Arkansas School Counselor Certification

Arkansas school counselors support public schools students by developing counseling programs that are comprehensive, preventative, and developmental in nature. Based on the American School Counselor Association, this model helps all students achieve their optimum academic, social, and emotional success.

Counselors in the state serve nearly 500,000 students in over 1100 public schools. For more information about Arkansas’ guidance and school counseling program, visit the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

Skip down to find information relevant to your situation:

Initial Arkansas School Counselor Certification

Step 1: Educational Requirements

Arkansas offers an initial standard license that is valid for five (5) years. There are two pathways to licensure in Arkansas, based on an applicant’s graduate degree.

To be eligible for licensure, you must have earned one of the following:

  1. Master’s degree in school counseling, such as the following:

    or

  2. Master’s degree in any field and completion of an approved school counseling preparation program through an Arkansas institution

For resources related to Arkansas’ approved educator preparation programs, visit this webpage.

Step 2: Submit to a Criminal Background Check

Applicants must complete an FBI noncriminal fingerprint based criminal history check and a background check with the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry.

For detailed information about background checking, including necessary fees and a list of approved Live Scan locations for completing your fingerprint card, visit this webpage.

To complete the Child Maltreatment Central Registry application, you will need to download an Authorization Form, which includes submission and payment instructions, located at here.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

Applicants for the Arkansas Guidance/Counseling K-12 license must pass the Professional School Counselor (ETS 5421) exam with a qualifying score of 156 or higher. For more information about this exam, or to register for a test date, visit the Praxis website.

Step 4: Know the Fees

Application fee: $75

The $75 application fee is payable online here.

You may also submit payment to:

Educator License

Department of Education
Rooms 106B & 107B

Four Capitol Mall

Little Rock AR 72201-1071

Step 5: Organize Your Application Materials

Your complete application is submitted online and includes the following materials:

  • Completed profile and application through the Arkansas Educator Licensure System
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Proof of passing score for the Professional School Counselor (ETS 5421) exam
  • $75 application fee

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Your complete application, except for the criminal background checking requirements, are submitted online through the Arkansas Educator Licensure System.

If you would like to request a paper application, you must email the Office of Educator Licensure at ade.educatorlicensure@arkansas.gov.

Additional Information

If you need additional assistance with your school counseling licensure application, you can contact the Department of Education at 501-682-4342 during normal business hours CST.

Arkansas School Counselor Certification Renewal

Standard school counseling certificates are renewable every five (5) years. Renewals can be processed after January 1 of the expiration year. Arkansas requires that licensed professionals complete 36 continuing education hours for each of the years that a license covers. For the five (5) year standard license, counselors must complete a total of 180 hours, approved by a designated school official.

The following requirements are necessary for renewal:

  • Completed profile and application through the Arkansas Educator Licensure System. Paper applications are no longer accepted for renewal.
  • New criminal background checking and Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry. For instructions and links to complete each of these requirements, visit this webpage.
  • Proof of Professional Development requirements, signed by a designated official, located here.
  • $75 renewal application fee

Additional Assistance

For additional inquiries about your renewal application, you can email a licensure specialist at ade.educatorlicensure@arkansas.gov or call the department at 501-682-4342.

Arkansas School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

If you are applying as an out-of-state applicant, you may be eligible for licensure through reciprocity. Upon review of your education and credential, an Arkansas licensure specialist will contact you if any deficiencies exist in your application.

Required materials include:

  • Completed profile and application through the Arkansas Educator Licensure System
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Copy of your current, valid credential
  • Proof of passing score for the Professional School Counselor (ETS 5421) exam, or proof of passing score from licensing state’s required exam. If you have not passed the ETS 5421 or an equivalent exam, you will be required to complete the Professional School Counselor (ETS 5421) exam, details located here
  • Criminal background checking and Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry are required for reciprocity applicants. For instructions and links to complete each of these requirements, visit this webpage
  • $75 application fee

Additional Assistance

If you have additional questions about the reciprocity process, you can contact the Recruitment and Retention Program at 501-682-6349 or 501-682-3606 during normal business hours CST.

Arkansas School Counseling Certification Resources

For resources to assist you with continuing education and other career development opportunities, see the following websites:

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