What Are the Requirements to Become a School Counselor?
Types of School Counselors
Common Steps to Becoming a School Counselor
How Long Does It Take to Become a School Counselor?
School Counselor Career and Job Outlook
School Counseling Career FAQ
Licensure and certification requirements for school counselors vary from state to state. For that reason, it’s important to investigate school counselor license requirements in the state where you hope to work before you enter any master’s program.
In general, however, to gain school counselor certification or licensure, you must earn a master’s degree in school counseling and complete an internship as a counselor in a school setting. You’ll complete the internship as part of your master’s program. You may also have to pass a test and meet additional state-specific licensing rules.
What degree do you need to be a school counselor? In most states, you need a master’s degree in school counseling to become a licensed school counselor. Some states may accept a master’s in a closely related field, such as social work or psychology.
Some state’s educational requirements spell out particular courses you must take to qualify as a licensed school counselor. These might include courses in group counseling, theory and ethics of school counseling, child development, educational and psychological measurement, and/or career planning.
School counselors generally work in educational settings, such as primary schools or high schools. The BLS reports that 44% of career and school counselors worked in state, local or private secondary and elementary schools in 2019 while 35% worked in junior colleges, universities and professional schools.
School counselors typically work full time during the school year and during the summer may work at summer school or other roles.
School counseling is a growing career, according to the BLS, with demand for school and career counselors expected to increase 8% through 2029. Average wages are also higher than the average for all occupations in the United States.
However, only you can determine if this is a good career for you. Do you have the patience and empathy to work with children or teenagers? Do you want to be in a school setting? These are good questions to ask yourself when considering becoming a school counselor.
If you’re not sure, you may want to investigate what jobs are similar to school counseling. You might decide a career in social work or mental health counseling is a better match for you. In these cases, consider looking into social work programs. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid to take your time when thinking through this career decision.