How to Become a Pennsylvania School Counselor
Where are you on your quest to become a Pennsylvania School Counselor?
- I'm a High School Graduate...
- I have already earned a college degree...
- I'm a certified counselor from another state...
Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania Department of Education licensing department at (717) 787-3356.
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...
Your a high school graduate and already researching the Pennsylvania school counselor career. Researching professional career options as a high school graduate shows motivation and maturity. These traits will serve you well whether you end up becoming a Pennsylvania school counselor or not. However, research will only do you some good if you act on what you find.
The following are recommended steps to learn how to advance your current level of education and learn more about working in the field of education.
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 Pennsylvania:
- The Mentoring Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisburg Pennsylvania
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berks County (Reading, PA)
- Big Brothers Big Sisters, Philadelphia, PA
- Pennsylvania list of school districts
- 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.
As a final thought... go ahead and get out there! Start volunteering, become a mentor and learn whether a career working with student-aged individuals is right for you!
I have already earned a college degree...
The following are the steps necessary for earning your school counseling certification in Pennsylvania:
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 Pennsylvania here.
You will need to complete Pennsylvania's experience requirements for school counseling certification.
- A supervised practicum experience of at least 60 clock hours
- A supervised internship of at least 300 clock hours
You will need to complete the examination requirements by successfully completing the Praxis Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) and the Praxis II School Guidance and Counseling exam. You can find more information about when and where these examinations are given on the ETS website.
You can learn more about the specific requirements and application procedures for the Pennsylvania school counselor certification on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
I'm a certified counselor from another state...
Pennsylvania does recognize the school counselor certification from 45 states through a signed Interstate Agreement. The participating states can be found of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website.
However, even with the Interstate Agreement, Pennsylvania school counselor certification candidates will still need to pass Pennsylvania's required examinations.