District of Columbia School Counselor Certification

School counselors in the District of Columbia provide services to over 48,000 students in 115 public schools across the district. According to the superintendent's office, students in D.C. represent multiple races and ethnicities and enjoy a relatively low student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1.

Public school counselors in D.C. perform a variety of tasks at elementary, middle, and high school levels, including but not limited to:

  • Designing and implementing preventative programming for students considered "at-risk"
  • Building relationships with educators, families, and community partners in order to optimize student success
  • Assisting students with career and college planning through effective supportive guidance
  • Promoting each student's academic, personal, and social development

If you are interested in becoming a school counselor in D.C., you can do so through initial and reciprocal certifications. For more information about the regulations for school counselor credentials, visit the DC SBOE website.

Initial D.C. School Counselor Certification

D.C. offers a standard service provider credential in school counseling. It is valid for four years from the issue date and renewable upon successful completion of all renewal requirements.

Step 1: Education Requirements

  • Master's degree or higher in school counseling education from an approved licensure program or master's degree in counseling and completion of graduate level coursework in each of the following areas, with at least an earned course letter grade of "C"
    • Counseling children and adolescents
    • Multicultural counseling
    • Counseling students with exceptionalities
    • Crisis and trauma counseling and interventions
    • Career development and vocational education counseling
    • Testing assessments and measurements
    • Legal and ethical issues for school counselors
  • The following are a few schools offering accredited online school counseling licensure programs:
    • New York University (NYU)

      NYU Steinhardt's accredited master of arts program in Counseling and Guidance: School and Bilingual School Counseling. Through this online program, you will gain the skills you need to become a professional Pre-K-12 school counselor, working with children and families in your community to foster academic achievement and success. Click here to contact New York University and request information about their programs.

    • University of Denver

      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.

    • USC - Rossier School of Education

      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.

    • Vanderbilt University

      Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Masters of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling. Click here to contact Vanderbilt University and request information about their programs.

  • Successful completion of at least 300 supervised hours in a school setting; in a practicum, field, or internship experience, as part of a graduate degree program

Step 2: Submit a Criminal Background Check

Applicants must submit an FBI personal criminal history report (PCHR) issued within the previous twelve (12) months.

For detailed information about how to obtain an FBI Identity History Summary Check, including a list of FBI approved fingerprint processing agencies, visit this webpage.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

You must complete the D.C. required school counselor content exam or a comparable exam in another state where your school counselor license is currently held. D.C. requires applicants complete the Praxis 5421, with a passing score of 156. To learn more about the Professional School Counselor Praxis exam, visit the Praxis website.

Step 4: Organize the Application Materials

Your complete application, including supporting documentation and required fees, is submitted online and includes the following materials:

  • FBI personal criminal history report (PCHR) issued within the previous twelve (12) months
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degrees
  • Completed Approved Program Verification Form documenting that you have successfully completed a state-approved special service provider preparation program, if the program/institution you attended is outside of D.C. This form is located here
  • Proof of a completed and passed content exam. For more information about the content tests required for D.C., and to register for an exam, visit the Praxis website
  • Employment Verification Form, verifying school based employment in school counseling, if applicable, located here
  • Copies of any active and expired service provider credentials, if you hold credentials outside of D.C.

For a detailed list of all documents required for application of a standard credential in school counseling, visit the DC SBOE website.

Step 5: Know the Fees

Application Fee $50

For additional information about the application fees, visit the DC SBOE website.

Step 6: Submit the Application

Your application for D.C. School Counselor credentials is submitted online. This includes all supporting documentation and required fees.

To register as a user with the Educator Credentialing Information System (ECIS), in order to complete your application, sign up here.

For a comprehensive instruction manual for using the ECIS portal, visit the DC SBOE website.

Additional Information

If you need assistance with your D.C. school counselor credentials application, please contact the Educator Credentials Team at 202-741-5881 or via email osse.asklicensure@dc.gov.

District of Columbia School Counselor Certification Renewal

School counselors who need to renew their credential may do so in one of two ways:

  1. Renewal by performance evaluation ratings. This option includes submission of all pages of multi-year performance evaluation reviews and an FBI personal criminal history record report, issued within the previous twelve (12) months. For more information about this option, visit the DC SBOE
  2. Renewal by completion of professional development activities. This option includes documented participation in a minimum of 120 clock hours of professional development training activities, such as educator workshops and college coursework and an FBI personal criminal history record report, issued within the previous twelve (12) months. For more information about this option, visit this webpage

Additional Assistance

For more information about how to renew your D.C. School Counselor credentials, visit the DC SBOE website.

If you have questions about your renewal application, contact the please contact the Educator Credentials Team at 202-741-5881 or via email osse.asklicensure@dc.gov.

District of Columbia School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

If you hold full and current credentials in another state, and requirements are the same or comparable, you may qualify for a D.C. credential in school counseling.

Requirements for successfully obtaining a credential via reciprocity include:

  • Full and current school counselor credential with authorization for school-setting service;
  • Passed content exam in school counseling;
  • A minimum master's degree with specialization in school student services; and
  • Successful completion of supervised experience as part of a graduate program or completion of full-time school employment experience providing direct counseling services to students

If your state did not require one of the above conditions (e.g., content exam), then you will be required to satisfy the condition prior to receiving a D.C. credential in school counseling.

The application fee for reciprocity credentials is $50. For additional information about requirements for out-of-D.C. applicants, visit the DC SBOE website.

Additional Assistance

If you need assistance with your D.C. school counselor credentials application, please contact the Educator Credentials Team at 202-741-5881 or via email osse.asklicensure@dc.gov.

District of Columbia 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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