School Counseling Certification Guide

Certified school counselors work in schools to support students, families, and the broader school community. They provide counseling services and deliver guidance that meets the academic, social-emotional, and career planning needs of students. A career in school counseling offers many opportunities for those with a passion for helping young people to overcome challenges and achieve their goals within school settings.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school and career counselors earn $56,310 in annual average wages and more than $70,000 in the highest paying states and metropolitan areas.

Benefits of Certification

All states require school counselors working in public schools to hold a state license. Licensure requirements vary by state, but typically include completion of an approved counselor preparation program, an internship, and a passing exam score.

School counselors may also pursue voluntary board certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Board-certified counselors meet national standards and retain the right to use NBCC's certification mark. Becoming board-certified may help you stand out as a highly qualified professional to employers and your school community, earn more, and otherwise advance your career. Board certification demonstrates a counselor's commitment to quality and ongoing professional development.

School Counseling Certification Process

NBCC offers board certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) plus specialization in school counseling as a National Certified School Counselor (NCSC). NBCC expects all board-certified counselors to adhere to its code of ethics. NCC and NBCC applicants must complete a master's program in counseling and pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). Master's-level students can apply for the NCC credential and take the NCE before graduation. NBCC applicants must already possess the NCC credential.

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