School Counselor Licensure in Ohio

Ohio school counselors are licensed by the Department of Education. School counseling is a pupil services personnel credential. It authorizes service with students in grades K through 12.

Ohio school counselor candidates must meet education and examination requirements. They must also clear criminal background checks. They are not subject to work experience requirements.

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Ohio School Counselor Educational Requirements

Prospective school counselors must earn master's degrees and complete approved programs in school counseling. They must have internships of at least 600 hours.

Ohio programs are approved by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR).

Examination Requirement

Ohio requires a competency examination. In September 2013, the state began using custom tests developed by Pearson. School counselors take the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) School Counselor Examination. They are exempted from taking the pedagogical examination.

The OAE School Counselor Examination measures competency in three broad domains: school counseling programs, professional knowledge and practices, and student development and learning (http://www.oh.nesinc.com/CONTENT/STUDYGUIDE/OH_SG_OBJ_040.htm). The largest portion of the examination (approximately 45%) covers school counseling programs. This domain includes implementation of guidance counseling curriculum, individualized planning, provision of responsive services, and support of the educational system. The knowledge and practices domain includes understanding of assessment and testing, development of professional relationships, and understanding of professional roles, responsibilities, and standards. The development and learning domain includes knowledge of the development process between early childhood and young adulthood as well as the various factors that contribute to student learning.

The School Counselor Examination is computer-delivered. It is available year-round by appointment at Pearson VUE testing centers. Candidates can check examination availability through the Pearson website (https://www8.pearsonvue.com/testtaker/registration/SelectExamPage/EVALUATIONSYSTE/425907). They may register online. They should be prepared to pay a $105 assessment fee.

Pearson VUE has provided various resources to assist individuals in preparing for the examination (http://www.oh.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/OH040_PrepMaterials.html). 220 has been set as the passing score (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching). Score reports are issued according to a published schedule (http://www.oh.nesinc.com/PageView.aspx?f=GEN_GetResults.html). The Ohio Department of Education will receive test results directly from the vendor. Candidates who are unsuccessful may retake the examination.

The OAE Program can be reached by email contact form (http://www.oh.nesinc.com/Contacts.aspx) or by telephone at 413-256-7014 or 800-215-0994. Pearson VUE can be reached at 877-489-4080.

Criminal Background Check Requirement

Prospective school counselors must have background checks processed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the FBI. Fingerprints must be made electronically through Webcheck unless the applicant lives more than 75 miles from a fingerprinting location or has a history of fingerprinting problems that would make it unlikely that prints of adequate quality could be made through Webcheck scanning (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Licensure/Additional-Information/Background-Check-FAQs). The Ohio Attorney General's Office has provided a list of Webcheck facilities (http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Business/Services-for-Business/WebCheck/Webcheck-Community-Listing).

Out-of-state candidates are advised to call the Ohio Office of Educator Licensure at 614-466-3593 to request fingerprint cards.

The Application Process

Prospective school counselors apply online using the Security Application for Enterprise (SAFE) system.

Licensure costs $200 (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Licensure/Additional-Information/Complete-List-of-Applications). Applicants who are denied licensure are charged only a $25 processing fee. Out-of-state candidates pay an additional $50 evaluation fee.

School counselors who have met all requirements will be issued five-year professional licenses.

Out-of-State Candidates

Out-of-state candidates may be issued licenses on the basis of either 1) active licensing or 2) a statement of eligibility from the preparing institution. Those who completed out-of-state programs but are not licensed in the preparing jurisdiction may obtain a letter of eligibility from the dean or other appropriate official (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Licensure/Out-of-State-Licensure). The letter must be written on letterhead and must include the license type that the individual qualified for.

Professionals who are licensed should make copies of both the front and back sides of their credentials.

The Office of Educator Licensure will require out-of-state candidates to provide transcripts.

Out-of-state applicants are expected to have passed a content examination. Individuals who met program requirements by July 1, 1991, however, may be exempted from this requirement.

Most supplemental materials can be uploaded to the online system. Transcripts should be mailed to the following address:

Ohio Department of Education, Office of Educator Licensure
25 S. Front St. MS 105
Columbus, Ohio 43215

International applicants will need to have their credentials evaluated by an approved evaluation agency. The Department of Education has provided a list; the link is found on the ‘Out of State Licensure’ page of the DOE website (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Licensure/Out-of-State-Licensure).

Temporary Licenses

Temporary school counseling licensure may be granted to professionals who have offers of employment but have not yet met all requirements (http://www.ohioschoolcounselor.org/page-1137439).

Counselors licensed by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board can be approved on the basis of enrollment in school counseling programs.

Teachers who are enrolled in school counseling programs can be granted temporary licensure after they have developed understanding of the following:

  • Human growth and development
  • Cultural and social diversity
  • Helping relationships
  • Assessment
  • Group work
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Professional Identity

Competency in the above areas will be documented by the program.

Additional Information

School counselor licensing information is available in the ‘Educator Licenses’ section of the Department of Education website (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Licensure). Licensing rules are found in Chapter 3301 of State Administrative Code (http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/3301-24). The Office of Educator Licensure can be reached by email at 'educator.licensure at education.ohio.gov' or by telephone at 614-466-3593.

The Ohio School Counselor Association is the state’s professional organization (http://www.ohioschoolcounselor.org). OSCA has provided a resource about becoming licensed as a school counselor in Ohio (http://www.ohioschoolcounselor.org/page-1137439).

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