How to Become an Iowa School Counselor

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

Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Iowa. 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 Iowa Department of Education licensing department at (515) 281-3245.

I'm a High School Graduate...

As a high school graduate in Iowa, you still have to acquire a bit more education. However, on your way to earning your associate's degree or bachelor's degree, you will have ample opportunity to learn whether the career of Iowa school counselor is right for you.

As long as you are earning a degree, could be in most any field, you are not completely committing to the career of an Iowa school counselor; however, you are still working your way toward becoming one.

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 Iowa:

Don't hesitate! It's easy to put aside volunteer work, because sometimes it's hard to see the value this type of work can bring you, especially when you are short on cash! However, the friendships you make and the conclusions you will come to about the direction of your career are priceless.

So get out there, begin earning your undergraduate degree and volunteer!

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I have already earned a college degree...

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

Step One:

Fulfill educational requirements through one of the following avenues:

  1. Earn a Master's degree in School Counseling
  2. Earn a Master's in any other field and then separately, complete a school counseling program from an approved educational institution.

Additional educational coursework involve the following:

  • Complete an approved human relations component
  • Complete an approved exceptional learner component

You can find a checklist for all the additional required coursework for boh elementary school counselors and secondary school counselor on this webpage.

Call this number for more information: (515) 281-3245

Step Two:

Download the appropriate application form from this webpage. Follow the instructions posted on the top of the application.

Step Three:

You will also need to complete a minimum 500 clock hour supervised practicum involving a variety of usual school counseling activities. This requirement should be addressed by your school counseling program provider.

Step Four:

Contact the Iowa Department of Education in order to make sure you have everything in order to become certified by calling the following number: (515) 281-3245

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

As a school counselor from another state, you will find Iowa ready and willing to help you earn your Iowa school counselor certification. The following are a couple steps that will point you in the direction of becoming an Iowa school counselor:

  • You will first need to download an application from the following webpage.
  • There is a checklist for all additional material at the beginning of the application. Make sure you have completed all material before sending the application back to the following address:
    State of Iowa
    Board of Educational Examiners Licensure
    Grimes State Office Building
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146

For more information call the Iowa Department of Education at (515) 281-3245

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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.