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Requirements for School Counselors

Alaska

Last Updated: 12/12/2012

Pre-service Requirement04 AAC 12.365 (2005) requires that anyone employed to provide related services including school psychology must possess a Type C (special services) certificate in the field of employment, issued under 04AAC 12.355 (2005). 04 AAC 12.300 (2006) outlines the requirements of a bachelor's degree, recommendation by the preparing institution, completion of a teacher education program, and completion of 3 semester hours of Alaska studies and 3 semester hours in multicultural education or cross-cultural communications.04AAC 12.355 (2011) requires that applicant must complete a program in the special services area, possess a bachelor's degree, recommendation by the preparing institution, three semester hours in Alaska studies and three semester hours in cross-cultural or multicultural education.

Professional Development: Regulation 4 AAC 06.530(b) requires school personnel assigned to provide guidance and counseling services to receive biennial training on the recognition of gender bias in counseling materials as well as in the specific techniques that may be used with students to overcome the effects of gender bias.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Alabama

Last Updated: 8/25/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Administrative Code 290-3-3-.50 (2005) sets the minimum eligibility requirements for initial certification as a school counselor at least a baccalaureate professional educator certification in a teaching field and completion of a state approved master's degree level program in school counseling. Other minimum eligibility requirements for an alternative approach, the preliminary certificate as a school counselor, include a master's degree with a major in counseling, a valid counseling license issued by the state board of examiners in counseling, and completion of the Alabama Prospective Teacher Testing Program requirements. Details of licensure are found in Administrative Codes 290-3-2 (2003) and 290-3-3-.50. 

Administrative Code 290-3-3-.03 (2005) further emphasizes the minimum requirement of a master's-level 5th year certificate for instructional support personnel which includes a school counselor.

Professional Development: Administrative Code 290-3-2-.04 (2004) requires all those with a professional educator certificate to provide verification of 3 years of satisfactory educational experience and either 50 clock hours of professional development (5 CEUs) or 3 semester/4 quarter hours of allowable credit; or 6 semester/9 quarter hours of allowable credit; or National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification earned during the current period of certification.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Arkansas

Last Updated: 12/27/2013

Pre-service Requirement: Pre-service Requirement: A school counselor is required to meet the standards as outlined in The Arkansas Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs (2009).

Professional Development: No state policy.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Standard XI of the Department of Education’s Rules Governing Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools and School Districts (2009) requires each school to assign appropriate certified counselor staff with the district to maintain an overall ratio of 450 to 1.

 

Arizona

Last Updated: 4/28/2012

Pre-service Requirement: The Arizona Guidance Counselor Certificate (2005) for grades K-12 requires, per R7-2-615 (2000), a minimum of a master's degree, completion of a graduate program in guidance and counseling, a valid Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card, and completion of a practicum in school counseling or full-time experience in school counseling (two years) or teaching (three years).

Professional Development: State Board of Education Administrative Code R7-2-617 (2003) requires the completion of 180 hours of professional development every six years of certificate renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


California

Last Updated: 2/19/2009

Pre-service Requirement: Education Code 44266 (1988) states the minimum requirements for the pupil personnel services specialization as a baccalaureate degree or higher from an approved institution, a fifth year of study, and professional preparation that the commission requires. The holder of pupil personnel services credential is authorized to perform school counseling, school psychology, child welfare and attendance, and school social work services at all grade levels.

California Code of Regulations Title 5, Division 8, Chapter 5, Article 2, 80632(B) (1989) credits successful completion of a program for the school counselor specialization to be a minimum of 30 semester or 45 quarter units or 450 classroom hours of post baccalaureate study. Specifics of licensures are outlined in 80632.1 (1989) and 80632.2 (1989) of the same Article.

Professional Development Requirement: Education Code 49604 (1992) calls for the superintendent of public instruction to send a notice to each middle school, junior high school, and high school to encourage each school to provide suicide prevention training to each school counselor at least while employed as a counselor.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Colorado

Last Updated: 10/25/2011

Pre-service Requirement : Per Statute 22-60.5-201 (2004) and State Board of Education Regulation 2260.5-R-3.02 (2004), at least a initial special services license is required for to be a school counselor. State Board of Education Regulation 2260.5-R-11.09 (2004) requires school counselors for ages 0-21 to have a master's degree in school counseling, completed an approved program in school counseling, passed a state-approved assessment in school counseling, and completed a 600-hour supervised internship in a school setting at the appropriate age level(s). The candidate must also demonstrate knowledge in 10 specified competencies.   

