School Counseling Certification and Certificate Programs

A Master of Arts in School Counseling degree program can prepare graduates to become counselors in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. A career in public school counseling generally calls for a master's degree, state certification, and internship hours.

Essential Information

Students in master's-level school counseling programs develop skills in consultation, collaboration, advocacy and leadership. This program requires a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in psychology, behavioral sciences or education, transcripts, personal letter from applicant, letters of recommendation, possibly GRE or Miller Analogy Test, GPA of 3.0 or better. Additional requirements include an internship, practicum in a school setting.

School Counseling Certification

Studies in psychology, psychopathology, individual and group counseling, and human development are complemented by study of the following:

  • Child and adolescent therapy
  • Inclusive education
  • Career counseling
  • Counseling theories and techniques

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

School counselors are usually employed by elementary, middle and secondary schools, as well as by colleges and universities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment of school and career counselors is expected to increase by 8% for the years 2014 through 2024. The BLS reported in 2015 that school, educational, guidance and vocational counselors earned a mean annual salary of $56,490.

Certification and Licensing Information

State certification often requires a passing grade in the PRAXIS I test in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as the PRAXIS II test in school counseling. However, it should be noted that every state has different licensing and/or certification requirements.

Because school counselors work with children and adolescents, 45 states require that candidates be subjected to a criminal background check, fingerprinting or that they complete a background form such as the Character and Identification Clearance application in California. Colorado arranges for candidates to be checked by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The only states that do not require background or fingerprint checks are Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Virginia and West Virginia.

Aspiring school counselors must not only earn bachelor's degree's but master's degrees as well in order to be licensed. Students should prepare to take the PRAXIS I and II test in order to gain their license.

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