Alabama School Counselor Certification

The state of Alabama, as with the rest of the country, requires individuals who wish to find employment as a school counselor to possess a state issued certification.

Select your certification pathway:

Why is school counseling certification in Alabama a requirement?

Job Market Trends

Alabama School Counselor Salary (average) 1


Number of School Counselors Employed 1


Projected employment growth in Alabama 2

7.6% from 2018 - 2028

1.) May, 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market and salary figures for Educational, Guidance and Career Counselors and Advisors represents state data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July, 2021.

2.) School Counselor projections data pulled from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections in collaboration with Alabama State Employment Projections. Data accessed July, 2021.

School counselors are in charge of our children for pivotal moments in their lives: guiding students on their quest to gain the right amount of credits to take the next academic or career step and during charged emotional times when students need professional help to safely navigate life’s turmoil.
With this in mind, certification is a method with which school counselors can prove a high level of training and knowledge.

Job duties of school counselors can vary widely and span multiple disciplines, such as career knowledge, college admissions requirements as well as individual and group counseling skills. All of which are incredibly important tasks requiring significant training and experience. Education through accredited education programs are charged with the job of preparing future Alabama school counselors with the appropriate skill and knowledge.

Initial Alabama School Counselor Certification

There are a few avenues you may go down in order to meet the requirements for initial school counseling certification in Alabama. The following is the most popular option.

Initial Certification with an Accredited School Counseling Program:

Step 1: Begin your school counseling program

Complete a master’s degree CACREP-accredited school counseling program that meets requirements for Alabama school counseling certification. The following are a few online programs offering CACREP-accredited school counseling programs.

School counseling master’s degree programs will provide you with (in addition to the required school counseling coursework) access to practicum opportunities and guide you toward the necessary Praxis examinations at the appropriate time for them to be taken.

Step 2: Background check

Establish a clean background by being fingerprinted for a criminal background check through the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (ASBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You can learn how to easily achieve all of this through the Gemalto Cogent website.

If you have already had a criminal background check, or believe you have, you may check whether you have been processed and whether you are considered suitable and fit to teach here.

Step 3: Official Transcripts

Make sure all of your official transcripts from both your bachelor’s degree and your master’s degree programs have been sent to the Alabama Certification Section in a sealed envelope directly from the institution or submitted securely through electronic transmission.

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Step 4: Examinations

Successfully complete examination requirements. These requirements are typically coordinated with the help of your master’s degree program in school counseling. The examinations to be completed are the following:

  • National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
  • Pass the Praxis examinations for school counseling licensure. This requires some examinations that all educators must successfully pass and one specific instructional support personnel examination for Professional School Counselors. More information about Praxis examinations required for Alabama educators can be found here. More information about the Praxis Professional School Counselor examination can be found here.

Step 5: Application Checklist

Organize your school counseling certification application materials. They will include the following:

  • Supplement CIT with United States citizenship or lawful presence in the United States supporting documentation.
  • Application Part 1 (Supplement PRK) and 2 (Form KRP) including personal data barcode page. Documents may be found on the Alabama State Department of Education website.
  • $30.00 nonrefundable application fee. Fee must be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order made payable to the Alabama State Department of Education or through the Alabama State Department of Education Educator Certification Online payment system using a credit card (an additional $4.00 transaction fee is applied). Online payment system can be found here.
  • Verification that your background clearance based on a fingerprint review was completed successfully.
  • Official transcripts of all degrees and credit earned should be sent directly from educational institutions.
  • Supplement KR1 that has been forwarded from your CACREP-accredited school counseling program’s institution. You can find a link to the KR1 form on the Alabama State Department of Education website.

Step 6: Mail Your Application

Mail documentation to the following address:

Alabama State Department of Education
Educator Certification Section
5215 Gordon Persons Building
Post Office Box 302101
Montgomery, AL 36130-2101

More information, a checklist for information that must eventually be accumulated and submitted to the Alabama State Department of Education, and links to methods of application submittal can be found on the Alabama State Department of Education.

Additional options are available for initial certification with the following scenarios:

  1. You currently hold a valid Alabama Professional Educator or Professional Leadership Certificate. In this situation, you may be able to acquire an Interim Employment Certificate (IEC) while you complete a school counseling certification program. To learn more about school counseling programs, try contacting one of these institutions offering online school counseling master’s programs:

    For more information on IEC options, click here.

  2. You currently possess a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification for school counselors. With the NBPTS certification, you may be eligible for initial school counseling certification in Alabama. For more information on earning your school counseling certification via this approach, click here.

Alabama School Counselor Certification Renewal

It’s important for Alabama’s school counselors to know that it is their responsibility to pay attention to the expiration date of their school counseling certification. It’s also important to know that certificates are not continued prior to the calendar year of their expiration.

Requirements for certification renewal will be in the following form:

  • Allowable coursework credit
  • Allowable clock hours of professional development
  • Professional educational work experience

The specifics of what’s required to keep your school counseling certification current is available as well as links to forms that must be submitted in order to get credit for your professional development work can be found here.

School Counselor Certification Reciprocity in Alabama

If you hold a valid professional educator certificate issued by any other state, the District of Columbia, a United States Territory, or the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), you are eligible for Alabama school counseling certification through Certificate Reciprocity.

For the specifics regarding additionally requirements that must be met (e.g. background clearance and testing) and forms to be submitted, visit the Alabama State Department of Education website here.

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