How to Become a School Counselor in Connecticut

School counseling is a rewarding career that presents opportunities to make a difference in young people's lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of school and career counselors to grow by 13% from 2016-2026. Connecticut also proves an excellent place to pursue school counseling, as it boasts the second-highest concentration of school and career counselors in the United States.

This guide explores how to become a counselor in Connecticut. We look at the education, experience, exam requirements, and application process for Connecticut counseling professionals. We also include a special section for out-of-state applicants and school counselors who need to renew their licenses. The last section of this guide offers helpful resources and organizations related to school counseling in Connecticut.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Connecticut

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Connecticut here

Education and Experience Requirements

Connecticut School counselors must meet the education and experience requirements set by the Connecticut Department of Education. Below, we describe the type of degree, coursework, and internships prospective guidance counselors must complete to practice in Connecticut.

Education and Coursework

Prospective school counselors must first earn a bachelor's degree in any subject area. Next, school counseling professionals in Connecticut must earn a master's degree from a regionally accredited university. Licensed school guidance counselors require at least 30 credits in a planned school counseling services program. The 30 credits of coursework can be part of the required master's degree or in addition to it. Candidates must complete a planned school counseling services program from an approved institution.

The required 30 credits in school counseling services must comprise the following coursework:

  • Psychological and Sociological Theory as Related to Children
  • Principles and Philosophy of Developmental Guidance and Counseling
  • Individual and Group Counseling Procedures
  • Career Development Theory and Practice
  • School-Based Consultation Theory and Practice
  • Pupil Appraisal and Evaluation Techniques

The Connecticut Counselor Board requires school counselors to complete at least 36 clock hours studying special education that includes special needs children and gifted and talented children in the regular classroom. The state Department of Education requires school counselor applicants to submit proof of all the education requirements as part of the application for licensure process. Proof must come directly from the school counseling preparation program.

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

Practicum and Internship

The Connecticut School Counselor Board requires school counselors to complete a practicum in school counseling. They also must complete either a 10-month, full-time (700-hour) supervised school counseling internship or a 30-month teaching experience. The internship must include the counseling of students, involvement in curriculum development, and consultation with staff and parents.

Application and Exam Requirements for Connecticut School Counselors

The Bureau of Certification, an arm of the Connecticut Department of Education, regulates school counselors as special service providers in the state. The licensure and certification process for counselors differs between specializations. Beyond the education and experience conditions described above, school counselor applicants must meet other requirements to receive licensure.

The licensure and certification process for counselors differs between specializations

School counselors should hold a professional educator certificate or demonstrate eligibility for an initial educator certificate. They also need a recommendation for licensure from the preparing institution where they completed their master's or 30 required credits of school counseling. In addition, Connecticut school counselors typically must pass the PRAXIS test of basic skills in math, reading, and writing. During the hiring process, all Connecticut Department of Education employees undergo a background check.

Connecticut school counselor applicants submit the following items:

  • Official College Transcripts
  • Application Fee
  • Recommendation from the Preparing Institution that Documents Evidence of Required School Counseling Knowledge
  • Documentation of Supervised Experiences in Counseling through Practicum
  • Documentation Demonstrating Completion of 36 Clock Hours of Special Education Study
  • Documentation of Initial Educator Certificate Requirements

Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates

Connecticut participates in a reciprocity agreement that recognizes out-of-state school counselor applicants from states participating in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement. The agreement waives specific coursework requirements and accepts degrees from state-approved school counselor programs at regionally accredited universities in other states.

The agreement also accepts applicants with at least 30 months of full-time experience and a valid school counselor license from another state, if it is equivalent to a Connecticut initial certificate. The experience must fall within 10 years of the application date for Connecticut licensure. Out-of-state applicants still need to meet degree, testing, and experiential requirements.

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

School counselors in Connecticut can apply to renew their professional licenses online through the Connecticut Educator Certification System. Counselors can submit renewal applications up to six months before their license expires. Connecticut school counselor license expiration dates vary by license type. Initial certificates last three years and professional certificates last five years.

In Connecticut, initial certificates last three years and professional certificates last five years

School counselors do not need to complete continuing education credits to renew their licenses in Connecticut. However, school districts must provide at least 18 hours of professional development each year to the educators who work there.

Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Connecticut

Prospective Connecticut school counselors can use the resources below to find scholarships, job openings, licensure information, and networking opportunities. The list includes both state-specific and national professional organizations.

  • American Counseling Association Founded in 1952, ACA promotes the growth and development of the counseling profession. Members receive benefits like continuing education, a career center with job postings, and networking opportunities.
  • American School Counselor Association ASCA represents and advocates for the school counseling profession. The group offers publications, professional development opportunities, and other free resources that help school counselors improve their practice.
  • Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling A professional organization for counselors who work with children and adolescents, ACAC advocates for children's right to access mental healthcare services. The group offers a newsletter, networking opportunities, and grants.
  • Career Opportunities at the CSDE Prospective school counselors can find information about careers at the CSDE, including job postings.
  • Comprehensive School Counseling and College/Career and Citizen-Ready This website run by the Connecticut state government offers information about working as a school counselor in the state. The site also provides information about rules and regulations for school counselors, along with forms and documents related to licensure.
  • Connecticut School Counselor Association Founded in 1963, CSCA promotes excellence in school counseling in Connecticut. Members benefit from free or reduced-price professional development opportunities, an annual conference, and access to a membership directory.
  • Connecticut State Department of Education Students and prospective school counselors can explore the CSDE website to find out about professional opportunities in educational settings throughout the state. They can research schools and find job openings.
  • CSCA Scholarship Programs CSCA coordinates a scholarship program for school counseling students in Connecticut. The Myron C. Cohen scholarship awards $500 to a graduating high school senior. CSCA also offers a graduate student scholarship for school counseling students.
  • National Education Association NEA advances public education and encompasses three million members working in every area of education, including school counseling. The association also boasts affiliates in every state, including Connecticut.
  • Special Services Endorsements for Connecticut School Counselors Prospective school counselors in Connecticut can come here to find out more about how to become a Connecticut guidance counselor, including the licensure rules and process.

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