What Degree Do You Need to Become a Guidance Counselor?

Learn about the degree programs available for future guidance counselors along with the corresponding curricula. Review the other requirements for becoming a guidance counselor, such as certification. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Need To Become A Guidance Counselor?

Guidance counselors help students reach their school and career goals through assessment and direction. Every state has its own requirements for guidance counselors, though many states require a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in guidance counseling. After you complete your degree programs, you'll then be ready to seek certification.

Each state also has varying certification requirements for working as a guidance counselor. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) provides certification exams for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) and the National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) credentials, as well as offering credentials in other areas of counseling.

In order to sit for the NCSC examination, you'll need to earn the NCC designation. The NCC certification exam requires a master's degree, a passing grade on the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and 3,000 hours of counseling experience. Many states use the national counseling examination for credentialing.

Career RequirementsVary by state; generally must complete a bachelor's and master's degree and then seek certification through an accrediting organization
Undergraduate TopicsEducational levels, human development, special education, family relations, career development
Graduate TopicsPedagogy, assessment theory, societal issues, counseling methods, multicultural counseling

What Will I Study In an Undergraduate Program?

An undergraduate degree in education can go a number of directions. Programs generally cover three different educational levels: early childhood, middle grades or secondary school. Some programs are specific to one of these educational levels, while others overlap a bit in what they cover.

In any program, you'll study many of the same subjects, such as human development, curriculum planning, multicultural teaching, special education, teaching theory, family relations, career development, educational psychology and urban education. You'll also spend time studying evaluation methods, technology in the classroom and classroom management.

What Will a Graduate-Level School Counseling Program Teach Me?

Many colleges offer Master of Education degrees in guidance and counseling. These programs are geared towards teaching you to provide support for students at school, at home and in the community. Along with guidance counseling theory, you'll also study career development theory, pedagogy (teaching) theory and assessment theory. Some of the subjects you'll study include counseling testing, tools for inquiry, group therapy, societal issues, career counseling, health in school, multicultural counseling, psychopathology, counseling methods, classroom management and interviewing skills.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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.

Popular Schools

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

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    • Master
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  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Trident University

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    Popular programs at Trident University:

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Colorado State University Global

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    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

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  • Purdue University Global

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