Guidance counselors can complete continuing education through a few different options. Here we explore the different options and some of the topics covered.
Guidance counselors, also called school counselors, are licensed professionals who provide personal and academic advice and support to students of all ages. Guidance counselors also assess students' abilities and help students develop goals. Most states require that guidance counselors have at least a master's degree, and most require counselors to complete continuing education on a regular basis to maintain their credentials. Some of these opportunities are offered on-campus, while others are offered online for those needing a more flexible schedule. Some of the ways of earning continuing education units are outlined here.
Programs At a Glance
School Counseling Series
- This graduate level series generally requires previous training and/or experience in the field.
- These series are offered on-campus.
- This non-degree, graduate level education also requires previous training and/or experience.
- These opportunities are available online.
Continuing Education for Guidance Counselors
Graduate schools of education and professional organizations offer continuing education courses for guidance counselors. These courses can be spread over multiple weeks or they can be 1-2 day workshops. Courses may also be offered through accredited degree programs. Courses can result in continuing education units (CEUs) or college credits. Because these courses are for working adults, they are often offered online, in the evenings or on weekends. The American School Counselor Association offers several of these continuing education opportunities through trainings, webinars and conferences.
Continuing education courses are designed to keep guidance counselors current on new research and technology in the field. Additionally, these courses allow counselors to discuss current topics with other school counselors. Course topics vary widely, but a few include legal issues in school counseling, counseling techniques, harassment and bullying in schools, suicide prevention skills, and identifying and addressing mental health needs. Students in these courses may also further develop and enhance their motivational interviewing skills, as well as their knowledge of trauma-informed services.
Continuing Education for Certification
Guidance counselors who have earned the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential must complete a minimum of 100 continuing education clock hours, which translates to 10 CEUs, every five years. NCC's who have also earned the National Certified School Counselor credential must maintain their NCC by completing the required hours, but 25 of those hours must be in areas related to school counseling, such as fundamentals of school counseling and career development. There are many benefits to becoming a NCC, including self-marketing, access to free webinars and other online resources and specialty certifications.
Continuing education for guidance counselors is available on-campus and online through trainings, webinars, courses, series and more. Professionals can further enhance their skills in the field, as well as further their knowledge in specific areas like bullying and suicide prevention.