According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school and career counselors have a projected 8% growth from 2018-2028, making now an ideal time to enter the field. School counselors provide valuable support to students, as they offer academic, career, social, and emotional guidance in an educational setting.
To become a school counselor in Alaska, individuals need to earn an advanced degree and obtain state-issued credentials. To find out more about what it takes to work as a school counselor in Alaska — as well as some of the resources you can use to help you get there — review the information below.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in AlaskaExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Alaska here
Education and Experience Requirements
Education and experience requirements for school counselors vary by state. Alaska offers special services and provisional certificates in school counseling, as well as advanced special services credentials. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree with conditions attached to obtain a certificate in the state.
Education and Coursework
The minimum requirement for school educators in Alaska is a bachelor's degree in school psychology from a regionally accredited institution, although a master's degree is recommended. Individuals with a bachelor's degree must also complete a teaching certification program or an alternative teacher certification program with an endorsement in school counseling.
Counseling professionals with a master's degree must complete a program that includes a school psychology internship of 1,200 hours with 600 hours in a school setting, or hold a master's degree and a national school psychologist certification.
The minimum requirement for school educators in Alaska is a bachelor's degree in school psychology from a regionally accredited institution, although a master's degree is recommended
As part of either a bachelor's or master's curriculum, prospective school counselors need to complete three credits of Alaska studies coursework, and three credits of multicultural education or cross-cultural communication classes. All credits must be earned in the previous five years.
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development provides lists of courses that qualify for the Alaska studies and the multicultural education or cross cultural communication requirements. Students who lack the recency requirement can apply for a provisional certificate if they hold a bachelor's degree and complete a qualifying school counseling program. Provisional certificates last for two years.
Additional requirements include mandatory trainings in sexual abuse awareness and prevention, alcohol and drug related disabilities, dating violence awareness and prevention, and suicide awareness and prevention. Applicants must also submit to a background check carried out by the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the FBI.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
An internship gives students the opportunity to work closely with students in a school counseling context. Bachelor's and master's degrees that meet the educational requirements in Alaska for school counselors vary in practicum and internship requirements, but they must be completed within five years of applying for certification. Programs that meet the standards set by the National Association of School Psychologists or the American Psychology Association include a minimum 1,200 hour internship with 600 hours in a school setting.
Application and Exam Requirements for Alaska School Counselors
To become a school counselor in Alaska, applicants submit materials to the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. As a special services endorsement, school counseling professionals seeking initial certification provide personal and background information on an official application with one fingerprint card to generate a background check.
Applicants pay $280 in fees and must have all application materials notarized prior to submission
Professionals also submit official transcripts from a regionally-accredited bachelor's degree and special service certification verification form for an approved teaching certification program, or from a regionally-accredited master's degree. They must also complete mandatory trainings. Transcripts accompany the formal application, and should not be sent from an applicant's college or university.
Applicants pay $280 in fees and must have all application materials notarized prior to submission. Current teachers in Alaska who have already completed a background check only pay $200. Scanned or faxed applications will not be accepted, and single packets are only received by mail. To have any original documentation returned, applicants include a self-addressed stamped envelope with their materials.
Once an application has been received, the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development sends a yellow postcard notifying applicants when they have passed their first review.
Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates
While the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development accepts school counseling degrees and experience from around the world, no reciprocity agreements are available. Out-of-state applicants must meet the minimum requirements established for in-state applicants, and submit comparable materials for consideration.
This includes official transcripts from a regionally-accredited college or university with proof of a completed internship or practicum, documentation from a national school psychologist certification, and information from completed training programs, as appropriate. Additional materials include an institutional recommendation or state recommendation form attesting to the completion of a state-approved preparation program.
School Counselor Licence Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
An initial school counselor certification lasts for five years. During that time, school counseling professionals must complete six credits of continuing education coursework directly related to the field. A minimum of three credits must be upper division or graduate-level coursework.
To reapply, current school counseling professionals submit a verification of current employment in an Alaska public school district. If the applicant does not hold a position at the time of application, they must submit a new fingerprint card for a background check.
The renewal fee is $200, and the fee for continuing education and non-academic requirements is $50 per credit.
Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Alaska
Prospective school counselors and established professionals alike can access resources from state organizations and professional associations. Organizations and associations provide networking opportunities, continuing education programs, and career development opportunities, as well as policy updates and standard of practice information.
- Alaska Board of Professional Counselors Within the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, is the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional License which oversees the credentials of professional counselors in Alaska. The Board of Professional Counselors hosts an online renewal system with additional information on counselor statutes and regulations, national organizations, and distance counseling.
- Alaska Department of Education & Early Development The DEED provides comprehensive information and resources for parents, students, educators, and schools, as well as credentialing, standards of practice, and financial and support service content. DEED also provides a newsroom with state education updates, a data center with statistics from school districts throughout Alaska, and content on child nutrition programs; libraries, archives, and museums; and school facilities and finance.
- Alaska School Counselor Association AkSCA is a state affiliate of the ASCA, and provides policy, framework, and research information aimed at school counselors in Alaska. Members of AkSCA receive comprehensive newsletters, representation at the national level, access to scholarship and award programs, and collaboration and partnership opportunities.
- Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling ACAC unites counselors to promote access, awareness, and understanding of child and adolescent counseling. ACAC supports counselling and education initiatives for parents, educators, and professionals in helping fields as well. Members receive electronic newsletters, networking access through the ACAC website, publication materials, and access to conference and grant opportunities.
- American Counseling Association Established in 1952, ACA represents professional counselors in a variety of practical settings through 19 chartered divisions. ACA members receive discounts on travel and insurance, access to a career center, publication and newsletter materials, and networking opportunities.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association The AMHCA members include students, emerging professionals, practitioners, and educators in mental health fields. The organization offers advocacy, continuing education, and publication resources. Members receive conference and webinar discounts, insurance and legal discounts, training opportunities, and networking opportunities through numerous affiliate chapters.
- American Psychology Association As the largest scientific and professional organization for psychology in the United States, APA has more than 118,000 members. Researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students alike enjoy insurance and publication discounts, networking benefits, and continuing education resources. APA offers information about psychology, mental health, and psychologist-finding tools to the general public.
- American School Counselor Association This organization supports school counselors as they facilitate academic, career, and social and emotional development among student populations. ASCA offers publication, professional and research opportunities to members, as well as press updates, resources for parents, and specialist training and exam programs.
- National Board for Certified Counselors As a credentialing body, NBCC establishes standards for counseling practice through education, examination, supervision, experience, and ethical guidelines. NBCC offers continuing education, general counselor, public resources, as well as comprehensive information on state licensure, government affairs, and board certification policies and processes.
- National Education Association As the largest professional employee organization in the United States, NEA traces its origins to 1857. With more than three million members at all educational levels, NEA offers news updates, publications, teaching tools and ideas, and grant and event programs to members and the general public.