Master's Degree in High School Counseling

High school counselors perform a multitude of functions that help students succeed in classes, develop socially and plan for the future. Consider earning a master's degree in high school counseling to increase your skills in interacting with students. See prerequisites, online learning options and licensure information. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study in a High School Counseling Master's Degree Program?

You'll find master's degree programs in high school counseling available as Master of Arts, Master of Science or Master of Education programs. All of them provide you with broad training in the many aspects of a counselor's job, such as assessing, treating and supporting students with regards to their social, behavioral and academic well-being. Additionally, you'll learn to handle common high school student needs, including planning for college admissions tests, mapping appropriate coursework and applying for financial aid.

Program Goals Train prospective counselors to support students' academic progress and social development
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, study in a relevant field could be required; MAT or GRE scores; many programs require work experience and some require a teaching license
Online Options Online options exist but may have some residency requirements
Licensure Many states require state school counseling certification; teacher certification may also be required: voluntary certification as a National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) available through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

Are There Any Prerequisites?

All master's degree programs require you to possess a bachelor's degree prior to beginning your graduate study in high school counseling. Although most programs don't require a specific undergraduate major, many prefer applicants with a degree in a relevant field; these include counseling, human development, education and psychology.

For admission to many counseling programs, you must show evidence of your professional interest in the field. This may consist of professional or volunteer work experience in a high school. Alternatively, some programs require you to hold an active teaching license, though this is rare. You will likely need to submit scores from either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Can I Study Online?

At select colleges and universities, you can complete the majority of your master's degree program in high school counseling online. You'll take the same coursework as your campus-based counterparts. Online programs offer you the benefit of asynchronous learning or, with some programs, live Web-based classes you can complete from anywhere with a high-speed Internet connection.

Most online programs include short residency requirements, typically not lasting more than several days. During your residency, you complete clinical training that provides you with practical counseling experience. These campus-based components are usually intensive, highly focused periods of learning that allow you to receive the full benefits of a graduate education without significantly interrupting your full-time career or other obligations.

What Licensure Will I Need?

Your licensure requirements will vary by state. Many states require a state school counseling certification, which is only possible after completing a master's degree. In other states, you need both counseling and teaching certifications; this may also include a need for teaching experience.

In addition, you can earn voluntary certification as a National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NBCC is also the administrator for state licensing examinations (www.nbcc.org). To become a NCSC, you must pass an examination that consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and seven simulated school counseling cases. Each case in the latter component includes the presentation of a scenario, an information gathering section and a decision-making section.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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