School Counselor Certification in Oklahoma

Oklahoma school counselors are certified by the State Department of Education. Certificates may be issued at any of three levels: elementary (K-8), secondary, 7-12, or all levels (Pk - 12).

School counseling is considered an advanced certification. It is not necessary to complete a traditional teaching program prior to enrolling in a school counseling program. However, a school counselor will need experience in a related field.

A prospective school counselor will need to complete an approved school counseling program and go through an examination process. School counseling certification issued by the National Board for Certified Counselors is an alternate method for demonstrating that education and examination requirements have been met.

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Experience Requirements

Experience is required prior to credentialing. The National School Counselor Association cites two years as the minimum time period (http://www.counseling.org/PublicPolicy/SchoolCounselingRegs2012.pdf).

Oklahoma schools may require a candidate who does not hold teacher certification to seek alternative certification before program admission. Some candidates will qualify through the Oklahoma Alternative Placement Program. To qualify, a candidate will need a degree in a field that corresponds with some certification area. A candidate who has no education beyond the bachelor' s level must have two years of related work experience. There are other alternative certification pathways, including Troops to Teachers (http://www.ok.gov/sde/alternative-paths-teacher-certification).

Educational Requirements

School counseling education takes place at the master's level. Students will need to complete programs that meet the professional standards identified for the profession. The Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation is the state approval agency.

Examination Requirements

Oklahoma school counselors must pass competency evaluations. In-state candidates typically take three examinations en route to licensure: the Oklahoma General Education Competency Test (OGET), the Oklahoma Subject Area Competency Test (OSAT), and the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination (OPTE).

The OSAT is subject-specific. School counseling candidates will take Examination #39: School Counselor. The following topics are covered:

  • Human development and learning
  • Counseling and group guidance
  • Evaluation and assessment
  • Career and educational planning
  • School counseling programs/ professional knowledge

The school counselor assessment includes extended response as well as multiple choice questions. A candidate handbook is available on the CEOE website (http://www.ceoe.nesinc.com/).

Tests are administered by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation. Candidates register through a separate website, Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators (http://www.ceoe.nesinc.com/). Tests are computer-delivered and can be scheduled year-round at Pearson Vue testing centers. They are available in Oklahoma and around the nation.

The Oklahoma General Education Test costs $75 (http://www.ceoe.nesinc.com/). The Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination costs $150. Oklahoma Subject Area Tests cost $90.

Score reports are released according to a published schedule. The certification agency will receive scores directly.

Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators can be reached at (866) 565-4893 or (413) 256-2879.

Candidates may request that the Office of Educator Accountability review an out-of-state test; there are request forms on the certification testing website (http://www.ok.gov/oeqa/Certification_Testing/index.html).

Background Check Requirement

Oklahoma requires state and federal criminal background checks. Fingerprints may be taken electronically in the office of the State Board of Education in Oklahoma City. Candidates may also have Livescan (electronic) fingerprinting performed at the Board’s satellite locations. In the latter instance, an appointment will be required.

The approved vendor is Identogo by MorphoTrust (formerly L-1 Enrollment Services). Individuals may call (877) 219-0197 or visit Identogo on the web (http://www.identogo.com/FP/Oklahoma.aspx). There are Identogo fingerprinting sites throughout the state (http://www.l1enrollment.com/locations/?st=ok). Individuals who have their fingerprints printed at a satellite location are directed to notify the Department by email; they may select either of the email addresses provided in the fingerprinting instructions under “Option 2” (http://www.ok.gov/sde/background-check-teaching-certificate).

Candidates may also have fingerprints made at local law enforcement agencies. They may request fingerprint cards from the Department of Education.

There is a $59 fee for background check processing.

The Application Process

Graduates of in-state programs will need institutional recommendation. They will submit their applications to the director at the school (https://www.counseling.org/PublicPolicy/SchoolCounselingRegs2012.pdf). Those who need recommendations are directed to contact their certification officer.

The initial fee is $50. For those adding a new certification area to an existing credential, the fee is $25.

Out-of-state candidates are directed to photocopy the front and back of the qualifying certificate. Experience can be documented through a “Proof of Teaching” form. The licensing agency will also require official transcripts. Application forms are available through the State Department of Education (http://ok.gov/sde/faqs/traditional-certification-general-questions#15).

Some procedures are now handled through an online system (https://sdeweb01.sde.ok.gov/SSO2/Signin.aspx).

Alternate Pathway: National School Counseling Certification

According to the “Oklahoma State Department of Education Full Subject-Matter Competencies for Licensure and Certification” document, school counseling competencies can be demonstrated through certification as a Nationally Certified School Counselor, or NCSC (http://ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/documents/files/Competencies.pdf).

The NCSC credential is awarded by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). It is granted on the basis of education, school counseling experience, and successful examination performance. Application information is available on the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/Resources/Applicants).

A professional who holds NCSC certification may apply directly to the State Department of Education (http://sde.ok.gov/sde/board-certification-resources). The Department will require either certification verification or a copy of the credential.

Additional Information

Credentialing policies change periodically. Certification information can be accessed on the site of the State Department of Education (http://www.ok.gov/sde/teacher-certification).

The Oklahoma State Board of Education, Professional Standards Section can be reached at (405) 521-3337.

The Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation can be reached at (405) 525-2612.

The Oklahoma School Counselor Association is the state's professional organization. It is a division of both the American School Counselor Association and the Oklahoma Counseling Association (http://www.okschoolcounselor.org). OSCA does not issue certification or licensure but serves as an additional professional resource.

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