School Counselor Certification in New Jersey

New Jersey school counselors are licensed by the New Jersey State Board of Examiners. School counseling is classified as an educational services personnel certification area. The certificate is N-12 (newborn through grade 12). Certification is based on graduate education in state-mandated areas. The American School Counselor Association notes that New Jersey does not impose examination or experience requirements.

School Counselor Educational Requirements

Prospective school counselors must hold degrees at at least the master's level. Degrees are to be earned through institutions that hold regional accreditation. There are six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The New Jersey State Department of Education has provided information to help students confirm institutional accreditation (

The school counseling student will need a minimum of 48 graduate semester hours of coursework, distributed as follows:

Six semester hours must be in psychology.

Three semester hours must cover sociological foundations. There are multiple options. Educational sociology, urban sociology, social problems, multicultural counseling, and juvenile delinquency law would all be creditable.

No fewer than 18 semester hours may be in counseling. Counseling coursework must include individual and group guidance theory and procedure, career counseling, and counseling and interviewing technique.

The student must have three semester hours of research methods or statistics.

The program must also include three semester hours of testing and evaluation coursework.

An additional three semester hours must cover community resources, organizations, and agencies.

The student will need six semester hours of supervised practicum in a school setting. The Department of Education notes that practicum experiences that take place in clinical settings cannot be credited.

The remaining six semester hours may be electives. Electives can be drawn from required areas such as psychology or counseling or from curriculum development, education, human relations, group process, guidance, learning disabilities, measurement, program planning, or vocational education.

There are two types of school counseling credential: standard and emergency. ‘School counselor’ has been identified as a critical shortage area for the 2014 - 2015 school year (

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The Application Process

School counselor certification is issued at the standard level. Candidates are asked to print out the list of requirements before applying (

The application may be submitted online through the New Jersey Teacher Certification System. The Department of Education has provided a manual for using the system ( The PDF includes links to relevant certification information. Applicants who encounter technical problems can email 'TCIStechassist at'.

Candidates can submit the $95 application fee through the online system. However, some supporting documents will need to be sent by mail. Supplemental forms are available on the Department of Education website (

The certification office will need official transcripts. Transcripts must show degree conferral and document all relevant graduate coursework. The Counseling Department Chairperson may submit a letter to verify that the required practicum took place in a school setting.

The applicant will need to sign an oath in the presence of a notary. There are separate forms for citizens and non-citizens. Non-citizens will indicate their intent to become citizens.

An applicant who has a criminal record will need to submit a criminal history information form ( The applicant will need to submit details about the crime and conviction but will also have the opportunity to provide documents that show that public trust is merited, for example, evidence of rehabilitation, subsequent education, and employment approval.

Applicants are advised to include a social security number or tracking number on supporting documents. All supporting materials should be sent together in the same envelope to the address listed below:

Office of Certification and Induction
New Jersey Department of Education
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500

The Department of Education notes that processing times may be longer in the summer. Employing school districts may request expedited processing.

Application status can be monitored online (

An applicant who receives a denial may make an appeal. The first step is to email ' at' (

A portion of the application fee may be returned in instances where a credential is denied.

Out-of-State School Counselors

Out-of-state school counselors can be issued certification based on equivalent credentialing held in another state ( Applicants will need to include copies of their qualifying credentials.

International applicants will need to have their credentials professionally evaluated.

Emergency Certification

Emergency certification may be issued to a professional who has not yet met all requirements for the standard certificate. Emergency certificates for school counselors are issued at district request. The Department of Education has provided contact information for county education offices (

Additional Information

School counseling certification information is found on the website of the State of New Jersey Department of Education ( Licensing customer service representatives are available to answer questions at (609) 292-2070 between 8:00 and 4:00 on weekdays.

The New Jersey School Counselor Association ( is the state professional organization. NJSCA is not involved with the certification process but serves as an additional professional resource.

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