School Counselor Certification in Louisiana

Louisiana school counselors are certified for kindergarten through twelfth grade. The state has recently set the standards for school guidance counselors higher. Prospective school counselors must complete master's level school counseling programs with recognized national accreditation. They must also pass competency examinations.

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Educational Requirements

Under new regulations, students must enroll in programs that hold accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or CACREP. They must meet field experience requirements set by the state.

Students who enroll in State-approved programs after the effective date can expect to meet this requirement. In order to be approved to operate in Louisiana, programs must apply for accreditation by January 1, 2013 and achieve it by July 1, 2015. The application form notes that CACREP-accreditation is mandatory for those enrolling after July 1, 2015.

There are also CACREP-accredited programs in other states. CACREP has provided an online directory that lists current status (

School counseling programs accredited under CACREP 2009 standards include 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship. The total program length is at least 48 semester hours.

CACREP accreditation is not required in cases where students enrolled prior to 2013. However, the program must be housed in a regionally accredited institution and must meet Louisiana coursework requirements. The program must include a total of 24 semester hours in the following content areas:

  • Counseling theory and practice
  • Human growth and development
  • Career and lifestyle development
  • Group processes
  • Individual appraisal
  • Cultural and social foundations
  • School counseling program principles and administration

The American School Counselors Association cites three semester hours as the minimum practicum under earlier standards.

Individuals who began working toward certification under earlier standards have until June 30, 2017 to complete their courses and meet certification requirements.

Examination Requirements

Louisiana now requires the Professional School Counselor Examination, a part of the Praxis series for educators. The examination is based on the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model and covers the following topics:

  • Foundations
  • Service delivery
  • Accountability
  • Management

Currently, approximately 45% of the examination covers service delivery; this content area includes collaboration and consultation as well as work with individuals, small groups, and class or school groups. Foundations include human development, ethics, history, and professional roles. Management covers implementation and maintenance of a comprehensive school counseling program. Accountability covers assessment as well as research and evaluation.

The Professional School Counselor Examination is a multiple choice test, and is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The current version is #5421; it is computer-delivered. Louisiana will also accept passing scores on #0421, a paper-delivered examination.

Candidate handbooks and other testing resources are available on the ETS website ( A practice test is available for purchase. Candidates can also complete their registration online registration. They will need to pay $115 for the examination.

Testing sites include Prometric centers and some schools; ETS currently boasts ten Louisiana locations ( The examination is typically available during a two week testing window each month (

The qualifying score on test #5421 is 156. Test results are available two to three weeks after the close of the testing window. Candidates who test in Louisiana can expect their scores to be sent to the Department of Education (provided that they have supplied their social security number). Candidates testing outside of Louisiana will need to designate the Louisiana Department of Education as a score recipient.

Candidates who need to retake the examination after a failure must wait three weeks.

The Application Process

School counselors use the ancillary certification application packet. It is available through Teach Louisiana, a website operated by the Department of Education (

Official transcripts are required.

There is a nonrefundable $50 processing fee.

The application includes questions about legal and professional history. Applicants with "yes" answers will need to provide relevant documentation such as court records and civil records.

Materials are sent to the following address:

Division of Certification, Preparation and Recruitment, LA Department of Education
P. O. Box 94064
Baton Rouge, LA, 70804-9064.

The certification office asks that all required materials arrive together in one envelope. Incomplete applications will be returned to sender for correction.

Applications can also be placed in the drop box at the physical location of the Certification Office (in Baton Rouge in the Claiborne Building.)

Application status can be monitored online ( The typical certification processing time is ten to fifteen working days.

Certification is issued online. School counselors can print a paper copy from the online system.

Additional Information

School counselors can expect background checks at the employment level.

The Division of Certification, Preparation and Recruitment can be reached at 1-877-453-2721.

Applicants who have questions can fill out an email contact form (

The Louisiana School Counselors Association ( and the Louisiana Counseling Association are additional resources. The Louisiana Counseling Association has prepared a resource for individuals seeking certification under new regulations (

Louisiana Professional Counselor license requirements

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