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Columbus State University

Master of Education
Educational Leadership: Tier I Certification

College of Education and Health Professions

Department of Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership

Program Description

The PSC Approved Master of Education Program in Educational Leadership leads to Tier I certification in Educational Leadership in Georgia and is the current initial certification track for this field.  Courses in the program emphasize student achievement and real-world decision-making processes, critical to the success of the school leader. This is a full degree program for students who do not currently hold a Master’s Degree. In this program, you will begin with a survey of the principalship and start an internship at a school during your first semester. Internships take place in schools or districts using real data to create and implement plans that work in improving student performance. The program is designed for you to complete the degree in four semesters (approx. 16 months) if you follow the program sequence.

The other program available is the Tier I M.Ed. Leadership add-on degree.  This program is designed for students who currently hold a Master’s Degree and now wish to pursue the leadership certification.  The add-on program can be completed in three semesters (approximately 12 months).  The student will still complete internships with a certified mentor.

At the end of the Tier I program, the student will be expected to take the GACE Leadership Assessment (Test Code 301) and the Ethics Exit Assessment (Test Code 380).  Both are required to be passed in order to apply for the upgrade in the teaching certificate.

The Tier I Master of Education is designed to prepare the student for a leadership position in which the position does not supervise other principals. In other words, the position is an assistant principal.

Note: This program requires an internship with an administrative mentor certified in Educational Leadership and currently leading a school. Your school district must approve your participation with your mentor in this leadership program. Your mentor's leadership Certification ID number is required by the GA Professional Standards Commission as part of your application for leadership certification. The Tier I program requires the candidate to accumulate 250 internship hours. Consider who your mentor might be before applying for this leadership program. You cannot complete the program or become certified without a current licensed administrative mentor. 

For additional information contact:

Dr. Chris Garretson
Frank Brown Hall 3120


Mr. Michael Johnson
Frank Brown Hall 3116

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities with Tier I

After obtaining an educational leadership degree, there are job options available - if the candidate is certified. Examples of these careers are assistant school principals and other leadership roles such as academic/instructional coaches or system level curriculum instructional coaches. Assistant principal and principal positions are on the rise and are expected to grow 25% before the end of the decade. Students obtaining the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership may be eligible for leadership positions in private or parochial schools which do not require certification.  Some districts may require the candidate hold a Tier I certification to be an academic/instructional coach; it is best to check with the individual districts to determine their exact requirements for leadership positions.

Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree is a pre-requisite for entry into this MEd Program
  • GPA of 3.0 or better in fulfillment of the requirements for your latest degree.
  • 3 years of teaching experience and current employment in a P-12 school as a certified teacher.
  • An administrative Mentor committed to working with you (see below) which has been signed by your mentor and by the district superintendent.
  • 2 Letters of Reference (at least one from a building or system level administrator)
  • Ethics Assessment++   If you are enrolling in this program, you must submit a copy of your Completion Certificate of having taken the GA Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment Program entry (370) pre-assessment as a condition of enrollment.
  • All candidates seeking Educational Leadership certification in GA will be required to take the Ethics completion assessment (380) and pass it to obtain certification.
  • A clear background check:  CSU recognizes a combination of a CURRENT copy of your current state teaching certification AND your verification of current employment by your superintendent or designee as adequate proof for a background check.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be able to promote the success of all students by:

  • Facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community.
  • Advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
  • Ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.
  • Acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner, by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.
  • Integrating new and emerging technologies into the instructional and other programs through innovative use of technology. 

Additional Program Requirements

  • Students must earn a 3.0 GPA calculated on all graduate work attempted. "Academic Forgiveness" policy does not apply to graduate studies.
  • Students cannot graduate with a grade of "C" or below in more than two (2) graduate courses (may be appealed to the College of Education and Health Professions Graduate Council).
  • A minimum of 27 hours of the hours required for the degree must be earned in residence (75%). Asynchronous (online) and distance learning courses administered through Columbus State University constitute courses taken in residence.
  • A total of 250 hours of internship work is required by GA PSC.
  • A maximum of six (6) semester hours of transfer credit or courses taken at CSU prior to full admission to a masters degree program may be applied toward the degree. Courses with earned grades of "C" or below cannot be transferred. The student's advisor and the coordinator of the program in which the student is enrolled must approve any courses transferred.
  • All degree requirements must be completed within seven (7) years of initial enrollment.