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High School Counselor Training and Certification Program Info

Read about degree programs and licensing requirements for the aspiring high school counselor. See educational prerequisites, program coursework and employment outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

High school counselors provide students with educational and social guidance, vocational advice and crisis intervention. Most states mandate educational standards, licensure and certification for school counselors. Teaching experience and continuing education are required to obtain and retain licensure. Several graduate schools offer master's programs in school counseling to meet state requirements and offer training in child development and advocacy.

Master's degrees such as the Master of Education in School Counseling are commonly required by employers. Such educational counseling programs often take approximately two years to complete and may include online instruction. Applicants already holding a master's degree in another field may complete a truncated course of study resulting in a graduate certificate. Most master's programs in school counseling include practical experience with school-aged children.

Education Prerequisites

Typically, master's programs in school counseling require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree. Undergraduate courses in psychology, education and social sciences are recommended preparation for graduate-level studies. Candidates may need to complete a requisite number of teaching hours prior to matriculation.

Program Coursework

Most universities offering master's degree programs in school counseling offer courses that are designed to meet state licensure and certification requirements. Some common core courses might include:

  • Childhood psychology and development
  • Cultural awareness
  • Vocational and educational guidance
  • Behavioral evaluation and encouragement
  • Legal and ethical standards
  • Family and child advocacy training

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 237,480 educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors were employed in the United States in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The majority worked in elementary and high schools with average salaries of $62,970. The BLS reported an increase of 19% in school and career counseling positions between 2010 and 2020.

Certification and Continuing Education

All states mandate licensure for high school counselors. The typical educational qualification required is a master's degree, and some states may include regulated certification as an eligibility factor for employment in the field. Some previous teaching experience may be necessary for licensure, and counselors may need to participate in continuing education courses to maintain a credential or license.

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  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Business Economics
      • Business Management and Operations
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • ESL Teaching
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
        • College Student Counseling
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas

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