How to Become a School Counselor in Washington

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 Washington.

Academics: Master’s degree in counseling. Submit transcripts showing degree completion of any state’s sanctioned program leading to certification for the school counselor role or 3 years of out-of-state experience in the school counselor role and completing a comprehensive exam relevant to the role.

Necessary Courses: To earn a Professional Certificate, candidates must attest to completion of issues of abuse course [for more information, see WAC 181-79A-030(9)]. This course must be entered into the PD Hours section of your E-Certification account before applying. Candidates must also attest to completing a suicide prevention training sanctioned by the Professional Educator Standards Board in Washington within the five years previous to application.

Experience Requirements: For first-time certificate candidates without a master’s degree in school counseling and/or completion of a state-sanctioned program leading to ESA certification, 3 years of out-of-state experience in the counselor role, and successful completion of a comprehensive exam related to the role are required.

Assessment: Applicant must complete a comprehensive assessment of the knowledge included in the coursework for the required master’s degree in counseling. Suppose the candidate has been awarded a master’s degree without a comprehensive assessment. In that case, the candidate, as a condition for certification, must pass the Praxis II specialty area test (code 5421) in guidance and counseling administered by ETS. The minimum passing score is 156.

Is an Institutional Recommendation Needed?: No

Licensure: K-12

Licensure Reciprocity: Yes

Criminal Background Investigation: Yes

Washington Department of Education/school counseling

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