How to Become a School Counselor in Illinois

In America, today’s school counselors do a lot more than their predecessors. It may be hard to tell from the outside looking in, but they help teachers and staff handle various issues, counsel parents, and sometimes play a crucial part in shaping education policy. They are a pivotal part of the student success equation, and they help schools create supportive and safe environments for students.

Want to become a school counselor in the United States, but want to know how? Don’t worry; the Edvocate has your back. Check out this guide that we created explaining how to become a school counselor in Illinois.

Academics: (1) Hold a master’s degree awarded by an accredited institution of higher education in school counseling or relevant field, or an educational field; and (2) Have completed an Illinois program sanctioned for the preparation of counselors or a comparable sanctioned program in another state or country or possess a certificate issued by another state or country; and (3) Completed a counseling practicum of at least 100 hours that provides interaction with individuals and groups of school-age and included at least 40 hours of direct service.

Necessary Courses: Candidates must possess or be qualified to possess a teaching certificate; OR have completed, as part of a sanctioned program, classwork addressing: (1) the structure, and organization educational system, with stress on P-12 schools; AND (2) the development of children, and their implications for counseling in schools; AND (3) the diversity of Illinois learners and the laws and programs that have been designed to meet their needs; and (4) effective management of the classroom and the learning process.

Experience: The practicum will be of a duration that is sanctioned by the program to be adequate to allow candidates to meet the standards but will require at least 600 hours and last a minimum of one semester, during which candidates shall engage in the performance of aspects of the counseling role and will be introduced to the full range of responsibilities associated with that role. The internship for a candidate with at least 2 years of teaching experience may, at the institution’s discretion offering the sanctioned program, consist of no fewer than 400 hours. At least 240 hours of the internship will require direct service work with school-age individuals and groups in each case.

Assessment: Pass the ISBE Examination for School Counseling and meet all requirements for certification.

Is an Institutional Recommendation Needed?: Yes, must recommend for certification

Licensure: PreK-12

Licensure Reciprocity: Yes, (1) but must have obtained certification and work full-time as a school counselor in another state for a minimum of 2 years OR (2) possess a teaching certificate OR (3) Finish a master’s degree program complete with an internship and practicum that is comparable to that in the state of IL and (4) Pass the ISBE Examination for School Counseling.

Criminal Background Investigation: Not required by state

Illinois State Board of Education

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