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College Counseling Certificate and Certification Program Information

Certificate programs in college counseling train counselors to guide high school students and their families through the college admissions process. Counselors receive training in college applications, standardized testing and admissions criteria.

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Essential Information

A graduate certificate program in college counseling teaches counselors the specific skills and information necessary to help high school students prepare for college admissions. Curriculum is comprised of core coursework in education and specific counseling techniques. Many programs generally consist of three to seven courses completed in two years or less. Some programs are offered completely online and allow open enrollment. These programs are designed for individuals who already have an undergraduate degree in the counseling or education field, so a bachelor's degree in counseling or education is required.


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  • College Student Counseling

College Counseling Certificate

Students in these programs learn how to work with special or underrepresented student populations. They are also trained to understand the process of applying for college financial aid. Other coursework covers:

  • Educational ethics
  • Financial aid planning
  • College counseling strategies
  • College admissions protocols
  • Counseling program implementation
  • Career counseling

Career Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies college counselors as a subset of educational, vocational and school counselors. These professionals earned a median salary of $53,660 as of May 2015. Employment for these counselors was projected to grow 8% from 2014-2024.

Licensure and Certification Info

At the high school level, public school college counselors usually require some form of licensing through the state. Being a licensed school counselor or obtaining a teaching license may be mandatory. Educational requirements vary, though a master's degree is commonly required. Continuing education is often necessary to maintain licensure.

Certification, such as the National Certified School Counselor credential awarded by the National Board for Certified Counselors, is generally voluntary. However, employers could recommend it. In some cases, passing a national certification exam could be accepted in lieu of state licensure testing, though counselors might still need to apply for a license. Additionally, joining a professional organization, such as the American College Counseling Association, offers benefits to members, such as legislative advocacy, professional development, grants and national conferences.

Certificate programs in college counseling can be completed in two years or less. Students will be examining counseling methods and education.

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