How to Become a School Counselor in West Virginia

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school counselors in West Virginia earn an annual mean wage of $45,790. As such, school counseling in the Mountain State is a good fit for purpose-driven individuals seeking a stable, in-demand career.

When determining how to become a guidance counselor in West Virginia, candidates must understand everything that goes into the process. With information about degrees, examinations, and practical prerequisites, students can prepare for school counseling certification well in advance. This opens up opportunities for job placement and career growth.

Read on to learn how to become a school counselor in West Virginia.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in West Virginia

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in West Virginia here

Education and Experience Requirements

School counselors in West Virginia need to meet education and examination requirements defined by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), which serves as the West Virginia counselor board. School counseling certification is for preK-12, offering counseling professionals opportunities to work with students of all ages.

Requirements for school counseling positions prepare students to meet the responsibilities of the Comprehensive School Counseling Program (CSCP) as articulated by the West Virginia Standards for Student Success (WVSSS).

Education and Coursework

West Virginia requires that counseling candidates hold master's degrees from accredited universities. The WVDE provides resources that allow students to determine the accreditation status of their chosen programs. Students without degrees in school counseling must complete an additional school counseling preparatory program.

West Virginia requires that counseling candidates hold master's degrees from accredited universities

Master's degrees in school counseling in West Virginia adhere to state regulations. Coursework emphasizes theories and techniques of counseling alongside practical courses in diagnosis and treatment planning, crisis and trauma, and cultural issues related to counseling. Most master's programs in counseling include 36-66 credits of coursework.

Learners submit transcripts to the WVDE when applying for initial licensure.

Once candidates earn a master's degree and meet all educational requirements, they take the Praxis II: School Guidance and Counseling examination administered by the Educational Testing Service.

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

Practicum and Internship

Master's programs at West Virginia schools adhere to state regulations and require students to participate in a practicum and an internship. During the practicum, learners participate in 1-2 days of supervised training per week. The school counseling internship includes at least three hours of direct counseling practice under the supervision of a licensed counselor each day. During the internship, students learn how to counsel individuals, families, and groups.

Application and Exam Requirements for West Virginia School Counselors

All prospective counselors in West Virginia must take the Praxis II: School Guidance and Counseling exam to become certified. The exam includes 120 questions and takes two hours.

The WVDE website provides application forms for in-state and out-of-state applicants

The test covers four content areas: foundations, delivery of services, management, and accountability. The foundations section explores the history and role of school counselors alongside questions about human development and legal and ethical principles. The delivery of services section focuses on interventions, consultation, and collaboration. The management subject area emphasizes development and maintenance of counseling programs. The accountability component covers program evaluation, research, and assessment.

Studentscan take the Praxis II examination at one of the many approved sites located throughout West Virginia. The exam costs $115. Future counselors must earn a qualifying score of 156.

The WVDE website provides application forms for in-state and out-of-state applicants. When applying to become a school counselor, first-time applicants must submit to a criminal background check by the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Additional application materials include official transcripts and an institutional endorsement.

School counseling certification costs $35 in West Virginia. Applicants can pay that fee and check application status through the WVDE website.

Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates

Out-of-state counselors can apply for certification as a school counselor in West Virginia through the WVDE website. Individuals must submit transcript information and PRAXIS II test scores for consideration. Out-of-state applicants with a current school counselor license submit proof of their credentials to the WVDE in lieu of transcript information. All out-of-state applicants pay a $100 fee.

The background check process for out-of-state applicants includes fingerprinting and an accompanying $45 fee.

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Initial certification as a school counselor in West Virginia lasts for three years. School counseling professionals with two years of experience — including at least one full-time year in a West Virginia school district — can apply for a five-year professional certificate. All candidates seeking licensure renewal must complete six credits of continuing education coursework during each renewal period.

Initial certification as a school counselor in West Virginia lasts for three years

Applicants seeking licensure renewal must also submit transcripts, appropriate forms, and $35 to the WVDE.

Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in West Virginia

Professional organizations, educational associations, and counseling resources offer school counselors support and additional training in the field. Within West Virginia, numerous agencies work with school counseling professionals to promote student and teacher success.

Read on to learn about some of the best national and local school counseling professional organizations.

  • Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling Committed to providing mental health support to children and adolescents, ACAC promotes understanding, advocacy, and research in youth populations. ACAC offers research grant information, news updates, and publications to all counselors who work with children and adolescents.
  • American Counseling Association As an association that brings together all types of counselors, ACA maintains extensive school counseling resources and tools. ACA provides information on licensure requirements and ethical standards, professional development, and research to school counselors.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA unites students, practitioners, and educators to promote mental health awareness, treatment, and support. AMHCA provides webinars, research, and access to publications to its members.
  • American School Counselor Association ASCA offers comprehensive information about school counseling programs to practitioners, administrators, parents, and educators. ASCA also provides publications, podcasts, and professional development opportunities to school counselors.
  • College and Career Readiness and Success Center The CCRS Center strives to prepare high school students for college and career success. The center partners with communities and schools while providing tools, research, and resources about college and career paths.
  • The National Board of Certified Counselors NBCC maintains information about government policies and credentialing procedures alongside resources for counseling practitioners and the general public. NBCC also provides directories, certification processes, professional guidelines, and newsletters.
  • The National Education Association As the leading organization for educators in the United States, NEA promotes public school excellence through action initiatives, grants, events, and tools for teachers. School counselors benefit from NEA's information about instructional support, issues facing public schools, and educational policies.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health As a division of the National Institutes of Health, NIMH focuses on researching mental health disorders. NIMH offers outreach and partnership programs, funding opportunities, and research updates on topics such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide prevention.
  • West Virginia Department of Education The state department of education offers extensive information on approved counseling programs and resources for counselors to use in their schools. School counselors can also subscribe to the WVDE mailing list.
  • West Virginia School Counselor Association A group that brings together West Virginia school counselors, WVSCA offers information on professional standards, tips, and position papers. WVSCA holds an annual conference to promote collaboration among practitioners.

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