School Counselor Certification Requirements in Connecticut

Connecticut school counselors are master’s level professionals. They are certified by the Connecticut State Department of Education as special services providers. The certificate authorizes service with both elementary and secondary school students. Background checks are carried out at the employment level.

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School Counselor Educational Requirements

The graduate degree is to be completed at a regionally accredited institution. Students will need 30 semester hours of coursework that specifically addresses school counseling (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&q=321308).

Coursework must include the following:

  • Developmental guidance and counseling
  • Sociological and psychological theories as they relate to children
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Student evaluation and appraisal
  • School-based consultation
  • Career development

The prospective special services provider will need a course in special education. The course must be at least 36 clock hours. It must cover the following:

  • Development of special needs children, including the gifted and those with handicapping conditions
  • Identifying special needs children, planning for them, and working with them in the mainstream classroom

The student will need laboratory and practicum experiences. The American School Counselor Association states that a Connecticut school counseling student must have a ten month internship unless he or she has 30 months of teaching experience (http://schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/careers-roles/state-certification-requirements).

Connecticut students can expect to have criminal background checks prior to internship placement (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?A=2613&Q=321326).

The way to be sure of meeting state requirements is to enroll in a program that has been specifically approved by Connecticut. Connecticut participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education & Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Contract and has agreed to accept school counseling programs offered by regionally accredited institutions in the following states: Alabama, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. Other state programs may also be accepted.

Basic Skills Assessment Requirement

School counselors must meet a basic skills assessment requirement. Generally, the qualifying examination is the Praxis assessment in reading, writing, and mathematics. Test scores may be required as a condition of program admission. The Praxis may be waived on the basis of qualifying scores on other examinations, including those required for college admission.

The Connecticut Department of Education will accept a GRE score of 297 with a verbal score of 150, a math score of 144, and an analytic writing score of 4.5. In the case of examinations that were administered prior to August 2011, the minimum score is 1,000 with a verbal score of 450 and a math score of 500. (For administrations in October 2002 or later, the analytic writing portion must have been passed with a minimum score of 4.5.)

The certification agency will accept a combined SAT score of 1,100 provided that math and verbal scores are each at least 450. In the case of assessments administered by March 31, 1995 the minimum score is 1,000 with math and verbal scores each at least 400.

On the ACT, the minimum scores are 22 verbal and 19 math. Prior to October, 1989, the minimums are 20 verbal and 17 math.

The Connecticut Department of Education will also accept the PAA, a Puerto Rican examination. The overall score must be equivalent to 1,000 with a 400 each in verbal and math and a 510 on the TOEFL or ESLA English proficiency exam. PAA candidates may need to consult an equivalency chart.

Applicants can apply for waivers online; they will need to submit the score report through the mail. Individuals who prefer to mail their forms can download them from the Department of Education website. Materials are also available through the College of Education at Connecticut schools.

Those who do not qualify for waiver will find Praxis registration information on the ETS website (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ct). The assessment is computer-delivered. Candidates may register online. It currently costs $135 to take the combined reading, mathematics, and writing assessment. A Connecticut candidate will need to score 156 in reading, 150 in math and 162 in writing.

Candidates who took the examination in the more distant past may have different score requirements.

Out-of-State Candidates

Individuals who completed out-of-state programs may have the testing requirement deferred for up to a year, provided they have met all other requirements. An interim certificate will automatically be issued to qualifying candidates. It is nonrenewable.

An educator may be exempted from the assessment requirement on the basis of three years of recent experience in the same out-of-state school system or private school. The experience must have been accrued during the prior ten years.

The Application Process

Candidates can submit applications online. They can also download application materials from the Department of Education website (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&Q=321402). The same form is used for teaching, special services, and administrative certifications; school counseling applicants will use endorsement code 068.

An applicant must provide official transcripts. The Department of Education will also require a statement from the preparing institution. This verifies that the student completed an approved program and is recommended for certification.

Work experience can be documented through a statement of professional experience.

The applicant must remit $50; the fee is nonrefundable.

The application is to be sent to the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification in Hartford.

An applicant will be notified if additional credentials must be submitted; an application may be held as long as two years. However, an application sent without its accompanying fee will be returned.

Additional Information

The Connecticut State Department of Education has prepared a brochure to outline the educator licensure process (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/cert/obtaining1109aw.pdf). It is current as of December 2014.

The Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification can be reached by telephone at 860-713-6969 or by email at 'teacher.cert at ct.gov'. The Bureau notes that email response can take as long as two weeks.

The Connecticut School Counselors Association does not issue certifications but serves as an additional professional resource (http://www.coloradoschoolcounselor.org).

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