State Profile

School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

State Profile - Kentucky

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. Kentucky has adopted the Principal Performance Standards.  Source
Which state entity approves traditional school leader preparation programs? Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 161.028
Does state policy require school leader preparation programs to align with adopted standards? Yes. Principal preparation programs must align with the Kentucky Administrator Standards for Preparation and Certification, comprised of the 2008 ISLLC standards and the Technology Standards for School Administrators. 16 Ky. Admin. Regs. 3:050
Does state policy require field experience as part of school leader preparation programs? Yes. Principal preparation programs must provide high-quality field experience. State policy provides additional requirements. However, no hour requirement was found. 16 Ky. Admin. Regs. 3:050
Does state policy allow for innovative or experimental preparation programs? Yes. The education professional standards board may waive administrative regulations in order to implement an innovative, nontraditional or alternative administrator preparation program. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 161.028 (West)
Certification and Licensure
What are the initial school leader certification requirements? To qualify for a Provisional Certificate for Instructional Leadership - School Principal, Level 1, a candidate must:
  • Hold a master's degree
  • Complete an approved program of preparation
  • Have three years of teaching experience in a public/non-public school that meets the state performance standards or has been accredited by a regional or national accrediting association
  • Receive a passing score on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment and the Kentucky Specialty Test of Instructional and Administrator Practices.

Note: A Professional Certificate for Instructional Leadership - School Principal, Level 1, is issued following successful completion of the Kentucky Principal Internship Program.
16 Ky. Admin. Regs. 3:050

16 Ky. Admin. Regs. 6:030
What are the requirements for school leaders licensed out-of-state? Out-of-state applicants are held to the same requirements as in-state candidates. However, applicants who have two years of full-time principal experience may be exempt from the School Leaders Licensure Assessment and the Kentucky Principal Internship Program requirement. 16 Ky. Admin. Regs. 4:030

Is there an alternative route to initial certification? The university-based alternative route allows for the completion of an approved preparation program while employed in a school district. A candidate receives a temporary provisional certificate and must participate in the Kentucky Principal Internship Program. The candidate is required to complete all licensure requirements within two years. 16 Ky. Admin. Regs. 9:080


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