Colorado School Counselor Certification

School counselors in Colorado provide services to over 911,000 students in 1,900 schools that make up 178 districts across the state. According to the Department of Education, a school counselor applicant should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Mastery of and expertise in the domain for which the counselor is responsible
  • Support and/or establish safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environments for a diverse student population
  • Plan, deliver, and/or monitor services and/or specially designed instruction
  • Create environments that facilitate student learning
  • Reflect on personal practice
  • Collaborate, advocate, and lead as appropriate for the profession

If you are interested in becoming a school counselor in Colorado, you can do so through initial and reciprocal licensures. For more information about the regulations for a school counselor endorsement, visit the Colorado Department of Education website

Skip down to the Colorado school counselor certification pathway of interest:

Initial Colorado School Counselor Certification

There are two paths to initial licensure in the state of Colorado. The first path is designed for applicants who have successfully completed a school counseling program, while the second path is available for those who have not yet completed the program. Both paths are explained in the following information.

Step 1: Education Requirements

Applicants for Alaska school counselor certification must meet the following minimum educational requirements:

The following are the education requirements for applicants who meet criteria for the licensure through a school counseling education program (Path 1):

  • Master’s degree or higher in school counseling from a regionally accredited institution of higher education (Path 1):
  • You also must have completed an approved program in school counseling, as defined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or demonstrate equivalent coursework and training experiences (Path 1)
  • Completed a minimum of 100 clock-hours of a practicum, scheduled throughout the program (Path 1)
  • In addition, you must have completed a 600 clock-hour internship, supervised by a licensed school counselor in a school setting with multiple grade levels of students (Path 1)
    • The internship must have provided opportunities for the applicant to engage in a variety of activities that an effective school counselor would be expected to perform, as identified in the 2016 Colorado School Counseling Standards, accessible at www.cacrep.org

For applicants who successfully obtain a Colorado school counselor license via Path 1, the initial Colorado School Counselor license is valid for three (3) years from the date of issue.

If you have not yet successfully completed an approved program in school counseling, you may apply for a one-year interim* license, which is Path 2 to Colorado school counselor endorsement.

The following are the requirements for Path 2:

  • Master’s degree or higher in clinical counseling, inclusive of social work, from a regionally accredited institution of higher education (Path 2)
  • You must successfully obtain a Colorado Department of Regulatory Authorities counseling license (i.e., LPC, LCSW) (Path 2)
  • You must have three or more years of work experience as a licensed clinical counselor or licensed social worker (Path 2)
  • During the one-year interim license timeline, you must complete the following additional requirements (Path 2):
    • Successfully pass the state-approved content assessment (PRAXIS 5421) in school counseling
    • Participate in an approved induction program that will enable you to be knowledge about and demonstrate school counselor competencies, including knowledge and skills in academic support and career counseling
    • Engage in a variety of activities that an effective school counselor would be expected to perform, as identified in the Colorado School Counseling Standards, accessible at www.cacrep.org

*The interim license is valid for one calendar year and may not be renewed. If you complete the requirements listed above within the interim year, you may apply for a professional Special Service Provider (SSP) license with a school counselor endorsement, which is valid for three (3) years from the date of issue.

Step 2: Criminal Background Check

Applicants must submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). For a complete description of the fingerprint requirements and process for submitting to the CBI, visit the Colorado Department of Education website.

If you already hold a valid, Colorado Department of Education-issued educational credential (e.g., teacher license) and have consistently maintained an active credential since you submitted your fingerprints, you can skip this step. However, if your credentials have lapsed, you must submit a new set of fingerprints.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

You must complete the Colorado state approved content exam. Path 1 applicants must complete the PLACE 41, with a passing score of 220 or the Praxis 5421, with a passing score of 156. Path 2 applicants must complete the Praxis 5421, with a passing score of 156. To learn more about the Praxis exam, visit the CDE praxis info webpage

Step 4: Organize your Application Materials

Your completed application is submitted online and should include the following materials:

  • Names and addresses of all colleges/universities you have attended
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree. For more information about official transcript requirements, visit the CDE official transcripts information webpage
  • Completed Approved Program Verification Form documenting that you have successfully completed a state-approved special service provider preparation program, located at the CDE website
  • Proof of a completed and passed content exam. For more information about the content tests and registration, visit the CDE website
  • Details of employment history for at least five (5) years prior to the date of application, including:
    • Employer/business names and addresses
    • Supervisors’ names and contact information
    • Dates of employment
    • Reasons for leaving
  • All special service provider experience (e.g., licensed counselor, licensed social worker) should be included, even if more than five (5) years prior to the date of application
    • Copies of active and expired special service provider licenses must be included with your application
  • Self-disclosure documents are required with your application, related to criminal history, employment history, and licensure history. The Colorado Department of Education has clear guidelines for how to self-disclose and provides a list of acceptable forms of supporting documentation. For detailed information, visit the CDE self-disclosure webpage

Step 5: Know the Fees

  • Application Fee: In-State – $90
  • Application Fee: Out-of-State – $110

For additional information about the application fees, please contact the Educator Talent department at the Colorado Department of Education:

Phone: 303-866-6628
Email: CDELicensing@cde.state.co.us

Step 6: Submit the Application

Your application for Colorado School Counselor license must be submitted online. For an application checklist and instructions for how to submit your application via the Colorado Department of Education website, visit their website.

Additional Information

If you need assistance with your Colorado School Counselor license application, please contact the Educator Talent department at the Colorado Department of Education.

Educator Talent – Licensing Office
6000 E Evans Ave
Building #2, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80222

Phone: 303-866-6628
Fax: 303-866-6722
Email: CDELicensing@cde.state.co.us

Walk-In Hours
Mon-Thur, 8:30am-5pm
Fri, 8:30am-4pm

Call Center Hours
Mon-Fri: 7:30am-12:30pm
Phone: 303-866-6628

Colorado School Counselor Certification Renewal

The initial license for Colorado School Counselor is valid for three (3) years from the date of issue and may be renewed anytime within six (6) months of expiration.

The renewal license is valid for five (5) years from the date of issue. The renewal application fee is $90. Proof of completion of 6 semester hours or 90 clock hours of renewal credit, obtained within the previous five (5) years, is required with your renewal application.

If you would like to renew your Colorado School Counselor license, you can access a renewal application checklist and detailed instructions for how to apply online here.

Additional Assistance

For more information about how to renew your Colorado School Counselor license, visit the CDE website

If you have questions about your renewal application, contact the Educator Talent department via email CDELicensing@cde.state.co.us or call 303-866-6628 to speak with a specialist.

Colorado School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Although Colorado does not directly “transfer” counseling licenses from other states or countries, the state licensing law does allow beneficial flexibility in the types of credentials that are issued to professionals who are licensed in other states or countries.

The fee for this application is $110, and is valid for either three (3) or five (5) years from the date of issue, depending on the applicant’s qualifications.

If you currently hold or are eligible to currently hold a license in another state, you may qualify or an interim authorization. This is issued for one (1) year and is able to be renewed once.

For more information about how to apply for a Colorado School Counselor license as an out-of-state applicant, including a detailed checklist and steps to apply online, please visit this webpage.

Additional Assistance

For more information about how to apply as an out-of-state applicant, visit the CDE renewal webpage.

If you have questions about your application, contact the Educator Talent department via email CDELicensing@cde.state.co.us or call 303-866-6628 to speak with a specialist.

Colorado 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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