Online School Counselor Certification: Program Info

Research online school counselor certification programs. Find out what you can learn in typical courses for and important prerequisites for admission to determine if this program is right for you.

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Essential Information

There are many post-master's certificate programs for school counselors available online, primarily designed for individuals with master's degrees in education or counseling. These programs can be completed in less than one year. Many courses are offered online, but some programs require a few on-campus courses as well. Students also must complete an in-school counseling internship.

In a certificate program, students learn about the role of a school counselor. They study counseling practices and theory, as well as ethics and legal regulations. Ethnic and cultural factors are examined, and students learn about the types of governmental and public service organizations that are available to counselors.

Licensing requirements for school counselors vary by state, but generally require a master's degree or post-master's certificate in school counseling. Counselors may be required to pass a competency exam and maintain their license through continuing education.

School Counselor Certificate

School counseling certificate or endorsement programs are offered by many schools either entirely online or in a hybrid format. Typically, applicants must have a master's degree in education or counseling. Students enrolled in a certificate program develop skills involving the prevention of substance abuse, violence and bullying as well as career guidance and crisis intervention.

Program Information and Requirements

A school counseling certificate program can usually be completed in less than a year. Many schools offering an online program have some on-campus course requirements, and students must often participate in an on-site internship at an affiliated or approved school. Online courses may be delivered through a combination of online reading material and real-time lectures. Students have the opportunity to interact with instructors and peers through online discussion boards, chat rooms and e-mail.

Course Topics

The standard curriculum of a school counseling certificate program trains students to advise, advocate for and counsel troubled or challenged school-aged children. Some schools allow students to waive certain classes equivalent to those completed in a master's degree program.

Fundamentals and Theories of the School Counselor

This course introduces students to the purpose, duties and responsibilities of the school counselor. Various counseling processes and methods are studied in-depth, as well as historical, theoretical and philosophical approaches to school counseling. The symbiotic relationship between school counselors and faculty of other student services is highlighted. Students are also presented with important licensing information necessary to become a professional school counselor.

Consultation Practices in Schools

Students examine the singular ideologies, approaches and routines of counseling in an educational setting. Special attention is given to societal tendencies, ethnic considerations and pluralistic approaches inherent in school counseling. Legal and moral obligations, public service organizations and referral systems are also studied.

Advanced Internship in School Counseling

Students participate in a supervised field experience in a private or public clinic, school or church. Skills are displayed and tested in real-world situations. The functional utilization and assimilation of the key concepts, fundamentals and procedures of school counseling is emphasized through a hands-on approach.

Career Information

State requirements for school counselors may include completion of a master's degree, state certification, both teaching and counseling credentials, teaching experience, state licensure or a combination of these elements. Prospective school counselors may also be required to pass a comprehensive test, such as the Praxis Test of School Guidance and Counseling. Those interested in a career in school counseling should verify state regulations prior to enrollment in a program to ensure it meets the necessary requirements.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported approximately 253,460 educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors were employed as of May 2015. The average yearly salaries for these positions are $56,490. The BLS anticipated an increase of 8% for school and career counselor jobs between 2014-2024 (

Continuing Education Information

Most states require school counselors to complete a certain number of continuing education hours to renew certification and licensure. Many schools offer acceptable school counseling continuing education courses completely online. School counselors can also further their education and advance their careers by taking classes in areas such as group counseling, multicultural considerations and contemporary topics in school counseling.

Online certification programs in school counseling are for individuals who already hold a master's degree in education or counseling. While most programs are offered online, many have on-campus and internship requirements that can typically be completed in a year.

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