High School Counselor Training and Certification Program Info

Oct 14, 2019

In most cases, a master's degree in school counseling is required to be a high school counselor. Master's programs in these areas often cover human development, child advocacy and counseling techniques. Find out the requirements for certification and licensure.

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Essential Information

High school counselors provide students with educational and social guidance, vocational advice and crisis intervention. Most states mandate educational standards, licensure and certification to work in the field. Several graduate schools offer master's programs in school counseling to meet these requirements. One degree type is a Master of Education in School Counseling. These programs often take approximately two years to complete and may include online instruction. Most include practical experience with school-aged children.

A bachelor's degree, teaching hours and related coursework is necessary for admission. Applicants already holding a master's degree in another field may complete a truncated course of study resulting in a graduate certificate.

Master's Degrees in School Counseling

Most universities offering master's degree programs in school counseling offer courses that are designed to meet state licensure and certification requirements.

Common core courses in these programs might include:

  • Childhood psychology and development
  • Cultural awareness
  • Vocational and educational guidance
  • Behavioral evaluation and encouragement
  • Legal and ethical standards
  • Family and child advocacy training

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 285,460 educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors were employed in the United States and earned a median salary of $56,310 in May 2018 ( The majority of these workers were employed by elementary and high schools. The BLS also reported that employment for school and career counselors would grow 8% between 2018 and 2028.

Certification and Continuing Education

All states mandate licensure for high school counselors. The typical educational qualification required is a master's degree, and some states may include regulated certification as an eligibility factor for employment in the field. Some previous teaching experience may be necessary for licensure, and counselors may need to participate in continuing education courses to maintain a credential or license.

In order to work as high school counselor, individuals typically must have a master's degree in school counseling or a similar field, along with a credential such as licensure or certification. Master's degree programs in education include both traditional coursework and internship practicums.

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