Professional Development: For an initial license holder, State Board of Education 2260.5-R-12.01 (2004) requires steps towards completing the requirements for a professional license every 3 years until completed. State Board of Education Regulation 2260.5-R-12.02 (2004) requires six semester hours of 90 clock hours of professional development every five years for professional license renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Connecticut

Last Updated: 12/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Regulations 10-145d-555 and 556 (2003) requires school counselors serving grades K-12 to have a master's degree, to hold or be eligible to hold an initial educator certificate, have completed a full-time supervised school internship of 10 school months in a preK-12 school setting, have a minimum of 30 credit hours in a planned program in school counseling services, have the recommendation of the preparing institution based on seven specified areas, have completed counseling and guidance laboratories and practicum, and have completed at least 36 clock hours of study in special education.

Professional Development: Certified professional school counselors shall be required to complete 90 contact hours of continuing education (professional development) during each successive five-year period for re-certification, which is based on the Regulation 10-145d-417.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.
 


Delaware

Last Updated: 12/20/2008

Pre-service Requirement: Administrative Code 14:1575 (2003) requires elementary school counselors to have a minimum of a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and either three years professional experience in an elementary school setting or a one year supervised school counseling internship in an elementary school setting as part of a graduate degree program in elementary school counseling. The master's degree must either be in elementary school counseling or have 27 semester hours in nine specific counseling areas.

Administrative Code 14:1545 (2003) requires secondary school counselors to have a minimum of a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and either three years professional experience in a secondary school setting, three years equivalent experience approved by the Department of Education, or a one year supervised school counseling internship in a secondary school setting as part of a graduate degree program in secondary school counseling. The master's degree must either be in secondary school counseling or have 27 semester hours in nine specific counseling areas.

Professional Development: 90-clock hours of professional development every five years are required for re-licensure per the Code 14:1511. Of these 90 hours, 45 must be activities that relate to the school counselor's work with students or staff.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Georgia

Last Updated: 10/30/2011

Pre-service Requirement: PSC Rule 505-2-.117 (2004), per PSC Rule 505-2-.03 (2004), requires a valid National Certified School Counselor credential issued by the National Board of Certified Counselors and completion of the content knowledge assessments and Special Georgia Requirements [PSC Rule 505-2-.20 (2005)]. The Special Georgia Requirements include an FBI background check, completion of study or experience within five years of application, three semester hours of credit in identifying and educating children with special educational needs, and computer competency.

Professional Development: PSC Rule 160-3-3-.04 (2003) requires each school system to develop a three-year professional learning plan to be included in the school system's Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP). This learning plan shall organize and direct all professional learning activities regardless of program or funding. State Board of Education Rule 160-3-3-.10 (2003) elaborates further, requiring school systems to offer professional development programs for professional learning units (PLUs), aimed at improvement in assessed areas of need.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: School Guidance and Counseling Services per State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.22 (2000) requires school systems, for state-funding, to employ 1 counselor per 462 FTE for grades K-5, per 624 FTE for grades 6-8, and per 400 FTE for grades 9-12.


Hawaii

Last Updated: 6/23/2008

Pre-service Requirement: Although a policy is not specified, the state reports that successful completion of PRAXIS and a master's degree in counseling from an accredited university are required.

Professional Development: Hawaii Teacher Standards Board license requires PD points to maintain status.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: ASCA recommends 250 to 1 ratio of students to school counselor.


Iowa

Last Updated: 10/31/2011

Pre-service Requirement: 282 IAC 13.28  (26-27) require elementary and secondary school counselors to have a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education, completed an approved human relations component, and completed an approved exceptional learner component. Elementary and secondary counselors must also complete 12 specified course and experience sequences, specified for both levels of counseling in this code. A 500-hour practicum in a classroom setting is one of those required sequences for both levels of counseling. Further information provided in 282 IAC 13.28 and 282 IAC 27 professional service license endorsements. Further details are also provided in the Requirements for Teaching Endorsements.

Professional Development: 282 IAC 17.5 (2005) requires six credits of graduate or undergraduate credit from a regionally accredited institution which adds greater depth/breadth to the school counselor endorsement or leads toward a doctoral degree. 

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Code 256.11(9A) requires each district to work toward the goal of one guidance counselor for every three hundred fifty students. The Iowa Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Program Development Guide recommends a 250:1 ratio for grades K-Community College.


Idaho

Last Updated: 2/25/2013

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Rule 08, Title 02, Chapter 02 (2009) requires school counselors to have a master's degree and completion of an approved graduate program in school guidance and counseling from a college or university approved by the State Board of Education or by the educational agency in which the program was completed. This program must include the successful completion of 700 clock hours of supervised field experience, 75% of which must have been in a K-12 school setting. Previous counseling experience may be considered to offset the field experience clock-hour requirement. An institutional recommendation is also required. 

