According to the United States Census Bureau, about 18% of Oklahoma's 3,943,079 residents are school-aged, and these minors rely on the guidance of school counselors. These professionals help students work through psychological problems, map their educational pathways, and connect learners with the resources they need along the way.
Any student who wants to make a difference in this way should read on to discover how to become a school counselor in Oklahoma. This page includes information on educational requirements, internships, necessary exams, and licenses from other states.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in OklahomaExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Oklahoma here
Education and Experience Requirements
The Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE) manages guidance counselor licensing. The following sections detail the education and experience requirements for school counselor candidates in the Sooner State. Read on for information regarding the programs to select, courses to take, and the amount of work experience that the SDE requires.
Education and Coursework
Candidates with bachelor's degrees in any area can pursue school counselor licensure in Oklahoma. However, students who have not yet earned their bachelor's degrees should consider education or psychology programs, as these can help candidates learn more about the field.
All applicants should earn master's degrees in school counseling or related fields.
Furthermore, such degrees can help applicants get into graduate programs that they need to qualify for school counselor licensure in Oklahoma. All applicants should earn master's degrees in school counseling or related fields. The SDE only accepts candidates who take at least one course that covers the education of exceptional children. Students should also choose programs at regionally accredited institutions.
Although the SDE does not set any further requirements for school counselor education, candidates should choose programs that adequately prepare them for the job. Students can expect to take courses on topics such as ethics, legal issues, counseling techniques, lifespan development, academic counseling, crisis intervention, and program evaluation.
Master's programs in school counseling typically include 48-60 semester credits, but this varies among schools. Depending on how many courses degree candidates can take, they may need 1-4 years to earn these degrees. Some institutions offer counseling degrees with specializations in school counseling.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
The SDE requires each school counselor applicant to possess at least two years of experience in relevant positions before earning their credentials. This experience can include teaching, counseling in other capacities, or internships from graduate programs. While many schools require graduate students to complete practicums or internships, the state does not need applicants to have these experiences.
Application and Exam Requirements for Oklahoma School Counselors
Oklahoma certifies school counselors under the same system as teachers. As such, school counselor candidates who hold Oklahoma teaching certificates must take two exams to qualify: the Oklahoma professional teaching exam (OPTE) and the teaching subject areas test in counseling. Meanwhile, applicants who do not hold in-state, valid, and up-to-date teaching certificates must take the same tests, as well as the Oklahoma general education test (OGET).
The office of Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators regulates each of these tests. Candidates choose between two OPTE exams, depending on the grade levels in which they want to work: preK-8 or 6-12. Each of the OPTE exams:
- Take place on the computer
- Include 75 multiple-choice questions
- Include three written response prompts
- Allow candidates four hours to complete
The school counselor subject test includes 80 multiple-choice questions and one essay response. Candidates have four hours to complete the exam, which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and one essay. Like the other tests, the OGET lasts four hours.
Once school counselor candidates meet these requirements, they can submit applications to the SDE, which should include:
- Identifying information
- Official transcripts
- Teacher certification verification, if applicable
- Proof of passing scores on all required exams
Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates
Oklahoma participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. This membership means that education professionals, including school counselors, from other NASDTEC states may transfer their certifications to the Sooner State with relative ease. An out-of-state professional can submit an application with a $50 processing fee, a fingerprint card, proof of previous experience, and copies of their current certifications.
Depending on their experience and previous certification, candidates may need to take one or more of the Oklahoma teacher tests. Transfer candidates gain teaching credentials that last one year. If they successfully complete the year, they receive the standard five-year certifications.
School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
School counselor certifications expire every five years. Each renewal candidate must submit an application and pay a $50 fee. Professionals can renew their licenses online or through paper applications. Those who renew online take just a few minutes to complete the form. Professionals who fail to renew by their deadlines cannot practice until they complete the steps.
oklahoma school counselor certifications expire every five years
The state does not require counselors to earn continuing education credits. However, some districts and schools need school counselors to complete continuing education every year. While failing to complete this training does not jeopardize their certifications, administrators can make hiring decisions based on this requirement.
Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Oklahoma
Prospective school counselors do not have to go into Oklahoma counseling alone. Professional resources like the ones below can help candidates from the time they look for college programs through their careers.
- American School Counselor Association This national organization connects school counselors to professional development and career improvement resources. Members can access an online forum, job boards, position papers, industry publications, and continuing education opportunities.
- Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators Graduates can take their required exams through the CEOE. On the website, candidates find study materials, information about each test, and online registration for the exams.
- National Association for College Admission Counseling This organization welcomes counselors who work with high school students looking to college or higher education learners. Members enjoy networking opportunities, online learning, and access to an exclusive listserv.
- National Association of School Psychologists School counselors who want to focus more on students' emotional wellness can join this professional organization. Members can access certification opportunities, online learning, breaking research, and networking opportunities.
- National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification The NASDTEC oversees reciprocity agreements between state education departments. Out-of-state school counselors can use the website to learn more about transferring their credentials to Oklahoma.
- OK College Start School counselors can use this state-sponsored resource to help their students prepare for success in college. The site includes high school, college, and career planning resources.
- Oklahoma College Assistance Program School counselors can help their students find college funding through the OCAP website. Readers can learn about money management strategies, scholarship opportunities, and student loan repayment plans.
- Oklahoma Counseling Association Counselors of all kinds across the Sooner State can join this organization to access helpful resources, such as local networking events, newsletters, national certification opportunities, and continuing education options.
- Oklahoma School Counselor Association This local branch of the ASCA offers members opportunities to get involved in their communities. Members can attend local meetings, earn awards, apply for grants, and access helpful discounts.
- State Department of Education Teachers and school counselors can apply for certification through the SDE website. They can also learn more about certification requirements, new legislation, and the state of education in Oklahoma.