School Counseling Certification Requirements in Delaware

The Delaware Department of Education issues two separate school counseling certificates: one for the elementary grades and one for the secondary grades. The elementary certificate is required for kindergarten through fifth grade; the secondary certificate for ninth grade through twelfth grade. Either certificate is valid for the middle grades (six through eight).

In order to be certified as an elementary or secondary school counselor, a professional must meet education and experience requirements. It is also necessary to pass a basic skills test. Criminal background checks are carried out at the employment level.

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Educational Requirements

Delaware school counselors must earn master's degrees. School counseling programs that meet the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) standards are accepted as meeting requirements. Prospective students can search for NCATE-accredited institutions online (http://www.ncate.org/tabid/176/Default.aspx).

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Non-accredited degree programs offered by regionally accredited institutions are license qualifying provided that the candidate takes coursework to meet Delaware standards. It is not necessary that the master's degree itself be in school counseling, but the student must have a minimum of 30 semester hours of qualifying coursework.

Elementary and secondary schools counselors are required to have three semester hours in each of the following core areas:

  • School counseling principles and practices
  • Counseling theory
  • Individual counseling skills
  • Group counseling skills
  • Human development
  • Consultation
  • Individual and group testing
  • School counseling ethics

Additionally, elementary school counselors must have the following:

  • Developmental group guidance
  • Supervised counseling practicum at the elementary level

Secondary teachers must have the following:

  • Career development
  • Supervised counseling practicum at the secondary level

Experience Requirement

There are multiple ways to meet the state’s experience requirement. Delaware will accept three years of professional teaching (or equivalent) experience; the experience must be at the certification level sought.

Candidates who do not have teaching experience can meet the requirement through a year of full-time internship; this may be completed as part of the degree program or arranged by the Department of Education. Two years of half-time internship will also meet Department regulations. Again, the experience must be at the certification level sought.

Basic Skills Requirement

Candidates for licensure must pass a basic skills assessment. This may be required as a condition of program admission. However, professionals can be employed without having met the requirement. They will need to meet it within a specified time period.

Traditionally, the basic skills requirement has been met through the Praxis I examination. However, some candidates are exempted based on qualifying scores on other academic assessments including the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE), and California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). The NTE Communications Test can be accepted in lieu of the writing portion of the Praxis I. Official score verification will be required. In some, but not all cases, this information may be included on an official transcript. Otherwise, the candidate may contact the agency directly. The Delaware Department of Education has provided contact information for each assessment service (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_testing.aspx#exempt).

The following scores are required for the Praxis I:

  • Reading: 175
  • Writing: 173
  • Mathematics: 174

Composite scores can be accepted only in cases where the candidate is very close to the cut-off in each area (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_testing.aspx#exempt).

Candidates can visit the website of Educational Testing Service (ETS) to learn more about the educator assessment process. ETS reports that the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) tests have replaced the Praxis I. Passing scores for Delaware educators are as follows:

  • Reading: 156
  • Writing: 162
  • Mathematics: 150

Candidates can click on the desired test to download a PDF handbook and attempt a practice exam.

The examination is administered by computer during monthly testing windows (https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates). The fee for the combined test is $135 (https://www.ets.org/praxis/about/fees). It costs $125 to take two of the tests, $85 to take just one.

Delaware candidates who take the basic skills assessment through ETS can expect to have their scores electronically forwarded to the Delaware Department of Education. Out-of-state candidates will need to designate Delaware as a score recipient.

The Application Process

The license application can be submitted online through the DEEDS system. DEEDS registration represents a first step in the process (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_ia_instruct.aspx). Supporting documentation is to be sent afterward.

Applicants will need to submit official transcripts of all college coursework (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_docs.aspx). Those who graduated from programs outside Delaware will also need to submit the ‘Request for Transcript form’; one of the purposes of the document is to verify the programs accrediting or standard-setting agency. In many cases, documentation is sent to the Delaware Department of Education at the following address: Collette Education Resource Center 35 Commerce Way, Suite 1 Dover, DE 19904 ATTN: Certification

However, applicants who already hold positions at Delaware public or charter schools will instead submit their documentation to their district personnel office or (in the case of charter schools) to the school itself; they can expect it to be forwarded to the Department (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_docs.aspx).

The necessary forms are available online (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_forms.aspx).

The certification code for elementary school counselors is 1522; for secondary counselors, it is 1545.

Out-of-State and International School Counselors

Reciprocity will be granted to out-of-state candidates provided the credential is "full and current" (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/registration/deeds_reg_outofstate.aspx). Delaware does not issue reciprocal credentialing for conditional or intern licenses.

Reciprocity candidates may be excused from the basic skills assessment requirement.

The out-of-state counselor will need to provide a copy of the license or certification. An educator who has held a full-time position will also need to provide documentation of experience. School counselors may use the verification of non-teaching experience form to document professional experience outside Delaware (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_forms.aspx).

International educators will need to have their credentials professionally evaluated. The Delaware Department of Education will accept transcript reviews only from agencies that are members of NACES (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_nonuscred.aspx). The evaluation can be accepted in lieu of an official transcript.

Additional Information

Credentials are issued by the Delaware Department of Education. The certification office can be reached by telephone at (302) 857-3388. It can also be reached by email contact form (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/deeds_contactus.aspx).

The Delaware School Counselor Association is not involved with the credentialing process but is an additional professional resource (http://www.mydsca.org/).

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