source
Does state policy require school leader preparation programs to align with adopted standards? Yes. Programs that prepare candidates for certification as building-level administrators must align with state-approved standards for school leaders, defined as the Leaders Excellence and Development Systems (LEADS) standards and the Standards for School Administrators in Arkansas. Code Ark. R. 005.16.19-7.0

Does state policy require field experience as part of school leader preparation programs? Yes. Programs that prepare candidates for certification as building-level administrators must provide candidates with supervised clinical practice. However, no hour requirement was found. Code Ark. R. 005.16.19-7.0
Does state policy allow for innovative or experimental preparation programs? No state policy found.
Certification and Licensure
What are the initial school leader certification requirements? To qualify for a Building-Level Administrator License, a candidate must:
  • Hold a current, Arkansas Standard License in a content teaching area, as a school counselor that was issued as an initial licensure area or in a career and technical area
  • Hold a master's degree or higher from an accredited college or university in education, educational leadership or a licensure content area
  • Have at least four years of P-12 experience as a licensed classroom teacher, school counselor or library media specialist
  • Complete the teacher evaluation professional development program and recieve a passing score on the assessment
  • Receive a passing score on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.

Note: For candidates who hold a master's degree in a subject other than educational leadership, verified completion of an Arkansas-approved, graduate-level program of study reflective of the standards for building-level administrator certification that includes an internship with adequate and substantial experiences at both the K-6 and 7-12 levels is required.
Code Ark. R. 005.16.18-6.0
What are the requirements for school leaders licensed out-of-state? Out-of-state applicants are held to the same education, work experience and assessment requirements as in-state candidates. In addition, the master's degree awarded must be recognized for certification by the issuing state. Code Ark. R. 005.16.18-5.0
Is there an alternative route to initial certification? The state department of education may approve alternative educator preparation programs. In addition, state policy allows the state board of education to promulgate rules for alternative educator preparation programs including, but not limited to, a leader academy, a residency program at a public school and professional work experience. State policy provides additional requirements.

Note: The state department of education is currently developing a residency program for administrators.
Ark. Code Ann. § 6-17-409


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