How to Become a School Counselor in Maine

The demand for school counselors is growing. According to Projections Central, 36,000 openings for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors are projected to open from 2016-2026. And in Maine, school counselors enjoy high wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Maine school counselors in May, 2018 earned a mean annual wage of $53,100.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Maine

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Maine here

Education and Experience Requirements

The first step for any prospective school counselor is to complete the minimum level of education. This usually means a bachelor's and a master's degree, including a minimum number of credits related to school counseling. Often, there are also clinical experience requirements, which include clinical hours worked under the supervision of a licensed professional. However, licensure requirements vary by state.

Education and Coursework

To become a guidance counselor in Maine, you'll need at least a master's degree from an accredited school. However, Maine requires that prospective guidance counselors complete a bachelor's degree first, preferably in a field related to school counseling.

Upon graduation, school counselor candidates must be formally recommended for a counselor certificate by their college or university

After completing a bachelor's degree, students enroll in graduate school for counselor education and work toward completing their first 24 semester hours at the graduate level. Once these credits are complete, students can apply for a conditional school counselor certificate. With it, students can work in the field, gaining professional experience while finishing their master's degrees. Upon graduation, they must be formally recommended for a counselor certificate by their college or university. The total process takes about five years.

If you plan to work in Maine, it's best to earn your degree in Maine, too, though it is not required. Approved out-of-state programs are listed in Chapter 115, Part II of the Maine Department of Education counseling endorsement rules.

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

Practicum and Internship

It is possible to gain required work experience while still earning a master's degree. In Maine, there is no minimum required number of hours for the work experience portion of the counselor license application. It is up to the university to decide whether or not the student is ready to become a school counselor.

Application and Exam Requirements for Maine School Counselors

The Maine Department of Education is in charge of overseeing all school counselor applications. Exams are offered using PRAXIS, with specific examinations required by Maine available online. As part of the application process, the Department of Education requires prospective school counselors to teach exceptional students in a classroom setting. This requirement can be satisfied through a master's program.

Exam Requirements

Once the education and experience prerequisites are complete, students take the PRAXIS II exam and must earn a score of at least 156. After that, students are eligible to apply for a school counselor certificate to work as a guidance counselor in Maine.

Along with the PRAXIS II, students must complete a Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) PRAXIS exam at either the K-6 or 7-12 levels. Additional exams may be required for students looking to specialize their counseling careers. All PRAXIS exams have fees. Applicants must also submit their fingerprints through IndentoGO as part of a background check.

Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates

Licensed out-of-state guidance counselors are eligible to become a school counselor in Maine, but they must prove that their previous education meets Maine's requirements. Maine requires an endorsement from a university or college, so out-of-state applicants need a similar endorsement. Contact the Maine Department of Education for more information on what endorsements are eligible.

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

School counselor certifications must be renewed every five years, and the renewal process is entirely online. Counselors must verify their information, submit any missing documents, and pay a renewal fee. In total, the renewal process takes about 15 minutes, assuming all required documents are readily available. Additional examinations and continuing education are not required to renew the certification.

School counselor certifications must be renewed every five years in Maine

Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Maine

Career development doesn't end when students become guidance counselors. Counselors are always facing new problems and they use professional development, networking, and other counseling resources to learn how to perform their job better. Below are a few of these resources.

  • American Counseling Association Founded in 1952, ACA offers conferences, a job board, a community page, and continuing education classes for counselors who need the credits.
  • American School Counselor Association Intended for both working and aspiring professionals, ASCA promotes advocacy and education for school counselors. ASCA also publishes research and advancements in the field.
  • The Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling ACAC promotes professional development for counselors who work exclusively with children and adolescents. As a leader in the field, ACAC is perfect for school counselors at the K-7 level.
  • Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development AMCD aims to develop programs that promote racial and ethnic understanding. School counselors can join to learn how to administer multicultural counseling.
  • Maine Career Development Association Both incoming school counselors and aspiring guidance counselors can take advantage of this state-run career development organization. MCDA also serves as an advocacy group for the profession.
  • Main Counseling Association MECA is the top state-run resource for Maine counselors. It offers conferences, job boards, and opportunities for networking and professional development at regional institutions.
  • Maine Department of Education The Maine Department of Education has all the information that prospective and existing school counselors might need. Applications for licensure can also be found through this site.
  • Maine School Counselor Association Following ASCA's national model for school counselors, MESCA represents guidance counselors across the state. Offered resources include graduate scholarships, free workshops, and conferences.
  • The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. Some school counseling positions require specialty certifications, which can be found through NBCC. Continuing education and marketing materials are also available through NBCC.
  • The National Education Association While NEA focuses on teachers, school counselors can also find useful resources here, including grants, education strategies, and support from other professionals.

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