Effective educational leaders strive for educational opportunities that are driven by equity and culturally responsive practices to promote each student’s academic success and well-being. The Online Preliminary Administrative Services Credential is designed for individuals who aspire to be quality-driven school leaders, responsible for empowering engaged, inspired, and successful learners. This program will provide you with educational leadership skills and knowledge through a variety of online coursework and field experiences that are tied to the California Administrator Performance Expectations (CAPEs) and lead to licensure in the State of California. Coursework and field experience collectively prepare you for the California Administrator Performance Assessment.

California Administrator Performance Assessments (Cal APA) Preparation
In addition to required coursework and field work, candidates are required to pass three cycles of the California Administrator Performance Assessments (CalAPA) to be recommended for the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential.  Program curriculum, including field experiences, are designed to prepare aspiring administrators for successful completion of the California Administrator Performance Assessments requirement. A total of three CalAPA cycles are completed during the program. Additional support systems are available for students with areas of improvement. Remediation plans include one on one faculty support tailored to the students' area(s) of need.

Featured Faculty

Douglas Fisher Ph.D. of San Diego State University Photo
Douglas Fisher Ph.D.
Nancy Frey Ph.D. of San Diego State University Photo
Nancy Frey Ph.D.

Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, experienced leaders in the education industry, have been deeply involved with the development of the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program. Professor Fisher is the Department Chair of Educational Leadership and oversees the Administrative Services program. Nancy Frey will be co-teaching several courses in the program, including EDL 650, Professional Growth Leadership. Both professors have won Faculty Monty Awards at SDSU and serve the community by teaching and leading at Health Sciences High in City Heights. Fisher and Frey designed the entire learning experience and will be personally involved in the field placement experiences to ensure students get the most out of the Online Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program.


Estimated Cost Estimated Cost
Textbooks not included
Completion Time Min. Completion Time
1 Year
Course Format Course Format
Fully Online

Start date in August, Fall 2020, June 6 Deadline

Applications open May 1 and become conditionally admitted within 2 days!

Additional application materials for formal admission due 6/6/20:

  • Bachelor’s degree transcript
  • Basic credential transcript (i.e. preliminary and clear single subject, preliminary and clear multiple subject, preliminary special education, etc.)
  • Master’s degree transcript (if applicable)

Official transcripts must be submitted by June 6 from the granting institution. They can be sent via email or mail.

SDSU will not accept transcripts emailed from students. Electronic transcripts are accepted in PDF or EDI format. Request that your transcripts be:

  • Emailed to edlonline@sdsu.edu


  • Mailed to:
    SDSU Educational Leadership Department
    5500 Campanile Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92182

What to Expect from the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Program
Student cohorts begin the program in spring or fall semesters. Each cohort includes approximately 25–35 students, all of whom are working professionals in public or private schools or other educational settings. Coursework is completed in 1 year, over 3 semesters (e.g., spring, summer, and fall). Your cohort is your learning community — it also serves as a support system providing encouragement as needed.

Classes are online and self-directed. Expect to spend 10 hours per week on the learning platform and completing coursework. In addition, you will complete job-embedded tasks that allow you to practice leadership. Field experiences are required and are supervised by university instructors along with a local site mentor.

Four years of teaching experience, Clear CA credential, and recommendation from site supervisor to be submitted through department application.

Course Sequence (TOTAL UNITS: 29)

Semester Required Courses Description Units
 Spring 2020 EDL 630 School Improvement Leadership

This course address the essential role of the principal as an instructional leader. Data-Driven decision making, professional learning communities, curriculum and instructional issues, and leading diverse schools in efforts to improve student achievement and closing the achievement gap are emphasized.

Spring 2020 EDL 680 Seminar: Evidence-Based Leadership

This course serves as an orientation to the program and an introduction to field experience. Students will access their own school data to make instructional and curriculum decisions for improving student achievement.

Spring 2020 EDL 660 Field Experience

Work begun in the Fall semester of EDL 660 will continue, and candidates will participate in a second 3-day shadowing experience.

Spring 2020 EDL 610 Visionary Leadership

This course embodies concepts and techniques of leadership, analysis of factors and practices andprocedures of individual and group leadership as applied to educational environments. Students areintroduced to the importance of vision and the process for developing, sustainingandcommunicating that vision to achieve higher student achievement by actively and meaningfullyincluding stakeholders.

More specifically, EDL 610 is designed to focus on the standards and competencies associatedwith each candidate’s visionary leadership. This emphasis is in direct response to theprofessional standards that guide the development and practice of educational leaders.

Summer 2020 EDL 650 Professional Growth Leadership

Model professional growth development. Principles of adult learning; identify and facilitate appropriate professional growth opportunities for staff. Collaboration with others to achieve mission of improving teaching and learning.

Summer 2020 EDL 640 Community Leadership

This course provides an opportunity for aspiring administrators to learn how to work effectively with families and community members; recognize the goals and aspirations of diverse families; respond to diverse community interests and needs; and mobilize community resources in the service of student achievement.

Summer 2020 EDL 600 Organizational and System Leadership

This course focuses on various management issues relative to school leadership, including an understanding of legal and financial principles important to the functions of school and district administrators.

Fall 2020 EDL 655 Communication, Problem-Solving and Decision Making in PK-12 Systems

This capstone course synthesizes concepts and field experiences from previous courses and emphasizes how school leaders develop school cultures conducive to collaboration and a collective sense of responsibility for student learning. Specific strategies in communication, decision-making, problem solving, and conflict management relative to the visionary leader as a systems thinker are explored.

Fall 2020 EDL 652 Instructional Improvement Leadership

This course introduces aspiring administrators to various models of supervision and evaluation in elementary and secondary schools. Emphasis is placed on a blending of practical application and well-grounded conceptual understanding. The concepts of supervision and coaching as processes for leading and directing change and school improvement are emphasized.

Fall 2020 EDL 660 Field Experience

Work begun in the Fall semester of EDL 660 will continue, and candidates will participate in a second 3-day shadowing experience.



Curriculum developed by SDSU College of Education faculty, some of who sit on the design team of the new California Administrator Performance Assessment.

Interested in an MA in Educational Leadership?
After completing the Online Administrative Services Credential, only three additional courses are required for the master's program. If you are interested in the master's program, please submit an application through Cal State Apply before March 2, 2020.

For additional information please email adminservices.ces@sdsu.edu or call (619) 594-0845.

Only students admitted to this program may register.


2019 Summer2019 Fall2020 Spring
2020 Spring
EDL 0610.01 Visionary Leadership
Concepts and techniques of leadership, analysis of factors and practice in procedures of individual and group leadership as applied to preK-12 educational environments.
Course Date(s)
March 11 - May 6
2020 Spring
EDL 0630.02 School Improvement Leadership
Analyzing data to identify opportunities for school improvement. Appropriate and effective school improvement theories and strategies. Communication skills and leading others in improvement and monitoring of these efforts.
Course Date(s)
January 15 - May 18
David Lorden
2020 Spring
EDL 0660 Field Experience in Educational Leadership
Supervised field experience in schools or other educational settings. Monthly sessions with university faculty. Application to take this course must be made during preceding semester. Maximum credit 10 units, of which four units are applicable to a master's degree.
Course Date(s)
February 5 - May 6
Janice Cook
2020 Spring
EDL 0680.05 Seminar in PreK-12 Educational Administration
Educational administration in preK-12 schools and school districts. Field experience when appropriate. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content. Maximum credit six units applicable to a master’s degree.
Course Date(s)
March 11 - May 6