How to Become a School Counselor in Arizona

School counselors in Arizona help students manage academic and behavioral issues. They also support students considering career and college options after graduation, including advising high school students on college admissions. In Arizona, over 7,800 professionals work as school and guidance counselors.

School counselors must hold a master's degree and a school counselor PreK-12 certificate to meet Arizona counseling guidelines. Arizona also sets experience requirements and requirements for out-of-state licensed school counselors. This guide offers information about how to become a school counselor in Arizona.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Arizona

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Arizona here

Education and Experience Requirements

School counselors in Arizona must meet education and experience requirements, including holding a master's degree from an accredited college or university. Arizona lets school counselors complete coursework and practicum requirements during the first three years after earning their certification.

Education and Coursework

Arizona school counselors must hold a master's degree. Candidates can complete a graduate program in school counseling, counseling, social work, or psychology through an accredited institution. Candidates with a counseling, social work, or psychology graduate degree must complete six credit hours of courses in school counseling, college and career guidance, or academic advising within three years of earning certification.

Arizona also grants school counselor certificates to candidates with a behavioral health license issued by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. The state accepts licensed associate counselors, professional counselors, master and clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists. These candidates must complete six credits in school counseling, college and career guidance, or academic advising within three years of earning certification.

Similarly, the state grants certificates to candidates with a master's degree in academic advising who complete six credits in social and emotional development, mental health counseling, or trauma counseling within three years of earning certification.

Learn more about counseling education and career paths.

Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:

Practicum and Internship

In Arizona, school and guidance counselors must complete a supervised counseling practicum through an accredited university. Candidates can also meet the requirement by completing two years of full-time school counselor experience or three years of full-time teaching experience. Arizona school counselors must meet the requirement within three years of earning the certificate.

Application and Exam Requirements for Arizona School Counselors

The Arizona Department of Education grants school counselor certificates in the state. Arizona accepts a master's in school counseling, academic advising, counseling, social work, or psychology. Behavioral health specialists licensed by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners also meet the school and guidance counselor certification requirements. All candidates must submit official transcripts and supporting documentation to the Department of Education.

Arizona accepts a master's in school counseling, academic advising, counseling, social work, or psychology

Candidates who meet the requirements must apply for an Arizona Department of Public Safety Identity Verified Prints fingerprint clearance card. During this application process, candidates answer background questions on their history, including disciplinary actions and criminal offenses. Applicants who answer "yes" to any background questions must submit an explanation of incident form to provide additional information.

Candidates must pay a $60 application fee. Unlike many other states, Arizona does not require an examination to earn school and guidance counselor certification.

Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates

Applicants with a valid out-of-state school or guidance counselor license or certificate can earn an Arizona school counselor PreK-12 certificate. Applicants must remain in good standing with the license-granting state and the certificate must remain valid. A current out-of-state license waives Arizona's practicum and experience requirement.

Out-of-state applicants must submit an application, provide an Arizona fingerprint clearance card, and submit official transcripts documenting a master's degree or higher from an accredited institution. Out-of-state candidates must also provide proof of their current school counselor license.

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

The Arizona school counselor certificate remains valid for 12 years. School counselors can renew their certificate by demonstrating 15 clock hours of professional development activities for every year of the certificate. These professional development activities include education in college and career readiness, professional conferences, and certificates of training.

The Arizona school counselor certificate remains valid for 12 years

Candidates can meet the requirement through training on suicide awareness and prevention, warning signs of child abuse, or other state-approved training programs. Arizona accepts one semester hour of college coursework as the equivalent of 15 clock hours. School counselors with a current professional license may qualify for renewal by submitting a copy of their license.

Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Arizona

In Arizona, school counselors benefit from resources and organizations that offer networking opportunities, professional development resources, and career and college readiness guidelines. These resources help counselors advance their career and support student success.

  • American School Counselor Association ASCA advocates for school counselors on the national level. The association provides professional development resources, including career planning information, and publishes research on school counseling.
  • Arizona College Consortium The Arizona College Consortium, made up of more than 30 postsecondary institutions, promotes education pathways for high school students. The consortium works with Arizona school counselors to visit high schools and provide resources for students.
  • Arizona Counselors Association AZCA represents counselors in the state, offering continuing education opportunities and hosting events for networking opportunities. The association also operates a career center with counselor job openings.
  • Arizona Department of Education Arizona's Department of Education oversees public education in the state. ADE provides resources for educators, including certification information, college and career readiness standards, and approved educator preparation programs.
  • Arizona Educator Certification Within the state's Department of Education, the Certification Unit offers services to educators, including information on obtaining and maintaining Arizona educator certification. The site lists the requirements for K-12 school counselors in Arizona.
  • Arizona School Counselor Association A professional organization for school counselors in Arizona, AzSCA hosts an annual conference, provides professional development resources, and publishes research. The association also hosts best practices workshops around the state.
  • Arizona School Counselors Run by the Arizona Department of Education, the school counselors page offers information on professional organizations, certifications, and other resources.
  • College Success Arizona An organization that connects students with scholarship and mentoring opportunities, College Success Arizona promotes college readiness. The organization's programs help school counselors support college-bound students.
  • International School Counselor Association A professional organization for school counselors, ISCA offers professional development resources, a code of ethics for school counselors, and conferences that offer networking opportunities.
  • National Association of College Admissions Counseling Founded in 1937, NACAC provides resources and support for college admissions counselors. The association maintains a knowledge center with resources, hosts events, and offers professional development tools for counselors.

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