How to Become an Illinois School Counselor

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

Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Illinois. 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 Illinois Department of Education licensing department at (866) 262-6663 for the Springfield office or (312) 814-2220 for the Chicago office.

I'm a High School Graduate...

As an Illinois high school graduate, you are in a fantastic position to begin earning your associate's or bachelor's degree while also learning more about the career of an Illinois school counselor.

The following are recommended steps to better your understanding of the Illinois career counselor as well as to advance your quest to earn the necessary education needed for counseling certification in Illinois.

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 Illinois:

Don't be afraid to get out there and test the waters. Learn what it's like to work with student age individuals in the classroom setting and beyond.

Secondly, remember to take the next step in your own education. In order to be eligible for an Illinois school counselor certification, you will need to have a Master's degree. So start earning your Associate's or Bachelor's degree as soon as possible.

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I have already earned a college degree...

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

Step One:

Fulfill educational requirements through the following avenue:

Step Two:

Through your school counseling education, you will need to complete 100 clock hours of interaction with school aged individuals or groups in a supervised practicum setting.

You will also need to complete the experience requirements of at least 600 clock hours in an internship setting. If you have been a teacher for at leas 2 years, you may be eligible for a reduced internship experience requirement.

Step Three:

You will need to pass the ISBE examination for school counseling and any other required examination. You can find more information on examination dates and locations here.

Step Four:

You can review all the requirements for Illinois school counselor certification at the following website: ISBE School Service Personnel Certificates

Good Luck! School counseling in Illinois is a highly rewarding career and as many school counselors are expected to retire over the next few years, you will find many job openings for Illinois school counselors.

So go ahead and get started!

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

Illinois does recognize school counseling certifications from other states. However, the following requirements must be met before an Illinois school counseling certification will be recommended.

  • Currently possess a valide school counseling certification and have successfully complete 2 years of full-time work experience
  • Or, hold a teaching certification
  • Or, have completes a Master's degree program with a practicum and internship experience that is similar to those offered and approved in Illinois
  • And, pass the ISBE examination for school counselors

If you have questions or need to make sure everything is aligned for your certification, contact a certification representative at the Illinois Department of Education at: (866) 262-6663 for the Springfield office or (312) 814-2220 for the Chicago office.

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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.