Statute 33-1212 allows certified school social workers to act as school guidance counselors at the elementary school level.
 
Professional Development: State Board of Education Rule 08, Title 02, Chapter 02 (2009) requires six semester credit hours to be completed every five years for endorsement renewal. 

Student-to-Counselor Ratio
: One counselor to every 400 students is required for Northwest Association of Accredited Schools regional accreditation.

Illinois

Last Updated: 9/2/2009

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education 23 Administrative Code Ch. 1-a, Section 1.760 requires school counselors to hold a Type 10 or 73 Certificate, which requires a candidate to complete an approved school counselor preparation program and pass the relevant content and basic skills tests as outlined in  State Board of Education 23 Administrative Code Ch. 1-b, Section 23.110 (2002). A school counselor must also have completed a practicum and internship in counseling school-aged children.

Professional Development: None specified.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Indiana

Last Updated: 11/30/2010

Pre-service Requirement: For a school counselor's school services license, 515 IAC 8-1-45 (2010) requires a master's degree from an approved school counselor progra or, if already degreed, has completed additional course work from an approved school counselor program. 
To be eligible for a proficient practitioner license, a holder of an initial practitioner license that includes the school counselor content area established under 515 IAC 8-1-45 shall participate in a two (2) year beginning school services residency program per 515 IAC 1-5-3.2. The beginning school services residency program shall:
(1) assist beginning school services personnel in the performance of their duties;
(2) identify skills and practices necessary for excellence in school services; and
(3) require the supervisor to complete an assessment of the performance of the beginning school services personnel. Before May 1 of the second year, the supervisor shall make a determination of whether or not the school counselor successfully completed the residency program.

The Standards for School Counseling Professionals (2002) also provide a detailed list of qualities, attributes, and skills needed as a licensed school counselor.

Professional Development: Every five years (for proficient practitioner license holders) or ten years (for holders of the professional or accomplished practitioner license), per 515 IAC 1-7-14, the Indiana Professional Standards Board requires the completion of six approved college semester credit hours, completing approved experiences that earn 90 credential renewal units, or the completion of an approved Professional Growth Plan for license renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: State Board of Education 511 IAC 4-1.5-2 (2000) recommends that there be one school counselor per 600 students for grades 1-6 in the corporation and one school counselor per 300 students for grades 7-12 in the corporation for educational and career services. For student assistance services, one school counselor per 700 students in the corporation is recommended.


Kansas

Last Updated: 11/17/2011

Pre-service Requirement: Education regulation 91-1-201 (2004) requires a school specialist license be obtained. Regulation 91-1-203 (2004) requires a minimum of a graduate degree, at least one year of recent accredited experience or eight recent credit hours, a minimum of a 3.25 cumulative graduate GPA, a currently valid professional teaching license, and the successful completion of a school specialist assessment.

Statute 72-7513 (2001) requires the state board to adopt and maintain standards, criteria, guidelines or rules and regulations for certification of counselors.

Professional Development: License renewal required every five years.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.


Kentucky

Last Updated: 5/19/2013

Pre-service Requirement: 16 KAR 3:060 (2002) requires a minimum of a provisional certificate for guidance counselors. A provisional certificate may be issued upon completion of an approved master’s level program in guidance counseling. A standard certificate requires additional credit hours and specified employment experience.

Professional Development
: Standard 5 of the Standards of Professional Development (2004) and KRS 158.070 (2010) require school counselors, who are considered professional staff, to undergo four days of professional development each year based on their individual professional growth plans. Under 16 KAR 3:060 (2002), a provisional certificate may be maintained through a minimum of nine semester hours of graduate credits every five years. A standard certificate is maintained through completion of Effective Instructional Leadership Act (EILA) hours.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Louisiana

Last Updated: 11/21/2011

Pre-service Requirement: RS 17:3005 (1991) requires any elementary school guidance counselor employed by a city school board to be certified as required by the state. The minimum requirements for an endorsement as a school counselor requires a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution or a master's degree with the equivalent hours and courses required for a master's degree in school counseling. Graduate training must include a total of 24 semester hours of professional courses. For a professional endorsement, a candidate must have met the requirements for a counselor in the school setting and hold a current license as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Louisiana. Details of the endorsements are outlined in Bulletin 746 (2001). 

Professional Development: RS 17:282.4 (2001) requires the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to prescribe rules and regulations necessary for a statewide youth suicide prevention plan in public elementary and secondary schools. These policies for programs to offer services may include training for school personnel and other responsible for counseling or supervising student activities.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: RS 17:3005 (1991) requires each school board to provide elementary school guidance counselors for all students in grades K-6, with the ratio of 1 guidance counselor for every 400 students. Further, RS 17:403 (2004) requires a maximum of 4 schools to one counselor (addictive disorders professionals) for the purpose of counseling students who have been identified as having an alcohol, drug, or substance abuse problem.


