School Counselor Licensure in Utah

Utah school counselors are licensed by the State Office of Education. School counseling is considered an "area of concentration". The credential is valid in all grade levels.

There are multiple levels of licensure. In-state students may receive their first licenses at the intern level. Level 1 licensure is based on education and examination. Level 2 licensure requires successful employment.

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Utah School Counselor Educational Requirements

Prospective school counselors will need to complete accredited programs.

The State Office of Education has provided a list, organized by area of concentration (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Teacher-Preparation-Programs.aspx).

A school counseling program must include 600 hours of internship (https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r277/r277-506.htm). Professionals who have at least two years of qualifying teaching experience, however, will need only 400 hours of internship.

A student enrolled in an accredited Utah school may be issued an internship license after completing 30 semester hours of coursework. The program will need to validate that the student has the necessary counseling skills.

Examination Requirements

School counselors must pass the Professional School Counselor Examination. It incorporates the American School Counselor Association national model and covers professional foundations, service delivery, implementation and management of comprehensive programs, and accountability. It is offered by ETS as part of the Praxis series.

The assessment is multiple choice. Tentatively, the passing score for Utah test takers is 156 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ut/requirements). ETS notes that this number is preliminary.

The examination fee is $115. Candidates may register online. The assessment is administered at computerized testing centers. Candidates who take the examination at Utah testing centers will have their scores automatically reported to the State Office of Education. Those who test in other states will need to designate the Utah Office as a score recipient.

Attaining Higher Levels of Licensure

A school counselor will need three years of experience to achieve Level 2 credentialing.

Level 3 licensure is granted only to individuals who have achieved National Board certification or earned doctoral degrees (https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r277/r277-502.htm).

Out-of-State School Counselors

School counselors who complete out-of-state programs are directed to apply first to the licensing agency in their home state. Then they can apply to Utah for license by reciprocity.

Out-of-state educators cannot start at Level 2 (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Out-of-State-License.aspx#3). However, experienced educators may achieve Level 2 credentialing after as little as a year of Utah experience.

Criminal Background Check Requirements

Licensure depends on clearing criminal background checks conducted by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI. An individual will initiate the process by applying for a background check through the ‘Educator Licensing Online’ system (https://secure.utah.gov/elr/welcome.html). There is a $40 fee. Individuals who do not have credit or debit cards are instructed to purchase a card that can be used for the transaction.

In-state candidates will have their fingerprints scanned electronically, using Livescan technology. Once they have completed the application process, they will be able to print a list of fingerprinting locations and an authorization form. The authorization form is to be brought to the selected site.

It will take three to fourteen weeks to receive notification of a clear background check. Notification is sent by email. Applicants are advised to check their junk email as well as their inboxes.

Out-of-state candidates will request that a fingerprint package be mailed; the request is also submitted through the online system. Candidates will receive fingerprint cards and instructions as well as the required release form.

The Office Specialist who oversees the background check process can be reached at (801) 538-7752.

The Application Process

The application process is different for in-state and out-of-state candidates. In-state candidates may have their files forwarded after they complete their programs. They should verify whether their file was submitted or they need to complete the process through the online system.

Out-of-state candidates will submit application packages. They may download application forms from the website of the State Office of Education (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Out-of-State-License.aspx). They will use the same form that teachers use.

Applications should be accompanied by supporting documents. The Office of Education will require original transcripts. The transcripts do not have to be in sealed envelopes; the licensing agency notes that it can be helpful to highlight the degree and the conferral date.

The Office of Education can accept a clear photocopy of the out-of-state credential if both the front and back are included.

The applicant must include either a copy of test results or an admission ticket for an upcoming examination. The licensing agency notes that no other assessments can be accepted in lieu of the Praxis with the exception of National Board certification. (Board certification is for experienced professionals; the process often takes more than a year.)

A candidate who has teaching experience is to include verification.

Background check results do not have to be received at the time of application, but the individual must include documentation of having applied for a background check.

Out-of-state educators pay a $75 evaluation fee.

The complete application package is to be mailed to the following address:

Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200

The licensing agency communicates with applicants by email. Licenses are emailed in PDF format.

International Applicants

International school counselors will need to have their credentials formally evaluated before they make application to the Utah State Office of Education. There is an application form designed specifically for international educators.

Applicants will include both the evaluation report and the original qualifying documents. The Office of Education also asks for copies of any licenses held. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens will state the type of visa that they hold.

Additional Information

The Utah State Office of Education can be reached at 801-538-7740. Additional contact information is available online (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Contact-Us.aspx).

The Utah School Counselor Association is the state’s professional organization (http://www.utschoolcounselor.org).

You may also be interested in the Utah Counselor license requirements.

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