School Counselor Certification in Rhode Island

Rhode Island school counselors are certified by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). They are classified as educational support professionals. The certificate is valid from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Initial credentialing is based on education and examination. School counselors attain higher levels of certification after successful work experience.

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School Counselor Educational Requirements in Rhode Island

School counseling education takes place at the advanced level. Prospective school counselors are expected to earn both their bachelor's and advanced degrees through regionally accredited institutions (

There are two educational pathways. The first is completion of a state-approved school counseling program. There are two approved school counseling programs in Rhode Island ( Professionals can also be certified on the basis of comparable programs approved in other states, provided that the candidates meet other certification requirements.

The second pathway is completion of a program plan developed by the Credential Review Consortium Institution (CRCI). This pathway is designed for support professionals who already hold master's degrees and who have experience in academic settings ( The expectation is that a candidate will have a GPA of at least 3.0 but waivers may be granted for experienced school professionals who have GPAs between 2.75 and 3.0.

Credential review candidates will complete individualized programs based on prior experience. They will take entrance and exit assessments.

Both pathways require completion of at least 300 hours of internship. School counselors are expected to meet competencies identified by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or CACREP.

Examination Requirements

Rhode Island school counselors now have an examination requirement. The Department of Education has adopted the Professional School Counselor Examination, which is offered by ETS as part of the Praxis assessment series. The assessment covers foundations of school counseling, comprehensive school counseling programs, service delivery, and accountability measures. It is multiple choice.

The test code is 5421. Candidates can apply online through the ETS website. They will need to pay $115. Study resources are also available on the ETS website (

A individual who completes a program in a language other than English must also take the Versant Pro Speaking and Writing English assessments and score at least 64.

The Application Process

Paper applications are available for download from the Department of Education website (

Educational documentation will be required. The Department of Education will accept student-issued transcripts but will not accept photocopies or downloads.

The Department of Education will accept original Praxis score reports or photocopies of test results.

Applicants will need to certify that they are current on state taxes or fall into other acceptable tax categories. They will also need to answer questions about their legal backgrounds. Those with “yes” answers to legal questions will be required to provide additional documentation.

The fee for the initial three-year certificate is $100. (A Rhode Island-certified educator who is adding an additional certification area pays just $50.)

Applications can be mailed to the following address:

Rhode Island Department of Education
Office of Educator Quality and Certification
255 Westminster Street, 4th Floor
Providence, RI 02903-3400

Application processing time is approximately 14 to 16 weeks.

The Rhode Island Department of Education does not provide confirmation of application receipt. Nor does it issue paper licenses. However, certification information will be available through an online portal post-processing; certificated educators can expect email correspondence directing them to check the portal.

Individuals who have not met all requirements receive electronic status form letters. If they provide documentation of having met all requirements within 90 days, a certificate can be issued, and no additional fees will be due.

Progressing to Professional and Advanced Certification

The initial certificate is issued for three years. An employed professional must receive at least one rating of “developing” or higher in order to progress to professional level certification ( Individuals who do not have qualifying employment are eligible to renew their initial certificates.

Professionals who earn ratings of ineffective during each year of their initial certification period are not eligible for renewal or progression but may seek reinstatement after retraining and supervised practice. The Department of Education has provided a fact sheet on progression ; it includes examples of different employment and evaluation scenarios (

Continued successful performance can result in issuance of an advanced certificate (

Out-of-State School Counselors

Out-of-state applicants can receive reciprocal certification on the basis of 1) active certification in other states or 2) completion, within the five years prior, of school counseling programs that were approved for certification by other state credentialing agencies.

To be accepted for reciprocity, a certificate must be at the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education (NASDTEC) stage 3 level. The Department of Education will accept a photocopy of the out-of-state credential.

Out-of-state professionals who have not yet met Rhode Island testing requirements can be granted one year nonrenewable certificates. They will use the temporary initial application form ( The fee for the one-year credential is $100.

Reciprocity candidates who have met the state’s testing requirements use the same application form as other individuals who seek initial certification.

Additional Information

Educator certification information is found on the site of the Rhode Island Department of Education ( The Office of Educator Quality can be reached by email at 'EQAC at' or by telephone at 401-222-8892.

The Rhode Island School Counselor Association (RISCA) is the state's professional organization ( RISCA is not involved with the certification process but provides additional professional resources.

You may also be interested in the Rhode Island Counselor license requirements.

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