Massachusetts

Last Updated: 6/23/2008

Pre-service Requirement: An initial license, per General Law 71.38G (2004) and 603 CMR 7.11 (2004), requires a master's degree in counseling, subject matter knowledge in 13 specified areas dependent on grade level being licensed for (either Pre-K-8 or 5-12), a 450 hour practicum in an educational setting, and a passing score on the Communications and Literacy Skills test.  

Professional Development: Per General Law 71.38G (2004), relevant professional development plan that meets board requirements for subject matter knowledge and teaching skills is required to be completed every 5 years for re-certification.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Maryland

Last Updated: 6/8/2011

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Regulation 13A.12.03.02 (2001) outlines four different options for requirement to be a school counselor in Maryland. All four options require a master's degree in school guidance and counseling, and three of the options require at least two years of satisfactory performance as a teacher or counselor. 

Professional Development: Maryland has no specific state policy for the professional development of school counselors. However, Code 7-504 (1996) establishes standards and policies for the training of school personnel, and others responsible for counseling or supervising student activities, in suicide prevention to meet the requirement that all schools have Youth Suicide Prevention Programs. 

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.


Maine

Last Updated: 11/22/2011

Pre-service Requirement: Rule Chapter 115, Section 8075 (1997) requires a minimum of a master's or doctorate degree in school guidance counseling from an accredited and approved program, the program's recommendation, and a minimum of 33 graduate credits in nine areas specified in this rule. Maine also requires the equivalent of two documented years of work experience and the completion of a one academic year graduate level school counseling internship. Statute Title 20-A 4008 (1989) also requires a school counselor candidate at a minimum to possess a master's degree from an approved guidance and counseling program.

Professional Development: Education Rule Chapter 115, Section 8075 requires six hours of approved study, preferably in the certificate area, for certificate renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Maine's Essential Programs & Services (1997) recommends there be a 350:1 ratio in elementary and middle schools and a 250:1 ratio in high schools.


Michigan

Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Administrative Rule R 390.1301-1305 (1971) requires that a person employed in a public elementary or secondary school in a counseling role shall hold a valid Michigan teaching certificate with a counseling endorsement. A counseling endorsement requires the completion of an approved counseling education program of at least 18 semester hours of credit.

MCL 380.1233 (2000) also allows for counselors to either hold a school counseling endorsement or hold a master's degree earned after the completion of an approved school counselor education program, has completed the department's guidance counselor examination, and has been recommended by an approved school counselor education program. Alternatively, five or more years of experience serving as a school counselor in another state and successful completion of the department's guidance counselor examination qualifies a candidate.

Professional Development: No state policy.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy; however, per the national model for standards of school counselors, Michigan recommends there be no more than a 300 students per one school counselor.


Minnesota

Last Updated: 9/4/2009

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Rule 8710.6400 (2003) requires a candidate for school counselor to hold a master's degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited college or university and show verification of completing an approved school counseling program.

Professional Development: State Board of Education Rule 8710.7100 (2003) requires all teachers to obtain 125 hours of continuing education in their field every five years for re-licensure.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.


Missouri

Last Updated: 8/25/2008

Revised Statute 167.265 (1990) establishes a program to provide guidance counselors in grades K-9. Any public school containing these grades with a minimum enrollment of 125 students per school site, have a breakfast program, and serve at least 40% of its lunches to free and reduced price meals shall be eligible for a state financial supplement.

Pre-service Requirement: For certification as an elementary counselor for grades K-8 or a secondary counselor for grades 7-12, a candidate must possess a master's degree with a major emphasis in guidance and counseling from a department approved college or university, supervised practice for at least 3 semester hours, and knowledge and competency in the listed areas OR a candidate must have a master's degree or higher in school counseling or counseling or counseling psychology, additional graduate work in school counseling including a supervised internship of at least 300 hours.

Professional Development: Revised Statute 161.092 (2003), as reflected in standard 6.7 of the Missouri School Improvement Program (2001), recommends school districts provide substantial time and resources for professional development of all staff members. 

For renewal of an elementary counselor or secondary counselor certificate, a candidate must verify 2 years experience as a school counselor, document attendance at 3 professional workshops/seminars totaling 15 clock hours, and submit transcripts demonstrating at least 6 semester hours of graduate credit or verify 90 clock hours of professional workshops/in-services appropriate for elementary counselors.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: The Missouri School Improvement Plan (2001) requires a 500:1 ratio for compliance with state accreditation standards.


