School Counselor Licensure and Endorsement in Michigan

Michigan school counselors are credentialed by the Michigan Department of Education. Credentials are valid at all levels from kindergarten through grade twelve.

There are two credentialing methods: licensing and endorsement. Endorsement is for professionals who already hold credentialing as teachers. Both the license and endorsement are dependent on completing graduate education and passing a content examination. However, there are some differences in educational requirements for individuals who hold teaching credentials.

Out-of-state school counselors with at least five years of recent experience may be held to lesser educational standards.

School counselors can expect background checks at the employment level.

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Educational Requirements for School Counselor Licensing

In order to be licensed as a school counselor, an individual must earn a degree at the master's level (http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(l3cuvkipstd3052g1wcxnm45))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-380-1233).

The student will need at least 600 hours of internship with school-age children. The experience must be supervised by a counselor educator. At least 300 of the internship hours must take place in a school setting.

A prospective student can search for in-state schools that offer guidance and counseling programs on the Department of Education website (https://mdoe.state.mi.us/proprep/ProgramInfo.asp?Program_ID=45).

The Department of Education can accept graduate programs approved in other states if they meet the requirements of section 380.1233(2)(b) of state code. The following content areas are to receive coverage (http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(l3cuvkipstd3052g1wcxnm45))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject):

  • Counseling theories and practice
  • Guidance services
  • Guidance information
  • Individual and group analysis
  • Evaluation

The Department of Education will accept online coursework if it is offered by a school that has an approved program.

Educational Requirements for School Counselor Endorsement

Professionals with valid teaching certificates may pursue school counseling endorsement. The school counseling endorsement is dependent on completing at least 30 semester hours of graduate level coursework.

Credentialed teachers need 600 hours of internship, at least 300 of which are to be earned in a school setting. The experience may be supervised by a school counselor educator or by a credentialed school counselor.

Examination Requirements

All individuals who seek their initial school counseling credentials in Michigan are required to take the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification: School Counselor Examination 51. The test assesses mastery of objectives in three sub-areas: comprehensive school counseling programs, student diversity and assessment, and the school environment. The examination is multiple choice. A study guide is available on the MTTC website (http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/). A practice test is also available for an additional fee.

The examination is available in both paper-delivered and computer-delivered formats. The paper-delivered version costs $75. It is available in the following ten metropolitan areas:

  • Detroit
  • Grand Rapids
  • Kalamazoo
  • Lansing
  • Traverse City
  • Marquette
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Pontiac/ Auburn Hills
  • Saginaw
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Ypsilanti

Currently, the paper-delivered examination is available four times per year. However, some testing sites do not offer the examination at all four administrations. Candidates can check the MTTC website to see test availability and to find the test code for their preferred site (http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/). Candidates must register by posted deadlines . Those seeking late or emergency registration will incur additional fees.

The computer-delivered version costs $130. It is available at authorized Pearson VUR testing sites in Michigan and around the nation. There are also a limited number of testing sites in Canada and in other nations. There are currently ten twelve-day testing windows a year (http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/PageView.aspx?f=GEN_Tests.html). MTTC recommends early registration as slots may fill.

Candidates receive scaled scores between 100 and 300. The passing score is the same on both versions: 220. Paper-delivered test results are released approximately four weeks after testing. Computer-delivered test results are available within six weeks of testing. Examination results are reported directly to the Michigan Department of Education. They are also reported to the candidate and to the institutions the candidate authorizes at the time of registration.

There is a 30 day wait period after a failed examination attempt. Michigan does not place limits on the total number of examination attempts but requires anyone who fails four times to seek academic counseling through a university in order to correct deficiencies.

MTTC Evaluation Systems can be reached by telephone at (413) 256-2876 or (800) 823-9225.

Preliminary Employment Authorization

A student can be granted Preliminary Employment Authorization after completion of 30 semester hours of coursework at an approved institution and achieving passing scores on the required MTTC examination. The credential is valid for up to three years.

Endorsement of Out-of-State School Counselors

An out-of-state school counselor who holds current credentials and can document having worked at least five out of the prior seven years need document education only at the bachelor's level. Out-of-state candidates who do not meet this requirement will need to demonstrate that they hold advanced degrees and have met the educational requirements of another state.

Out-of-state school counselors are required to pass the MTTC school counseling examination. However, they may be granted Temporary School Counselor Authorization that will allow for employment in the interim. The credential is valid for up to one year. The candidate does not apply separately for this credential. It is granted upon review of credentials.

The Application Process

Prospective school counselors can apply online using the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS).

In-state graduates will be recommended by their programs.

Out-of-state graduates must provide transcripts. Out-of-state licensees will need license verification.

The guidance counselor application fee is $160 for in-state applicants and $210 for out-of-state applicants.

Approved candidates receive email notification. They will not receive certificates in the mail but have the option of printing a paper copy of the credential.

Additional Information

The Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Professional Preparation Services can be reached by telephone at (517) 373-3310 or by email at ‘MOECSSupport at michigan.gov’.

The Michigan School Counselor Association is not involved with the licensing process but is an additional professional resource (http://mich-sca.org/).

You may also be interested in the Michigan Professional Counselor license requirements.

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