How do I Become a Licensed School Counselor?

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Are you interested in learning how to become a licensed school counselor? If you would like to work in the education sector but you want to become a counselor and not a teacher, it is important to learn about the state certification requirements in your state so that you can meet these requirements once you complete school. A school counselor will work one-on-one with students in elementary, middle or high school so that they can assess students and uncover where the student needs to improve. Because they play such a vital role in positive growth and development, the qualifications to work in the field are very strict. Read on and learn what you need to do now to earn one of the highest paying jobs in education.

Earning a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree

If you would like to become licensed in school counseling, the first step you need to take is enrolling in an accredited Bachelor’s degree program. It is most common for a candidate to enroll in either a Counseling or a Psychology degree program to complete the coursework that is required by state licensing boards. You must complete a Bachelor’s degree program before you will gain acceptance into a required Master’s program.

Almost all states require that candidates for certification possess a Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You should check to find programs that are recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education to ensure that the program that you take meets the standards. When you study for your Master’s, there may be a list of courses that you will be required to complete. You should also verify if there is a minimum grade requirement prior to attending your program. The American School Counselor Association has a list of educational requirements by state that makes doing research easier.

Completing an Internship

In addition to studying counseling in the classroom, you will also need to gain hands-on experience. Most Master’s programs have an internship or mentoring requirements where you will get clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed school counselor. You will learn through observing the duties of a counselor in their normal work setting. While not all states have a mentoring requirement, many schools have this requirement to earn a diploma.

Earning Your License in School Counseling

In some states, counselors will hold licenses. In other states, it is referred to as a certification. Once you have the necessary hours of professional experience, you can submit your paperwork and test to become licensed or certified. The comprehensive written exam will test your knowledge in the field, but some states have unique testing requirements. Be sure to take your time and practice for your exam before you sit.

The demand for school counselors in on the rise as the enrollments in all primary schools continues to grow. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow by 19 percent within the next 10 years. If you want to fill in the growing gap between supply and demand, it is time to study for your licensure. Start comparing the degree programs that are accredited, look for mentoring opportunities, and then take your exam so that you can become a licensed school counselor and accomplish your goals.

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