Mississippi

Last Updated: 9/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: For a five year educator license in guidance and counseling, a candidate must either hold a five year educator license, have completed a master's degree program in guidance and counseling or hold a master's degree in another area and have completed an approved program for guidance and counseling, and passed the Praxis II specialty area test for guidance counselors OR completed an approved master's degree program for guidance and counseling which includes a full year internship OR hold a master's degree in another area and completed an approved program for guidance and counseling which includes a full year internship, passed the Praxis I and passed the Praxis II specialty area test for guidance counselors. Details are outlined in Licensure Guidelines (436).

Code 37-9-79 (2002) require school guidance counselors to hold a master's degree in guidance and counseling, or in an emergencies, an appropriate certification as determined by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development. 

Professional Development: For renewal of a five year educator license as a school counselor 3 semester hours in content or job/skill related area OR 5 continuing education units in content or job/skill related area OR completion of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) process for National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) is required. Details are outlined in Licensure Guidelines (436).

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (2006) requires each high school to provide at a minimum, a time licensed guidance counselor. Code 37-9-79 (2002) requires students in elementary schools to have access to qualified student support personnel which include guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and others.


Montana

Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service Requirement: A Class 6 Specialist License is required for all school counselors. A master's degree in school counseling (K-12) or a master's degree with an equivalent graduate school level counseling content along with a supervised internship and at least 600 hours in a school setting are required for licensure per State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.435 (2002).

Professional Development: For license renewal, a minimum of four additional graduate credits must be earned as stipulated by State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.57.215 (2003) and 10.57.433 (2002).

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.55.710 (2002) requires one counselor for every 400 students at all grade levels.


North Carolina

Last Updated: 9/27/2010

Pre-service Requirement: The State Board of Education requires the completion of an approved education program in a regionally accredited college or university, a master's degree, or a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in a school counselor program.

Professional Development: The State Board of Education requires 10 semester hours or 15 units of renewal credit of course work directly related to school counseling is required every five years for license renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Part III of North Carolina's Basic Education Plan for Public Schools (1994) requires there to be one counselor for every 400 students in a school district.


North Dakota

Last Updated: 12/14/2012

Pre-service Requirement: Pursuant to Code 15.1-13.23 (no date available), if guidance and counseling services are provided for by the school, the minimum requirements for preliminary certification as a school counselor include a graduate degree in counseling from a state approved program, with an internship and course work in school counseling and pass a background check. Licensure details are found in Administrative Rule 67-11-05-01 (2002).

Administrative Rule 67-11-05-04 also provides requirements for preliminary certification of a counselor on a plan of study. This includes a valid educator's professional license, admission to a state approved counselor education program, and completion of a minimum of three courses from the following content areas: counseling theory, counseling methods and techniques, program management, ethics and law. 

Professional Development: Administrative Rule 67-11-05-07 (2002) stipulates that four semester hours of graduate coursework in education, of which two hours must be in the area of counseling, or thirty clock hours of continuing education hours in counseling, are required for license renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: North Dakota requires one counselor per 450 students in grades K-6 and one counselor per 300 students in grades 7-12 per per NDCC 15.1-06-19.


Nebraska

Last Updated: 11/30/2011

Pre-service Requirement: The minimum requirements for a school counselor endorsement are two years of teaching experience, 36 graduate semester hours and a master's degree in school counseling according to 92 NAC 24-006.52 (no date available).

Professional Development: Statute 79-830, the Professional Growth Requirement, requires all certificated employees to provide evidence of 6 semester hours of professional growth or an alternative activity approved by the school board every 6 years. The Department of Education recommends programs and courses for school counseling professional development in its Nebraska School Counseling Career Development Guide

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: 92 NAC 10-007.05A (no date available) states that each K-12 and secondary school system shall assign at least one time person to conduct a guidance and counseling program. When enrollment exceeds 400, a full-time endorsed person shall be assigned.


New Hampshire

Last Updated: 12/22/2011

Pre-service RequirementState Board of Education Rule Ed 507.07 (2005) requires candidates to have completed a state board of education approved school counseling collegiate program at the master's degree level or higher; or to have acquired the competencies, skills, and knowledge of a guidance counselor through completion of courses related to school counseling at the master's degree level or higher and completion of a counseling internship in a school setting; or experience in comparable positions in school guidance and counseling or other professions closely related to school guidance and counseling.

Professional Development: State Board of Education Rule Ed 512 (2001) requires educators to have a minimum of 75 hours of professional development every three years. 30 hours must be devoted to the educator's subject area or specialization.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: State Board of Education Rule Ed 306.39 (2005) requires elementary schools to provide one full-time guidance counselor per 500 students. Middle and high schools are required to provide one full-time guidance counselor per 300 students.


