School Counseling Majors
School counseling is a subject typically found at the graduate level. Learn about graduate programs in this field, including online options, and licensure requirements.
Are There Bachelor's Degree Programs in School Counseling?
School counseling is a specialized career-focused major found primarily at the graduate level and thus you won't find many, if any, undergraduate majors in school counseling. You can find accelerated programs that count credits from a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology toward a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a School Counseling Specialization. This method of double counting courses allows you to complete both degrees in a total of five years.
You can prepare for a master's degree program in school counseling by earning a bachelor's degree in education, psychology or behavioral sciences. These degree programs contain the coursework needed to enter graduate school counselor programs that require a minimum amount of behavioral sciences classes. Some programs are developed specifically for current teachers, and they require teaching certification.
|Degree Levels Available||Primarily available as a master's degree specialty; some bachelor's degree programs provide appropriate prerequisite coursework for master's programs|
|Types of Graduate Degrees||Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Education|
|Certification and Licensure Requirements||Comprehensive examinations, such as Praxis II; Licensing requirements vary by state|
|Online Availability||Courses may be available online, but nearly all programs require an on-site or on-campus internship or practicum|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for school and career counselors)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$56,310 (for school and career counselors)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Graduate Degree Programs Are Available?
Some examples of graduate degrees in school counseling include the Master of Arts in School Counseling, Master of Science in School Counseling and Master of Education in School Counseling. Colleges and universities that offer school counseling master's degrees typically structure their programs around the licensure requirements of the school's state. Course and field experience requirements vary, but generally include the following:
- Career counseling
- Counseling evaluation techniques
- Advanced psychopathology
- Child and adolescent development
- Structure and function of school counseling and guidance programs
- School guidance program evaluation
Do I Need a Certification or a License?
In most states, you must have completed graduate coursework or a graduate degree from an accredited college or university to become certified and licensed, says the American School Counselor Association (www.schoolcounselor.org). States differ in their certification and licensure requirements for school counselors, so check with your state board of education to verify credentialing requirements.
Certification demonstrates your knowledge of the school counseling field and is required in some states. By passing a comprehensive school counseling exam administered by the state or by passing a general exam, such as the Praxis II Specialty Area School Counseling exam, you can earn certification. You may also opt to become board certified by passing the National Board for Certified Counselors certification exam or the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification exam.
In states that require licensing, you can typically apply for a school counselor license after you become certified and provide documentation of your education and experience. If you are a licensed teacher or licensed professional counselor, you may not be required to obtain an additional school counseling license.
Can I Earn This Degree Online?
Some schools offer school counseling graduate degree programs online, but all schools have in-person internships or practical experience components. If you choose an online program, you may still be required to complete a minimum number of clinical courses on campus. Online programs revolve around the same curricula as on-campus programs.