In Florida, school counseling programs are offered at the master's and doctoral degree levels; one school listed in this article also offers a post-master's certificate program. School counseling may be the main area of study, or it may be offered under the umbrella of a larger program in education or counselor education.
Master's degree programs require completion of 48-66 credit hours. A 72-credit combined Master of Education and Educational Specialist program with an emphasis in school counseling is also available. Students in a doctoral program may be able to complete it in 3-5 years.
School counseling students gain hands-on skills by participating in internship and practicum experiences. Applicants who aren't certified teachers may need to complete additional courses, either as prerequisites to admission or throughout their course of study.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program with a concentration in school counseling. This 60-credit program prepares graduates to pursue certification as K-12 school counselors. The program requires incoming students to have completed a set of preparation courses if they don't hold professional teaching certification. Students take courses in counseling processes, theories, and techniques for various types of patients. The program ends with an internship and counseling practicum, which provides students with experience and active learning opportunities.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Located in Fort Myers, Florida Gulf Coast University offers a M.Ed. and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in school counseling. The M.Ed. program is designed for students who are eligible for or already hold teaching certification. Required courses for the program include the study of human development, counseling theory, advanced methods, ethics, and research. Students must also complete three internships in school counseling. This program requires a total of 48 credit hours.
The M.A. program is designed for students who do not have teacher certification. Required courses are similar to those in the M.Ed. program, but participants in this program must also complete courses in classroom management, curriculum and instruction, and developmental reading. As a result, the M.A. program requires a total of 57 credit hours.
Florida International University
Florida International University in Miami offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Counselor Education with a concentration in school counseling. This program requires 57 credit hours. Students who don't have an undergraduate degree in education must take professional studies courses in educational psychology, educational research, and human development. The counseling core of the curriculum requires courses in counseling skills, appraisals, and ethics. The school counseling specialization focuses on counseling children and adolescents, as well as collaborating between families and schools. Clinical experiences involve supervised fieldwork and an advanced practicum in the field.
Nova Southeastern University
Students can earn an M.S. in School Counseling through the Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Designed for students pursuing additional training and professional development in this field, graduates are prepared for careers as school counselors for grades K-12. The curriculum requires 48 credit hours, and students can expect to take courses in research, group theory, counseling skills, and ethics. In addition, the program includes a school counseling practicum and two internships. Students who are not certified teachers may need to take additional courses.
This private school in Lakeland features a Master of Science in School Counseling program that can be completed in 22 months. The program requires 60 credits of coursework and provides students with a biblical foundation. Students can expect to take courses in group therapy, professional ethics, psychology and theology, and substance abuse counseling. The practicum and internship experiences at the end of the program take place in a school setting, while the rest of the courses are administered at the campus. After students complete the first course of the program, they have the option of only taking one or two courses each semester, allowing them to finish the remainder of the program on a part-time basis.
Located in DeLand, Stetson University offers a Master of Science in School Counseling. This program requires between 57 and 66 credit hours, and students are not required to complete a thesis to earn the degree. The curriculum involves two internships and a practicum, and students must pass the Florida State Exam and Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination before they can graduate.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is located in Orlando and offers degree programs in school counseling through the departments of Educational and Human Sciences and Child, Family, and Community Sciences.
School counseling is one of the specializations available in the M.A. in Counselor Education degree program. Students are specifically prepared to work with young people and parents within an academic setting. This degree program is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree but are not certified teachers.
The Master of Education in Educational Studies program trains graduate students to advise young adults and parents in a variety of settings. Applicants should already have an undergraduate degree in education and be certified teachers. In addition to attending lectures, students must complete an internship and clinical training.
For students who want more training beyond the master's level but do not want a doctorate, the Department of Child, Family, and Community Sciences offers an Education Specialist degree program in school counseling. Prospective school counselors must have a master's degree and experience as educators for entry into the program.
