California Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Overview

California has a two-tier credential structure. A five-year preliminary credential is the first credential issued after an individual meets basic credential requirements. A clear credential is issued when all credential requirements have been completed.

Requirements for seeking a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential:

  • Possession of a valid prerequisite teaching or services credential,
  • A minimum of three years of successful, full-time service in the public schools or private schools of equivalent status,
  • Passage of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
  • An administrative position (Until an offer of employment in an administrative position is received individuals should apply for a Certificate of Eligibility.)
  • And one of the following four program options:

Option 1
Completion of a college or university based program accredited by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing
.
Over fifty colleges and universities in California currently offer preparation programs leading to a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. These programs are accredited by the Commission based on standards of quality and effectiveness. (The standards can be downloaded for review and feedback at CTC.)

Option 2
Completion of a Commission accredited Internship program sponsored by a college or university and a local education agency.

Many colleges and universities in California offer internship programs leading to a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. These programs are accredited by the Commission.

Option 3
Passage of the Commission-approved "California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination" (CPACE) administered by Evaluation Systems, Pearson.
Achieve passing scores on both test components of the California Preliminary Administrative  Credential Examination (CPACE), administered by Evaluation Systems, Pearson.

  • Passing examination scores on both the CPACE-Written and CPACE-Video must be used for credentialing purposes within five years of the passing exam date.
  • Individuals who pass the CPACE may apply directly to the Commission for the credential.
  • Please include an original score report showing passage of the examination with the application.
  • For more information on administration of the CPACE (beginning June 16, 2011), see the exam test web site at http://www.cpace.nesinc.com/.
  • California is NOT ACCEPTING School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA), numbered 1011, towards certification.

      NOTE:  The CPACE has replaced SLLA #1010 for administrative 
      certification.  The final administration of the SLLA #1010 was February 
      26, 2011.

In October 2008, the Commission of Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved the continued use of the examination option and the development of the California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination (CPACE), a California-specific examination that included a focus on California school law, finances, organization, and English learner student needs.

The set of administrator knowledge and skills described in the CPACE Content Specifications and reflected in the CPACE is organized into the following four domains:

  • Domain I: Visionary and Inclusive Leadership
  • Domain II: Student Learning
  • Domain III: Systems for Capacity Building
  • Domain IV: Resource Management and Educational Law

The examination consists of two separate test components: (1) a written component, offered as a computer-based test, and (2) a video component.  Both components must be passed to achieve  passing status on the CPACE. 

For more information about test content and test dates, please check the CPACE website.  Individuals who pass the CPACE and meet the prerequisites for obtaining a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential may apply directly to the Commission for the credential.

Option 4
Completion of an alternative preparation program approved by the Commission.
Alternative preparation programs may be offered by local education agencies or colleges and universities that are Commission-approved that meet the Commission's standards.

Applicants for the Preliminary Credential must verify employment in an administrative position on CTC Form CL-777. An individual who has completed requirements above but does not have an offer of employment in an administrative position may apply for a Certificate of Eligibility, which verifies completion of all requirements for the preliminary credential and authorizes the holder to seek employment as an administrator.

Term of the Preliminary Credential
The valid period of the Administrative Services Credential is limited by the expiration date of the prerequisite credential. The administrative credential will expire with and may be renewed with the prerequisite credential by submitting an application (CTC Form 41-4) and processing fee. However, if the prerequisite credential is valid for the full five year period from the issuance date of the preliminary administrative credential, the administrative credential will be valid for the full five year period upon issuance. For this reason, it may take one complete renewal cycle to align the dates of the prerequisite and administrative credentials. By the end of the five-year preliminary period, the holder must meet the requirements for the clear credential.

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