School Counselor Licensure in South Carolina

South Carolina school counselors are licensed by the Department of Education. School counselors may be credentialed at the elementary (K-8) or secondary (7-12) level. Licensure is based on graduate education and examination. Applicants must also submit to criminal background checks.

School Counselor Educational Requirements

School counselors must complete master’s degrees. They will need to pursue school counseling programs at the advanced level (

The Department of Education has provided a tool to search for approved in-state educator programs ( Out-of-state programs are to 1) have the approval of the appropriate agency in the state where they are located and 2) be housed in regionally accredited institutions. They may also be accepted on the basis of accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The South Carolina Department of Education has provided information to help students ascertain the accreditation of schools (

Professionals seeking approval of a particular course of study may submit a ‘Request for Change/Action Form’ (

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Examination Requirements

South Carolina guidance counselors must pass the Professional School Counselor Examination, offered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) as part of the Praxis series ( The examination is designed to incorporate the American School Counselor Association National Model. It covers comprehensive school counselor programs, service delivery, and accountability, as well as the foundations of the profession. Study resources are available from ETS (

The Professional School Counselor Examination consists of 120 multiple choice questions. It is computer-delivered. Test takers must score at least 156 to pass. Scores will be automatically transmitted to the South Carolina Department of Education, provided that the candidate provides ETS with a social security number and tests within South Carolina. (It is permissible to test in another jurisdiction. However, the test taker will need to provide the South Carolina state code to ensure that scores are reported. )

The examination is available in the following South Carolina cities: Charleston, Columbia, Conway, Florence, Gaffney, Greenville, and Rock Hill. Test site codes are available on the ETS site ( Additional information is available on the ‘South Carolina Test Requirements’ page of the ETS website (

Background Check Procedures

Prospective school counselors must have fingerprint-based background checks performed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the FBI. The state’s approved vendor is MorphoTrust USA.

In-state applicants should have their fingerprints scanned electronically. They may schedule by visiting ‘Identogo by MorphoTrust’ on the web ( or calling (866) 254-2366. The Department of Education has provided an information sheet that includes ORI number ( MorphoTrust has provided a list of Livescan sites, organized by region of the state (

Out-of-state applicants should have their fingerprints rolled manually, then sent to MorphoTrust for processing. They may initiate the process by requesting fingerprint cards from the Office of Educator Services. More information can be found in(

The fee for background check processing is $53.25 for both in-state and out-of-state applicants. Out-of-state applicants may owe an additional fee to the agency that rolls the fingerprints.

The Application Process

Application forms and supporting documents can be downloaded from the Department of Education website ( The Department of Education also maintains an online application system (

Applicants may use the “Verification of College Preparation: Recommendation for Teacher Certificate” form to verify program approval/ accreditation.

Transcripts are to be sent directly from the preparing institution or included in original sealed envelopes. Electronic transcripts can be accepted if they come straight from the registrar’s office and are supported by one of the following systems: Parchment, E-Scripts, or Credential Solutions. They may be sent to ‘transcripts at’.

Applicants will need to provide copies of their social security cards. They will consent to a background check carried out by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education (NASDTEC) Educator Clearinghouse.

The application fee is $105. It is nonrefundable

Application materials may be sent to the following address:

Office of Educator Services
8301 Parklane Road
Columbia, SC 29223

The Department of Education has provided application information in (

Applicants can use online tools to monitor that documents have been received and added to their files.

A new professional will receive a paper copy of his or her first license.

Out-of-State School Counselors

South Carolina grants reciprocity to out-of-state school counselors (

Out-of-state professionals are to include copies of the front and back sides of their licenses. They should explain any codes that are not clearly identified.

Transcripts are required even of reciprocity candidates.

Additional Information

Guidance counselor licensing information is available from the South Carolina Department of Education ( Educator Licensure can be reached by email at ‘licensure at’ or by telephone at 803-896-0325. Licensure staff can be contacted toll-free within South Carolina at 877-885-5280. The call center is staffed between 1:00 and 4:00.

The Palmetto State School Counselor Association is South Carolina’s professional organization ( It is a division of the American School Counselor Association.

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