The Ph.D. program has 11 tracks, one of which is counselor education. Unlike the college's other counseling programs, this program prepares students to become counselors at the university level or become supervisors at schools or agencies. Some of the courses examine the roles of supervisors, educating adults, and policies in higher education.
University of Florida
Located in the heart of Gainesville, the University of Florida offers a couple degrees in school counseling. The Master of Education and Education Specialist dual-degree program has a specialization in school and guidance counseling. This option requires 72 credit hours and usually takes around three years to complete. Courses taken in this program include group counseling, counseling children, counselor professionalism, and ethics. Upon successful completion of this program, students are qualified to pursue school counseling certification. Students who eventually wish to pursue a doctoral degree can complete a thesis and receive an M.A. degree instead of the Master of Education degree.
The doctoral program is designed for students who not only need training in counseling but also want to be counselors in administrative or managerial positions. Students enter this program after they have completed a master's program. This program can be finished in three to five years and includes seminars, research projects, and internships. Students explore advanced counseling theories, counseling supervision, and clinical counseling.
University of North Florida
Located in Jacksonville, the University of North Florida offers a Master of Education in School Counseling. Courses on education in America and research in counseling act as core requirements, which is followed by courses in counseling theory, lifestyle development, resource management, and ethics. Students must complete a total of 48 credit hours to earn the degree, which includes an internship and practicum in school counseling. This program can also be completed through the cohort program known as SOAR, or Supporters of Academic Rigor. This version of the program focuses on social justice and includes 700 clock hours of field experiences offered through a partnership with a local public school.
University of South Florida - Main Campus
University of South Florida's main campus is located in Tampa. Students are able to earn a master's degree and post-master's certificate in school counseling. The M.A. degree program requires 70 credit hours. Core courses include the study of educational research, personality theories, principles of counseling, career development, and online services. The school counseling concentration includes courses in behavior theory, substance abuse counseling, human sexuality issues, and school counseling accountability. An internship is required.
Students can also pursue a post-master's certificate in this field, which is offered partially online. The program requires between 16 and 22 credit hours and includes courses in school counseling accountability, behavior theory, and consultation. An internship is required for this program as well.
In order to work as a school counselor in the State of Florida, students must be certified. Aspiring counselors must have at least a master's degree in counseling with a focus on school counseling or a master's degree in counseling with 30 credits of specific coursework.
The state does not have experience requirements for school counselors, but they'll need to also complete a guidance and counseling exam. Short overviews of the 10 largest schools with school counseling programs can be found below, as well as tuition information and program offerings organized in a comparison table.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||School Counseling Degree Programs||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Florida Atlantic University||Four-year; public; small city||Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling - School Counseling|| $6,657 in-state;
|Florida Gulf Coast University||Four-year; public; fringe rural|| Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling,
M.Ed. in School Counseling
| $8,961 in-state;
|Florida International University||Four-year; public; large suburb||Master of Science (M.S.) in Counselor Education - School Counseling|| $11,097 in-state;
|Nova Southeastern University||Four-year; private, not-for-profit; large suburb||M.S. in School Counseling||$20,620*|
|Southeastern University||Four-year; private, not-for-profit; small city||M.S. in School Counseling||$13,155*|
|Stetson University||Four-year; private, not-for-profit; midsize suburb||M.S. in School Counseling||$17,369*|
|University of Central Florida||Four-year; public; large suburb|| M.A. in Counselor Education - School Counseling,
M.Ed. in Counselor Education - School Counseling,
Education Specialist in Counselor Education - School Counseling,
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education - Counselor Education
| $8,872 in-state;
|University of Florida||Four-year; public; midsize city|| Master of Education/Education Specialist in School Counseling,
Doctor of Education in Counselor Education,
Ph.D. in Counselor Education
| $12,737 in-state;
|University of North Florida||Four-year; public; large city||M.Ed. in School Counseling|| $10,367 in-state;
|University of South Florida - Main Campus||Four-year; public; large city|| M.A. in Counselor Education - School Counseling,
Post-master's Certificate in School Counseling
| $10,428 in-state;
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.