How to Become an Alabama School Counselor

Where are you on your quest to become an Alabama School Counselor?

Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Alabama. Some of the information below may be subject to change. In order to make sure you have the most current information, please feel free to contact your school counseling education program advisor or contact the Alabama Department of Education licensing department at (334) 242-9977.

I'm a High School Graduate...

In order to become a counselor in Alabama, you will need to complete more education. But, don't worry, this means you can take many different courses on various subjects to make sure you still wish to continue down the school counseling or psychology road. The following are steps you may wish to follow in order to better prepare yourself for a school counseling career in Alabama:

Step One:

Gather information from schools offering associate degree programs or bachelor degree programs in psychology, counseling or any type of program you are currently interested in. It is not imperative you enroll in a counseling program at this point. The only necessity is that you begin earning your associate's degree or bachelor's degree.

Step Two:

A great way to find out if you are interested in a social service type of career, like school counseling, is to find volunteering organizations who work with children or young adults. The following are links to organizations who can place you in volunteering positions across the state of Alabama:

Lastly, do not be afraid to explore various career options. In the field of education, there are many opportunities that require individuals with various talents. Whether you end up as a counselor, a teacher, an administrator or school psychologist, you will be supporting one of the greatest, most honorable endeavors you can, educating Alabama.

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I have already earned a college degree...

The following are the steps necessary for earning your school counseling certification in Alabama:

Step One:

Fulfill educational requirements through one of the following avenues:

Step Two:

You will need to have at least two years of educational experience completed with satisfactory referrals.

Step Three:

You will need to complete a minimum of 30 clock hours of supervised, direct service work in individual and group counseling with early childhood (elementary) and secondary school students. This step is usually coordinated by your school counseling program college advisor.

Step Four:

You must complete a supervised P-12 school-based internship of at least 300 clock hours. This internship must begin subsequent to the completion of the practicum which shall require the future counselor to perform all the activites that a school counselor is expected to perform.

Step Five:

You will need to have your fingerprints taken for a criminal history background check. Visit this webpage to complete your fingerprint and background check.

Visit this webpage to get answers to common questions about the fingerprint and background check process.

Step Six:

Sign up for and successfully complete the written Alabama school counseling test. Learn more about the Praxis exam in Alabama here.

Of course, as with any career, there will be ups and downs, road blocks and smooth sailing. However, Alabama's educational system needs highly motivated individuals who are flexible enough to learn and adapt to the times. If you are a modern thinker with a strong will, becoming an Alabama School Counselor will be a highly rewarding experience.

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I'm a teacher in Alabama and wish to become a school counselor...

If you are already a teacher in Alabama, the transition into the school counseling career is not as painful as an ordinary career change. As long as you have already completed two years of satisfactory educational experience and have already submitted your criminal background check, you only have a few more steps to complete.

You will need to complete 30 clock hours of supervised, direct service work in individual and group counseling with elementary and secondary school students.

Next, you will need to complete a 300 hour internship where you will be performing all the regular activities of a professional school counselor.

You can coordinate these events and gain all the paperwork and additional procedural information through a school counseling program advisor. The following is a link to an information request form for a school who offers a Master's degree in Human Services (HS) in School Counseling:

In order to make sure you are taking care of all prerequisites for Alabama School Counseling Certification, you should contact an Alabama Department of Education certification representative at the following number: (334) 242-9977

You may also visit this webpage for answers to common questions about school counselor certification in Alabama.

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I'm a certified counselor from another state...

The Alabama Department of Education does grant school counseling certification to certified school counselors from other states through the certificate reciprocity approach to certification. To learn if you qualify for reciprocity, visit this webpage. Be sure to read the help FAQs carefully and to submit the correct forms. If you have any further questions contact the Alabama Department of Education at (334) 353-8567.

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**Some states require completion of a state-approved School Counselor preparation program from a regionally accredited institution in order to be licensed as a school counselor. Capella University is regionally accredited and their School Counseling specialization is state-approved by the Arizona Department of Education. We recommend that you follow up with your state Department of Education (DOE) to determine whether Capella's Arizona- approved School Counseling specialization meets your state's licensure requirements.