New Jersey

Last Updated: 12/18/2010

Pre-service Requirement: School counselors are required to have a minimum of a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and have either completed a department-approved graduate curriculum in school counseling or 48 credit hours in eight areas of study, described in detail in State Board of Education Administrative Code N.J.A.C. 6A:9-13.8 (2004).

School counselors may be employed as a substance awareness coordinator per State Board of Education Code N.J.A.C. 6A:9-13.2.
 
Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.
 
Professional Development: School counselors are considered teaching staff members and are thus required to fulfill 100 hours of professional development per State Board of Education Administrative Code N.J.A.C. 6A:9.

New Mexico

Last Updated: 3/18/2011

Pre-service Requirement: 6.63.6.8 NMAC (2003)applicants may meet this requirement by meeting requirements – (1) national certified school counselor credential issued by the national board for certified counselors, (2) licensed professional mental health counselor or licensed professional clinical mental health counselor credential issued by the New Mexico counseling and therapy practice board and a minimum of 6 semester hours of graduate credit in school counseling course work and (3) master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university that meets the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection C of this rule. All candidates shall take and pass the content knowledge assessment for school counselors as stated in 6.60.5.8 NMAC prior to the issuance of the license.

Professional Development6.65.2 NMAC, requires all public school districts and charter schools to design and implement a professional development plan that meets the guidelines in this rule and that is part of the district/school strategic plan (Educational Plan for Student Success).

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: There is no mandated ratio in New Mexico. School counseling services are required to be provided; however, the number of school counselors in a district is determined at the local level and is based on the size of the school/district and the assessed needs of the students.

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Nevada

Last Updated: 9/9/2009

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Administrative Code 391.180 (2001) states that school counselors must hold an endorsement from the Department of Education. For endorsement, State Board of Education Administrative Code 391.185 (2002) requires a minimum of a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in school counseling. A master's degree with a specialty credential as a school counselor from the National Board for Certified Counselors or with at least 280 hours of practicum, internship, or field experience in school counseling at any grade level K-12 and 36 graduate credits in nine specific school counseling areas are also acceptable.

Professional Development: None specified.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


New York

Last Updated: 9/16/2009

Pre-service Requirement: Commissioner of Education's Regulations 80-2.3 requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree, 30 graduate credits in school counseling and a college internship/supervised practice in school counseling, including supervised practice in guidance, for a provisional certificate as a school counselor. For a permanent certificate, candidates must complete 30 additional hours of graduate credits in school counseling and two years of experience in the field of pupil personnel services.

Professional Development Requirement: None specified.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Ohio

Last Updated: 6/25/2008

Pre-service Requirement: OAC 3301-24-05 (2003) requires school counselors to hold a professional pupil services license, which allows them to work children of any grade level. Minimally, a candidate must be of good moral character and have a master's degree with either two years of successful teaching experience and a 600-hour internship in a school setting or a 600-hour internship in a school setting and a one-year supervised induction as a school counselor.

Professional Development: ORC 3319.073 (1995) requires the board of education to develop a 4-hour in-service training program in child abuse prevention for all elementary school district employees and service center work.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Oklahoma

Last Updated: 5/4/2009

Pre-Service Requirement: The Competencies for Licensure & Certification (2002) requires a minimum of a master's degree and a passing grade on a state certification test.

Professional Development: Statute 70-6-194 (1998) requires local boards of education to establish professional development programs for the certified and licensed teachers and administrators of the district. Each program specifically must allow school counselors to receive at least one-third of the hours or credit required each year through programs or courses specifically designed for school counselors.

The state provides funded opportunities for staff development in the area of HIV and offers other professional development opportunities for counselors.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: OAR 210:35-7-43 (1992) requires there be one counselor to every 450 students, with at least one half-time counselor employed in each school district.


Oregon

Last Updated: 6/25/2008

Pre-service Requirement: OAR 584-017-0440 (1999) lists 14 specific competencies that are required for initial licensure. The basic counselor endorsement's minimum requirements, per OAR 584-044-0011 (1998), are a master's degree from an Oregon approved counselor education program and completion of both a teaching and counseling practica. OAR 584-036-0025 (1995) requires a counselor endorsement for personnel assigned to at least a part-time position.

Professional Development: OAR 584-090-0050 (2000) requires school psychologists with a basic license to have one year of full-time successful experience during the life of the current license and have successfully completed a professional development plan. OAR 584-048-0065 (1992) requires a recommendation from an approved program that is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of 9 quarter hours leading up to a Standard Personnel Service License.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.


