School counselors are professional educators who design and implement developmentally-appropriate school counseling programs including individual counseling, classroom guidance lessons, and consultation with teachers and parents. To be certified as a school counselor, students should expect to prepare at the Master's degree level, in a program certified by their state Department of Education. Read on to find out more about programs in the state of Florida, and requirements for admission to these programs.
School Counseling Programs in Florida
Florida Gulf Coast University
Students can elect to earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling at Florida Gulf Coast University in Southwest Florida. The FGCU program is approved by the Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Students take courses including college and career readiness, fostering resiliency, and legal issues in school counseling. Participation in field experiences begins with the second semester of enrollment, and continues for much of the rest of the course of study. Students can elect to pursue a joint program to earn certification in mental health counseling as well.
Nova Southeastern University
At Nova Southeastern University, students can study towards the Master of Science (M.S.) in School Counseling. The program is offered in an intensive weekend format at both Fort Lauderdale and regional campuses, and takes 2.5-3 years to complete. Courses include college counseling and school consultation skills. Students complete a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship over two different levels of Pre-K-12 education. Students who hold a closely related master's degree may apply for certification-only status.
Florida Atlantic University
Students can pursue a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. The 60-credit hour, CACREP-accredited program begins with core counseling courses including life span development and group counseling. Students then progress to specialty courses including career development and consultation/behavior management. Students will be exposed to direct practice through a practicum of 150 hours and an internship of 600 hours. The internship culminates in the creation of a portfolio of work completed, identifying the provision of individual counseling sessions, counseling groups, and classroom guidance lessons.
St. Thomas University
St. Thomas University, in Miami Gardens, offers an M.S. in Guidance and Counseling program. St. Thomas University focuses on offering students a background in trauma-informed counseling; as well as a consideration of how Catholic social teaching affects counseling practice. Students with a master's degree in a closely related area can earn post-graduate certification in guidance and counseling. Post master's certificate courses may include development of school guidance programs and counseling special populations.
Florida International University
Florida International University, located in Miami, provides the opportunity to earn the M.S. in Counselor Education: School Counseling through its CACREP-accredited program. This program requires 57 credits and students need to take classes in three major categories: counseling core classes, specializations, and clinical experience. Specific courses may include vocational counseling and cross-cultural counseling. Students participate in a 150-hour practicum and 600-hour internship in order to obtain practical school counseling experience.
In order to enter a school counseling master's degree program in Florida, candidates should hold a bachelor's degree. While no particular undergraduate major is required, those who do not hold Florida teacher certification may also be required to take co-requisite courses in classroom management, reading, and English as a second language. Candidates should expect to provide a resume, written statement, and recommendations. Interviews are typically required. Undergraduate GPA requirements range from a 2.5-3.0 or higher. In addition, most graduate programs require submission of GRE exams, however some will accept MAT results instead.
Pursuing a master's degree in school counseling will offer students a wide-ranging education in child development, counseling skills, and program evaluation. Various schools in Florida offer options to pursue this degree.