How to Become a School Counselor in Nevada

Nevada counseling professionals enjoy strong job prospects. According to a 2017 report from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, less than 1,000 school counselors worked in the state that year, resulting in a counselor-to-student ratio of 508-to-1 — this is more than double the ratio recommended by the American School Counselor Association. As a result, school counselors in Nevada are in high demand.

Most school counselors in Nevada must receive an endorsement to work with K-12 students. This endorsement requires a master's degree and a combination of professional certification and/or relevant work experience. This guide covers how to become a school counselor in Nevada.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Nevada

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Nevada here

Education and Experience Requirements

Nevada requires school counselors to meet certain levels of education and work experience. Counselors who work in elementary, middle, or high schools must all meet the same criteria to earn their endorsement, though counselors without an endorsement may work at schools under certain circumstances. This section covers education, experience, and accreditation requirements for school counselors in Nevada.

Education and Coursework

Chapter 391 of the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC 391) specifically applies to educational personnel. According to current NAC 391 regulations, school counselors seeking endorsement in Nevada must hold a master's degree in school counseling from a regionally accredited institution. The degree program must comprise at least 36 credits.

school counselors seeking endorsement in Nevada must hold a master's degree in school counseling from a regionally accredited institution

The regulations specify areas of study that school counselor candidates must pursue, including individual and group counseling, testing and educational assessment, and school counseling administration. Additionally, candidates must complete courses in at least two of the following topics: educational technology, exceptional children, human growth and development, and substance abuse counseling.

Alternatively, counselors may earn an endorsement with an accredited graduate degree in any field, provided they studied the course topics listed above and possess at least two years of teaching or school counseling experience.

Counselors may also qualify for endorsement if they hold the National Certified School Counselor credential from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). To qualify for this credential, candidates must first earn NBCC's National Certified Counselor credential, which requires a master's degree in counseling that comprises at least 48 credits. A student's degree track must also include certain courses and practicum components.

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

Practicum and Internship

Before qualifying for an endorsement, school counselors in Nevada must log at least 600 clock hours as part of a practicum, internship, or field experience related to K-12 school counseling. In the event that a school or district does not have an endorsed school counselor, the Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction may authorize a non-endorsed counselor to work for that establishment. However, non-endorsed counselors must still log the same number of practical, internship, or field-based hours.

Application and Exam Requirements for Nevada School Counselors

The State of Nevada Department of Education issues licenses for school counselors across the state. The department requires licensure candidates to take the Praxis I: Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. Candidates must score at least 156 on the reading portion, 162 on the writing portion, and 150 on the math portion. These portions cost $90 each. Additionally, candidates must take the Professional School Counselor exam and earn a score of 156 or higher. The exam requires a $120 fee. College students and low-income individuals may qualify for exam fee waivers.

The State of Nevada Department of Education requires licensure candidates to take the Praxis I: Core Academic Skills for Educators exam

Once candidates meet education and experience requirements and pass the appropriate exams, they may apply for their school counseling license through the department's Online Portal for Applications and Licensure (OPAL). First-time OPAL users must create an account. Each new application costs $180. Processing an application may take up to eight weeks.

OPAL accepts driver's licenses, passports, and military ID cards as valid forms of identification. After paying the fee and submitting their application, candidates receive information about their mandatory background check, including instructions for the fingerprint portion.

Before or after receiving their license, school counselors must also take a state-approved course concerning parental involvement and family engagement.

Out-of-state School Counselor Candidates

Nevada provides full reciprocity for "current, valid, non-provisional, and non-conditional licensees" from other states. First-time applicants for the Nevada school counselor license must create an OPAL account and submit an application.

Out-of-state candidates applying for their first Nevada school counselor license must:

  • Complete a disclosure form for their OPAL account that discusses past criminal offenses and pending cases.
  • Provide copies of a valid driver's license, passport, and/or military ID card.
  • Submit official transcripts from every postsecondary institution they attended.
  • Provide test scores for the required exams listed above; scores must be dated within five years of an individual's application.
  • Upload a readable copy of a valid teaching license from their home state.
  • Complete a criminal background check that includes fingerprinting.

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

The Nevada school counselor license is considered a professional educator license, which carries an expiration date that depends on the holder's education level. The license lasts six years for counselors with a master's degree, eight years for counselors with an education specialist degree, and 10 years for counselors with a doctorate.

The Nevada school counselor license lasts six years for counselors with a master's degree, eight for those with an education specialist degree, and ten for counselors with a doctorate.

Per the American School Counselor Association, Nevada counselors must complete at least six continuing education credits to renew their license. These credits may come from courses at accredited postsecondary institutions or state-approved continuing education providers. Renewal costs $150. Counselors may renew their license up to nine months in advance of the expiration date.

Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Nevada

School counseling students and graduates can benefit from the following resources and organizations. Many professional organizations offer continuing education, professional development, and networking opportunities. Prospective counselors can also learn more about the licensure process, financial aid opportunities, and testing requirements.

  • American School Counselor Association ASCA is the most prominent professional organization for U.S. school counselors. The association's website features counselor data for Nevada and other states.
  • National Certified School Counselor NBCC offers this credential, which can help school counselors in Nevada qualify for endorsement.
  • Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 391 Chapter 391 of the Nevada Administrative Code contains all of the regulations related to prerequisites and endorsements for school counselors in the state. These regulations also discuss procedures for appointing counselors without endorsement.
  • Nevada Report Card This searchable database hosted by the Nevada Department of Education allows visitors to browse statewide education data, including facts and figures for different districts and schools.
  • Nevada School Counselor Association NvSCA is Nevada's largest professional association for school counselors. Membership perks include invitations to conferences and other networking events, opportunities to serve on committees, and a newsletter.
  • Nevada Teacher Shortage Directory The Nevada Department of Education maintains an active list of districts and schools experiencing educator shortages. Counseling students who receive federal loans may qualify for loan forgiveness if they work in these shortage areas.
  • Nevada Testing Requirements This page from Praxis outlines the Praxis I: Core Academic Skills for Educators and Professional School Counselor exams. The state of Nevada requires school counselors to pass both exams before they can work in the state.
  • Nevada School Counselor of the Year NvSCA honors one outstanding school counselor in Nevada each year. To qualify for the award, candidates must hold a master's degree and at least one year of counseling experience in Nevada.
  • NvSCA Official Twitter Page Twitter users can follow NvSCA. In addition to providing up-to-date information, this account shares links to accounts of other school counseling organizations in Nevada and nationwide.
  • OPAL Educator Licensure Counselors use the OPAL site to apply for endorsement and licensure. First-time visitors must create an account. The site features information about licensing fees, procedures for out-of-state counselors, and renewal requirements.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Nevada

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