How to Become an Alabama School Counselor
Where are you on your quest to become an Alabama School Counselor?
Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Alabama. 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 Alabama Department of Education licensing department at (334) 242-9977.
- Top Picks
Featured Universities with School Counseling Programs
Become a professional school counselor in K-12 settings with an online Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling from top-ranked USC Rossier School of Education. Complete in as few as 20 months. Click here to contact USC Rossier School of Education and request information about their programs.
Earn a Master's degree in School Counseling online from the University of Denver. Learn from doctoral-level faculty in live classes and gain experience through mock counseling and in-field training. No GRE required. Click here to contact University of Denver and request information about their programs.
I’m a High School Graduate…
In order to become a counselor in Alabama, you will need to complete more education. But, don’t worry, this means you can take many different courses on various subjects to make sure you still wish to continue down the school counseling or psychology road. The following are steps you may wish to follow in order to better prepare yourself for a school counseling career in Alabama:
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 Alabama:
- Mentor Alabama (they can connect you with mentoring opportunities across the state of Alabama)
- Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham, Alabama
- Big Brother Big Sisters of North Alabama
- Big Brother Big Sisters of South Alabama
- Wikipedia list of Alabama’s 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.
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 Alabama.
I have already earned a college degree…
The following are the steps necessary for earning your school counseling certification in Alabama:
Fulfill educational requirements through one of the following avenues:
- Earn a teaching certification in any field
- Earn a Master’s degree in School Counseling
(GPA must not fall below a 3.0 for any course in a school counseling program)
You will need to have at least two years of educational experience completed with satisfactory referrals.
You will need to complete a minimum of 30 clock hours of supervised, direct service work in individual and group counseling with early childhood (elementary) and secondary school students. This step is usually coordinated by your school counseling program college advisor.
You must complete a supervised P-12 school-based internship of at least 300 clock hours. This internship must begin subsequent to the completion of the practicum which shall require the future counselor to perform all the activites that a school counselor is expected to perform.
You will need to have your fingerprints taken for a criminal history background check. Visit this webpage to complete your fingerprint and background check.
Visit this webpage to get answers to common questions about the fingerprint and background check process.
Sign up for and successfully complete the written Alabama school counseling test. Learn more about the Praxis exam in Alabama here.
Of course, as with any career, there will be ups and downs, road blocks and smooth sailing. However, Alabama’s educational system needs highly motivated individuals who are flexible enough to learn and adapt to the times. If you are a modern thinker with a strong will, becoming an Alabama School Counselor will be a highly rewarding experience.
I’m a teacher in Alabama and wish to become a school counselor…
If you are already a teacher in Alabama, the transition into the school counseling career is not as painful as an ordinary career change. As long as you have already completed two years of satisfactory educational experience and have already submitted your criminal background check, you only have a few more steps to complete.
You will need to complete 30 clock hours of supervised, direct service work in individual and group counseling with elementary and secondary school students.
Next, you will need to complete a 300 hour internship where you will be performing all the regular activities of a professional school counselor.
You can coordinate these events and gain all the paperwork and additional procedural information through a school counseling program advisor. The following is a link to an information request form for a school who offers a Master’s degree in Human Services (HS) 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
- UMass Online (Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling – NEASC and State-Approved program)
In order to make sure you are taking care of all prerequisites for Alabama School Counseling Certification, you should contact an Alabama Department of Education certification representative at the following number: (334) 242-9977
You may also visit this webpage for answers to common questions about school counselor certification in Alabama.
I’m a certified counselor from another state…
The Alabama Department of Education does grant school counseling certification to certified school counselors from other states through the certificate reciprocity approach to certification. To learn if you qualify for reciprocity, visit this webpage. Be sure to read the help FAQs carefully and to submit the correct forms. If you have any further questions contact the Alabama Department of Education at (334) 353-8567.