How to Become a Washington School Counselor

Where are you on your quest to become a Washington School Counselor?

Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Washington. 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 Washington Department of Education licensing department at (206) 753-6775.

I'm a High School Graduate...

As a high school graduate looking into the growing field of Washington school counseling, you are in a fantastic place to learn more about the career before having to make any committing moves. Whether you are from Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, or anywhere else across Washington, you will find resources that will help you further your education and learn more about the field of education in the state of Washington.

Below are recommended steps to help you learn how to begin advancing your current level of education as well as learn whether a career as a Washington school counselor is right for you.

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 Washington:

Finally, don't stop now! Use the information above to learn more about what it's like to work in an educational setting with student-aged individuals. Remember, your research is only as valuable as what you can do with it.

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I have already earned a college degree...

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

Step One:

Fulfill educational requirements through the following avenue:

Step Two:

In addition to your graduate degree, you will need to complete a comprehensive examination of the knowledge included in the coursework required in a counseling master's degree program.

The examination must be offered by a regionally accredited institution of higher education or the National Counselor Examination (NCE) offered through the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Step Three:

Typically, your counseling preparation institution will help you by taking care of the paperwork for the application process. For the type of forms necessary for both in-state applicants and out-of-state applicants for Washington school counselor certification, visit the State of Washington Certification page and look for the “Educational Staff Associates” link at the top of the page. Through this link you will find school counselor certification instructions and applications.

If you have more questions regarding the application and certification process for Washington school counselors, contact a licensure representative at the following number: (360) 725-6400

In addition, for criminal background and fingerprinting information, call the OSPI Fingerprint Office at (360) 725-6135.

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

Washington does offer certification through reciprocity agreements. However, you will still need to complete an application, have your credentials evaluated and complete a criminal background check before you will be awarded Washington school counselor certification.

Read the information on the following Washington Department of Education webpage and download the certification application that fits your description.

If you have further question for a your particular case, then call a Washington certification representative at the following number: (360) 725-6400

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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.