How to Become an Arkansas School Counselor
Where are you on your quest to become an Arkansas School Counselor?
- I'm a High School Graduate...
- I have already earned a college degree...
- I'm a teacher in Arkansas and wish to become a school counselor...
- I'm a certified counselor from another state...
Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Arkansas. 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 Arkansas Department of Education licensing department at (501) 682-4342.
Capella University offers four online CACREP-accredited Graduate Programs in Counseling: MS in Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy, MS in School Counseling, and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. The MS in Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy program is also COAMFTE-accredited. In addition, Capella has program options in Addiction Studies, Studies in Human Behavior, General Psychology, Clinical Counseling, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sport Psychology, and more. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.
I'm a High School Graduate...
As a high school graduate in Arkansas, it may be some time before you are eligible for a school counseling certification. However, now is a fantastic time to learn more about careers in education and begin learning about the philosophies behind school counseling.
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.
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 Arkansas:
- Big Brother and Big Sister of Arkansas
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas
- List of Arkansas' school district websites
- Use this link to find schools near you as well as each school's contact information. Contact these schools to find out if there are any volunteer programs you may participate in.
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 Arkansas.
I have already earned a college degree...
The following are the steps necessary for earning your school counseling certification in Arkansas:
Fulfill educational requirements through the following avenue:
- Earn a Master's degree in School Counseling
- Capella University Master of Science (MS) in Human Services - School Counseling Specialization - CACREP and State Approved**
- New York University (NYU) Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance - School Counseling and Bilingual School Counseling - MPCAC Accredited
- Northwestern University - CACREP-Accredited Online Master of Arts in Counseling (meets requirements to become a school counselor)
- UMass Online (Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling - NEASC and State-Approved program)
- Or find more school counseling programs in Arkansas here.
At some point during your school counseling education, you will need to complete at least a 9 semester hour practicum experience with individual and group counseling.
Experience Requirements: You will need to have completed one of the following scenarios:
- Successfully complete one year of full-time teaching while holding a valid teaching certification
- Successfully complete a supervised school counseling internship that must include all regular activities of a professional school counselor.
You must successfully pass the Praxis II School Guidance and Counseling Test #0420. Find more information about the test, dates the test is given and locations of test sites on the ETS website.
You will need to request official transcripts from all post-secondary education you have received to be sent to the Arkansas Department of Education.
You must successfully complete the Arkansas Required Criminal Background Check. Contact Arkansas' Office of Professional Licensure and request the Criminal Background Check forms. Call this number: (501) 682-4342
You can also visit the following webpage to read about background check requirements.
Download an application from the Department's website. Complete and send back the application with the associated application processing fees.
I'm a teacher in Arkansas and wish to become a school counselor...
If you are already a teacher in Arkansas, much of the time consuming busy work is already done. As long as you have completed 1 successful year of teaching, you will not have to enroll in a practicum program.
Also, you have most likely already completed you background check in order to have gained your Arkansas teaching certification.
However, what you will need to do is complete an approved Master's degree program in School Counseling:
- Capella University (Master's in HS - School Counseling)
- Or contact a representative from the Arkansas Department of Education to learn of other approved school counseling programs in Arkansas.
In order to make sure you are taking care of all prerequisites for Arkansas School Counseling Certification, you should contact an Arkansas Department of Education certification representative at the following number: (501) 682-4342 or visit the following webpage to review requirements.
I'm a certified counselor from another state...
The Arkansas Department of Education does accept and review certification and transcripts from teachers and counselors from other states.
Apart from completing an application, you will need to fulfill a few other requirements.
You can find all other requirements for gaining school counseling certification in Arkansas coming from another state on the following webpage: Arkansas Teacher and Counselor Reciprocity Information.