The minimum educational requirement for aspiring guidance counselors is a master's degree from an accredited university. From there, individuals must pass the school licensure exam offered by their state's department of education.
Top Guidance Counseling Schools
The following schools are listed as having the best student counseling programs, according to U.S. World and News Report's 2016 rankings.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|University of Maryland-College Park||College Park, MD||4-year, public||$11,376 in-state, $24,534 out-of-state|
|University of North Carolina-Greensboro||Greensboro, NC||4-year, public||$4,873 in-state, $18,322 out-of-state|
|University of Georgia||Athens, GA||4-year, public||$8,492 in-state, $24,090 out-of-state|
|University of Missouri||Columbia, MO||4-year, public||$8,402 in-state, $22,498 out-of-state|
|Pennsylvania State University-University Park||University Park, PA||4-year, public||$19,328 in-state, $33,142 out-of-state|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, public||$10,770 in-state, $27,335 out-of-state|
|Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||4-year, public||$11,560 in-state, $31,032 out-of-state|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL||4-year, public||$6,916 in-state, $25,759 out-of-state|
|University of Minnesota-Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, public||$15,844 in-state, $24,508 out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
University Selection Criteria
When choosing between master's degree programs in guidance counseling, it can be helpful to keep state educational and licensure requirements in mind. That way, when they finish, graduates will be prepared to take the next step toward a career in the field.
- Students who plan to pursue state licensure may want to limit their search to schools accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
- Students who are not certified as teachers may need to consider whether or not a school's guidance counselor program offers additional education classes, such as classroom management or cognitive development, which are needed to meet some states' licensure requirements.
- If students plan on working at inner city schools, they might want to select a school that offers classes in bilingual education, cross-cultural counseling theory or a relevant foreign language.
There are numerous highly ranked schools that offer master's degree programs in guidance counseling. These programs can provide students with the necessary training needed for state licensure and to work in the field.