Pennsylvania

Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Counselor's require an Educational Specialist's Certificate. 022 PA Code 49.102 (1999) states that an Educational Specialist I Certificate will be issued to those applicants who have successfully completed a Department of Education approved educational specialist preparation program, have satisfactorily achieved in the prescribed assessments [see 022 PA Code 354.33 (2000) for specifics], and has the college or university preparing program's recommendation.

Elementary School Counselor (2010) certification requires the completion of an elementary school counselor preparation program that educates the applicant in 11 specific academic foundation areas. The applicant must also have observatory and participatory lab experience, at least 60 hours of supervised counseling practicum experience, and 300 clock hours of internship experience of which 70 hours involved providing direct service. Finally, the candidate must also exhibit knowledge and competency that fosters professionalism in four specific areas.

Secondary School Counselor certification requires the completion of a secondary school counselor preparation program that educates the applicant in 11 specific academic foundation areas. The applicant must also have observatory and participatory lab experience, at least 60 hours of supervised counseling practicum experience, and 300 clock hours of internship experience of which 75 hours involved providing direct service. Finally, the candidate must also exhibit knowledge and competency that fosters professionalism in four specific areas.

Professional Development: Act 48 (1999) requires professional educators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Rhode Island

Last Updated: 1/30/2013

Pre-Service Requirement: TheRegulations Governing the Certification of Educators in Rhode Island (effective January 1, 2012) details a comprehensive redesign of the certification system that updates the requirements and procedures that govern educator certification in Rhode Island.  Specific details of the Rhode Island School Counselor Certificate are outlined in School Counselor. The School Counselor Certificate is valid for assignment as a School Counselor in grades PK - 12 in Rhode Island public schools. Applicants prepared in a program where the language of instruction was not English must achieve a passing score of 64 on the Versant Pro Speaking and Writing assessments. Applicants must meet all Rhode Island assessment requirements.

See Certification Tests - Effective September 1, 2013.

Professional Development:  See the RI Professional Teacher Standards, RI Standards for Educational Leadership, and RI Code of Professional Responsibilities. As per the Regulations Governing the Certification of Educators in Rhode Island,professional development is embedded in the state approved local evaluation system requirement that all educators receive annual evaluation ratings and professional growth plans.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.

South Carolina

Last Updated: 9/17/2009

Professional Development Requirement: None specified. 

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Regulation R 43-64 (2004) requires school guidance counselors to have a minimum of a masters degree, completion of a State Board of Education approved advanced school counselor preparation program, and a minimum qualifying score on the area examination required by the State Board. Details for licensure are also outlined in the South Carolina Teacher Certification Manual (2008).

Statute 59-59-100 requires middle and high schools to provide students with the services of a career specialist who has obtained a bachelor's degree and has completed the national Global Career Development Certification.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Statute 59-59-100 requires middle and high schools to have a student-to-guidance personnel ratio of 300:1. State Board of Education Regulation 43-205 specifies ratios for schools with less than 600 students, and requires that schools with more than 500 students employ one full-time certified counselor, and those with more than 500 students must provide guidance services at the ratio of one 50-minute period for every 100 or major portion thereof.


South Dakota

Last Updated: 9/17/2009

Pre-Service Requirement: A preschool through grade 12 school counselor education program shall require a master's degree in school guidance or counseling which includes specific coursework outlined in Administrative Rule 24:53:09:01 (2008) and completion of a 600-hour internship under the supervision of a certified school counselor.

Professional Development: Requirements must be related to preparation standards in article 24:16 and be completed between the date of issuance of the current valid certificate and the application for renewal per Administrative Rule 24:15:03:06 (2005).

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Tennessee

Last Updated: 9/26/2011

Pre-service Requirement: Tennessee Licensure Standards and Induction Guidelines (2005) requires prospective school counselors to have a minimum of a graduate degree and approved preparation in school guidance and counseling, the recommendation of the guidance and counseling program’s institution, a supervised internship lasting the equivalent of at least one semester, and a semester long teaching orientation experience in a school setting. Further details on licensure are found within this policy.

Professional Development: None specified.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Code § 49-6-303 (1999) requires schools to employ school counselors in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve (pre-K-12) in order to provide preventative and developmental counseling.


Texas

Last Updated: 10/1/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Education Code 21.003 (2007) requires a school counselor to be certified by the state. Administrative Code 239.20 (2001) requires a minimum of a master's degree, 2 years teaching experience, successful completion of state exam, completion of a state approved school counselor program. A school counselor must also have coursework as follows: Learner-Centered Knowledge, Skills, Process, Equity and Excellence for All Learners, Communications and Professional Development detailed in Administrative Code 239.15 (2001). A counselor is also required to have a valid professional teaching certificate and three creditable years of classroom teaching experience.

