School Counselor Licensure in Kansas

Kansas school counselors are licensed by the State Department of Education. They are issued school specialist credentials that are valid in grades pre-k through 12.

Licensure is based on graduate education and on teaching experience or internship. Kansas also requires a content assessment and a criminal background check.

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Educational Requirements

Kansas school counselors have degree at the graduate level. They must complete school counseling programs. The Department of Education expects a graduate grade point average of at least 3.25.

Experience Requirements

There are two ways to meet the experience requirement. One is to be licensed as a teacher. The other is to acquire additional school-based experience and supervision subsequent to enrolling in a graduate program. The minimum requirement for initial licensure is two three-credit courses (if figured on a credit hour basis). To progress to the professional level, the individual will need to work under supervision for a year. This may be referred to as internship year.

Students who are not already licensed as teachers can enroll in parallel pathway programs.

Out-of-State School Counselors

Out-of-state school counselors may apply at the initial or professional level, depending on individual circumstances. They are expected to verify a valid license as well as completion of a graduate degree and qualifying program and the required 3.25 graduate GPA.

The applicant is expected to have passed an assessment. Kansas also has a recency requirement. An applicant must have either completed eight credit hours during the prior six years or accrued a year of experience during the prior six years.

In order to be licensed at the professional level, the school counselor must demonstrate five years of school counseling experience, three years of recent experience, or successful performance assessment while working as a school counselor. School experience will be verified at the time of application.

A school counselor who is coming from a state that does not require teaching experience will need to work under university supervision during the initial year. After completing this internship requirement, the school counselor will be eligible to upgrade to professional level licensing.

Examination Requirement

Kansas school counselors take the Professional School Counselor Exam, available from Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is a computer-delivered test. The minimum score on the current version (5421) is 156. Some candidates may have taken a paper-delivered version of the test that utilized a different scoring system. Scores can be accepted if the test was taken during the prior ten years.

The examination is available during monthly testing windows ( There is a $115 testing fee ( Registration can be submitted online or sent through the mail; there is an additional subcharge for telephone registration. Candidates will find links to study resources on the ‘Kansas’ page of the ETS site (

Test results are available two to three weeks after the monthly testing window closes. Individuals who test within Kansas can expect that their scores will be forwarded to the licensing agency. Those who test in other states will need to designate Kansas as a score recipient. A three week wait time is imposed after a failed attempt.

Background Checks

The prospective school counselor must have fingerprints made before application. Hirees may receive the correct pre-printed Kansas fingerprint cards from their district office. Applicants who need fingerprint cards may order them using the online form available on the Department website (

Fingerprints may be made by trained school personnel. In other cases, the applicant will go to a local law enforcement agency.

There is a $50 fee for background check processing. (While the background check fee is also made out to the State Department of Education, this fee must be made out separately.)

The applicants will sign the fingerprint card in the presence of the official and request that the agency seal the card and fee in an envelope and mail it to the State Department of Education.

If the individual fails to submit an application packet within six months, the process must be repeated.

Applicants with questions about the background check process can call (785) 296-2288.

The Application Process

Application forms, instructions, and links to online application services are available on the Department of Education website (

Kansas graduates can carry out most of the process online. They will create an account and fill out a form. The in-state school will then fill out a portion of the application. Once that step is carried out, the graduate will be able to pay the required fee.

Graduates of out-of-state programs will use paper applications. Specialists use the same packet that teachers do; it includes instructions specific to the job role. The out-of-state graduate will need to have a program official verify qualifying education.

The application fee is $70.

Licensure status can be verified online. Licensees may choose to print copies of the credential. The Kansas Department of Education no longer issues paper licenses.

Provisional and Restricted School Counseling Licenses

Provisional and restricted licenses are issued to professionals with training in related fields but only in situations where school districts require their services. Provisional licenses are issued to teachers, restricted licenses to professional counselors.

Professionals who hold standard five-year licensure as teachers but are not yet endorsed in school counseling may be placed in school counseling positions provided that certain requirements are met. The provisional counselor must be at least halfway through an endorsement-qualifying program and must have a deficiency plan in place. The license is issued for two years and may be renewed one time (

Professionals who are licensed as counselors can receive restricted licenses as school counselors when a hiring district is unable to place a fully qualified individual into the position. The counselor will need to verify three years of professional experience as well as the minimum graduate GPA.

The application process may be carried out online (

Additional Information

The Kansas State Department of Education has published a handbook of licensing regulations ( The Director of Teacher Licensure can be reached at 785-296-8010.

The Kansas School Counselor Association is an additional professional resource (

Kansas Professional Counselor license requirements

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