School Counselor Certification in Idaho

Idaho school counselors are credentialed by the Idaho State Department of Education. They are issued pupil personnel service certificates, endorsed for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Certification is based on graduate education and internship. Certificate holders must also have acceptable legal and professional backgrounds.

Idaho extends reciprocity, but may impose additional requirements. Licensed counselors may receive emergency authorization while they pursue requirements for full certification.

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Education and Field Experience Requirements

School counseling education takes place at the graduate level. Idaho requires school counselors to hold master's degrees.

Prospective school counselors must complete approved programs. The Department of Education will accept programs approved by the Idaho State Board of Education or by the appropriate approval agency located in another state.

The program is to include at least 700 hours of field experience. At least 75% of the required field experience must take place in school settings with students between kindergarten and twelfth grade. The school counseling student is to have "substantial" experience with students in each of the three grade bands: elementary, middle school or junior high, and high school.

A school counselor who had less program-supervised field experience than that which is usually required in Idaho can be considered for certification if he or she has had additional experience in a school counseling role.

Individuals who complete Idaho-approved educator programs can expect to have a technology assessment. The American School Counselor Association reports that Idaho has three approved technology assessments. The Idaho State Department of Education notes of that out-of-state educators will have their credentials reviewed and may be asked to complete technology coursework under an interim credential (

Criminal Background Check Requirement

Applicants must have criminal background checks performed by the Idaho Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). The State Department of Education will also check the Sex Offender Register (

Fingerprints are to be captured on the State Department of Education's own cards. In-state applicants can get cards from the SDOE office at 650 W. State Street in Boise or from the office of an employing school district. Out-of-state applicants are directed to email 'fingerprintrequest at'; the Department of Education will require a mailing address.

Fingerprints can be made at a local sheriff's office or police station. The card will be submitted (along with a $40 fee) at the time of application.

The Application Process

Applications are available for download on the Department of Education website ( Applicants will select the link that applies to their circumstances (in-state, out-of-state, or international). The link will lead to individualized instructions and required forms.

The certifying agency will require institutional recommendation from both in-state and out-of-state applicants except in the case of experienced, certified professionals. Pupil service personnel are directed to submit the form if they have less than two years of experience ( Applicants may download and use "Form B-2" This same form is used for as for early childhood, elementary, secondary, and exceptional child applicants. It includes a notation that the school guidance counseling practicum is to be at least 700 hours with 75% of the hours accrued in a school setting. The official filling out the form will note whether the graduate passed an Idaho technology assessment.

Official transcripts are to be included in the application packet. A transcript may be considered official if it is printed on the institution's security paper.

The applicant must attest to having read the Code of Ethics for Idaho Professional Educators.

Applicants who answer "yes" to questions about legal background or certification irregularities will need to provide written statements. Those with felony convictions will need to include legal documents pertaining to arrest and conviction. Court records will also be required of applicants who have recent misdemeanor convictions.

Reciprocity candidates will need to have the qualifying credential notarized (

Internationally educated applicants will need to have their credentials formally evaluated prior to application ( The State Department of Education has provided a link to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, or NACES (

The application fee is $75. This can be combined with the background check fee and written as a single check.

Application materials are to be submitted together in a single envelope to the address listed below:

State Department of Education
Teacher Certification
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0027

Emergency Certification for Licensed Counselors

Idaho counselors can be issued alternative authorization at school district request. Pupil services authorizations are granted to professionals who have education at the master's level and are licensed by the Bureau of Occupational Licenses in their respective disciplines. The employing district will need to provide evidence that the counseling professional has the ability to serve in the role.

A professional can work under emergency certification for a maximum of three years. During this time, he or she will complete an alternative program to achieve full certification. The emergency credential must be renewed annually. The certificate holder will need to earn at least nine semester hours of credit each year.

Additional Information

The Certification/Professional Standards Commission can be reached by email at 'certification at' or by telephone at (208) 332-6882. Hours of operation are more limited during the summer months. Phone calls are taken from 1:00-4:45 PM June-October; during other months, they are taken from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM.

Applicants will find additional contact information for certification staff members in the online staff directory ( They are directed to contact just one person; if there is a more appropriate contact, the message will be forwarded.

The Idaho School Counselor Association is an additional professional resource but does not issue certification or authorization to practice (

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

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