The University of West Georgia is the state's best in preparing certified leaders. As the state's largest and most successful program, UWG developed nearly one-third of Georgia's newly certified leaders in 2020. 

The Tier 1 Educational Leadership Certification is considered entry-level that prepares candidates for P-12 school level positions below the principal and for district level positions that do not supervise principals. All interested candidates currently without leadership certification in Georgia must start with this program as Tier 1 is an initial certification program designed for classroom teachers and candidates in leadership roles who intend to assume leadership positions in the future.

The Tier 1 program leads to a certification that's clear and renewable. This certificate is earned completely online. Candidates must complete a master's degree (or higher) first,  and then add the Tier 1 Leadership Certification.

Please visit the program's webpage here. 

Click here to request more information about the Educational Leadership Program!

For more information, please see the Academic Catalog.

Start Your Journey Today


This is a certification-only program that may be added to an existing master's degree (or specialist and doctoral degree). The Tier 1 Educational Leadership Certification is considered entry-level while preparing candidates for P-12 school-level positions below the principal and for district-level positions that do not supervise principals.

Program Location


Method of Delivery

Courses are 100% Online.


The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

This program is accredited by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).

Credit and transfer

Total semester hours required: 18
Maximum Hours Transferable into program: 0*
*No credits can be transferred

Graduate students may be able to reduce their cost through prior learning, previous degrees earned at UWG, or transfer credits. We have created a tool to help students estimate their tuition costs.                

This program is offered entirely online. Though a student may choose to sign-up for a face-to-face elective or core course, one can earn this degree completely online.

Save money

UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited university of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen. In addition, online courses and programs can mean a huge cost-savings in many non-evident ways: No more high gas charges. No childcare needed. The flexibility can allow one to maintain a job while attending school. Regardless of state residency, out-of-state non-resident students are not charged non-resident tuition for online course credit hours.


  • Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
  • The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
  • Face-to-Face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
  • Fully or entirely online course tuition rates and fees my vary depending on the program. Students enrolled in exclusively online courses do not pay non-Resident rates.
  • Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
  • One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, they will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
  • For the cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Student Accounts and Billing Services website

There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website for more information.


Program Sheet [PDF]

This course lays the foundation for the educational leadership student to transition into the role of instructional leader. The student is introduced to the theories and practices of leadership and organizational behaviors, to include vision development, and connects that knowledge to instructional leadership that facilitates school improvement. Attention is given to understanding self as leader, identifying core values and personal leadership styles, and practicing effective communication that facilitates positive interactions with internal and external stakeholders.

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This course is designed to provide school administrators with proficiencies essential to school leaders for the effective, efficient, equitable, and ethical management of schools and districts. Students are taught to advance the best interests of all students in policy development, allocation of capital and human resources, and monitoring. Course content addresses the role of school leaders in working within the legal and policy frameworks affecting the schools and school personnel. Ethical standards for professional educator conduct are an integral part of this course.

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This course prepares aspiring leaders to create a framework of effective practices that work together to drive significant impacts on student achievement. Aspiring leaders will learn to confront the challenge of variability in student outcomes through access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum, careful monitoring of learning, and systemic interventions for students who struggle. Particular attention is given to the process of teachers and leaders working collaboratively in Professional Learning Communities to engage in collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.

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Students learn effective management principles for PK-12 schools in three core competencies: personnel, finance, and school safety. Using ethical frameworks when possible, emphasis is placed on aligning and developing efficient management processes that support school priorities and student learning.

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The course will provide students experiences in reviewing different types of data, analyzing data from multiple sources, and in using different methodologies of interpreting and presenting data. Students will also explore (1) the use of data within curriculum, instruction, and comprehensive school improvement efforts and (2) how to develop a data drive culture within the school.

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This course provides students with the proficiencies essential for school leaders to foster a healthy, safe, and supportive school environment that builds and sustains productive community relationships. Students are taught to promote the success and well-being for every student through collaborative engagement and the development of a shared vision for the school community.

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Clifford Davis, Jr., Ed.D.

Clifford Davis, Jr., Ed.D.

Assistant Professor

Georgia Evans, Ed.D.

Georgia Evans, Ed.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Program Coordinator

Education Annex
Room 214
Jean Ferguson Ruffin, Ed.D.

Jean Ferguson Ruffin, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair

Laurie Kimbrel, Ed.D.

Laurie Kimbrel, Ed.D.

Associate Professor

Andy Nixon, Ed. D.

Andy Nixon, Ed. D.

Associate Professor

Gary Storie, Ed.D.

Gary Storie, Ed.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor

Guidelines for Admittance

Program Specific Admittance Guidelines

  • Official transcripts from all schools that have conferred degrees (Bachelor's, Master's, etc.) are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Graduate Admissions Office.
  • A master's degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution
  • T5 or S5 professional teaching certificate
  • 3.0 or better cumulative GPA on graduate work
  • Georgia PSC Ethics for Educational Leadership- Test 380.  Complete this requirement at least 7 days prior to the deadline to allow time to receive the results in an official format. 

Application Deadlines

Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

* Application, app fee, and document deadline

See The Scoop for more specific deadlines.

Admission Process Checklist

The Graduate Studies Application Process checklist is available here


Graduate Admissions

Department of Leadership, Research, & School Improvement

Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

* Application, app fee, and document deadline; Dates may vary for Readmit, Transfer, and Transient students.

Specific dates for Admissions, Financial Aid, Fee Payment, Registration, Start/End of Term Dates, Final Exams, etc. are available in THE SCOOP.

Objectives not available