Professional Development: Administrative Code 239.15 (2001) requires that mandated school counselor continuing professional education activities follow the foundation laid forth in detail within this statute. Administrative Code 239.25 (2001) requires 150 hours of continuing professional education to be completed during the first 5 year renewal period.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: Education Code 33.002 (2003) requires school districts, which receive certain funding for programs, provide at least 1 counselor for every 500 students at the elementary level. Those school districts with fewer than 500 students at the elementary level must provide a part-time counselor.


Utah

Last Updated: 6/25/2008

Pre-service Requirement: The minimum requirements for a school counselor provisional certificate are formal admittance into a Board approved counselor education program, completion of all the requirements of a Board of approved counselor education program, completion of a practicum of experiences, and recommended for a level 1 certificate. Details of the requirements are found in R277-506.3 (1996).

Professional Development: None specified.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Virginia

Last Updated: 11/16/2010

Pre-service Requirement: 8VAC20-21-610 (1998) requires a master's degree from an approved counselor education program with 100 clock hours clinical experience in a grades preK-6 setting and 100 clock hours in a grades 7-12 setting or has completed sufficient coursework and clinical experience to acquire the expected competencies. Two years of successful, full-time teaching or guidance and counseling experience is also required.

Professional Development: 8VAC20-21-100 (2002) requires 180 professional development points within a five-year period based on an individualized professional development plan for license renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: 8VAC20-131-240 (2000)  requires there to be one full-time counselor at an elementary school for every 500 students,  a middle schoole for every 400 students, and a secondary school for every 350 students.

Vermont

Last Updated: 10/4/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Board Rules 5441 and 5445 and 5440-64 (2005) require school counselors to have a master's degree in school counseling or the equivalent and a completed 600-hour supervised internship in school counseling in a school setting, with a minimum of 60 hours at both the Pre-K-6 and 7-12 levels. An applicant must also demonstrate knowledge of school counseling concepts and skills in seven specified areas and meet five specific performance standards.

Professional Development: None specified.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Washington

Last Updated: 6/25/2008

Pre-service Requirement: WAC 181-79A-221 (2004) requires, for initial certification, that the candidate have completed all requirements for a master's degree in counseling, excepting for any special projects or theses that may be required. The candidate must also have successfully completed a written comprehensive exam of the knowledge included in the course work required for the master's degree. The exam may be of a regionally accredited institution of higher learning or the National Counselor Examination of the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Professional Development: WAC 392-192-030 (1990) requires all local school districts to adopt a professional growth program for certified classroom teachers and support personnel unless a collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Wisconsin

Last Updated: 11/22/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Code PI 34.31 (2004) requires a minimum of a master's degree in school counseling and guidance from an approved program with the institution's endorsement. The candidate must also either be eligible for a teaching license or have at least two years of successful school counseling experience. Candidates must also demonstrate proficiency in the seven standards for pupil services, specified in Code PI 34.04 (2004).

Professional Development: Code PI 34.18 (2004) requires the completion of a professional development plan that demonstrates increased proficiency every five years for license renewal. The plan's completion is verified by a professional development team.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: No state policy.


West Virginia

Last Updated: 3/18/2012

Pre-service Requirement: State Board of Education Policy 5202 (2004) requires at least a master's degree in counseling from an accredited institution of higher education and the successful completion of an accredited School Counseling Program. Board Policy 2315 (2002) and Code 18-5-18b (no date available) also require a candidate to possess a school counselor certificate.

State Board of Education Policy 5500 (2010) also establishes school counselor performance standards in five broad areas. Every school counselor must demonstrate expertise in these five areas of (1) program planning, design and management, (2) program delivery, (3) data driven accountablity and program evaluation, (4) leadership and advocacy, and (5) professional growth and responsibilities.

Professional Development: State Board of Education Policy 5500 (2010) establishes the general implementation of staff development activities for the 18 hours of job-related training required for all school personnel each school year.  Code 18-2-7b (no date available) requires the State Board prescribe programs for training counselors in conflict resolution skills

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


Wyoming

Last Updated: 3/25/2012

Pre-service Requirement: Rule 4560, Chapter 10, Section 4 (2001) requires school counselors to have a teaching certificate and to have completed an advanced program in school guidance counseling, which meets five specific standards plus a practicum or internship in a recognized K-12 setting and two years successful teaching, school social work, school psychology, supervisory, or administrative experience in a recognized K-12 school setting or three years of comparable experience in a human services setting.

Professional Development: Rule 5181 (2003), Chapter 15 requires five semester hours of credit and/or 75 clock hours of professional development for license renewal.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.


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