Iowa School Counselor Certification
School counselors serve more than 500,000 students enrolled at almost 1400 public schools in Iowa, and hold one of two endorsements:
- Professional School Counselor K-8 License; authorizing those who counsel students in kindergarten and grades one through eight
- Professional School Counselor 5-12 License; authorizing those who counsel students in grades 5 through 12
For more information about school counseling in Iowa, visit the Iowa Department of Education School Counseling website where you will find detailed information about the profession.
Skip down the page to the certification pathway you’re interested in:
Initial Iowa School Counselor Certification
Applicants for an Iowa school counselor license, who do not have two (2) years of successful service as a school counselor in an Iowa public school, or three (3) years in an accredited Iowa private school or an out-of-state education setting, will receive an Initial Professional Service license, which is valid for two (2) years.
Upon completion of the aforementioned employment requirement, applicants will receive the Professional Service license, which is valid for five (5) years.
Step 1: Education Requirements
- Master’s degree in school counseling from an accredited institution of higher education, such as the following:Sponsored SchoolFeatured Programs:
- Top Picks
Featured Universities with School Counseling Programs
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.
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.
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.
- 100 completed hours of a preservice supervised practicum*, with at least 40 of the hours in direct service. For additional information, see the “Teaching and counseling practicum” section located here.
- 600 completed hours of a supervised internship*, with at least 240 of the hours in direct service. For additional information, see the “Teaching and counseling practicum” section located here.
Applicants seeking both endorsements: K-8 and 5-12, must complete at least 100 hours of the internship or practicum at each of the desired endorsement levels. Specific course instruction is required. For details about course requirements, visit this webpage.
Step 2: Submit to a Criminal Background Check
All applicants must permit the Iowa State Division of Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct a criminal background check. An FBI fingerprint card is required at the time of application, along with a $75 processing fee.
For more information, visit this website.
Step 3: Examination Requirements
As of January 2020, there are no examination requirements for Iowa School Counseling endorsements.
Step 4: Know the Fees
License Application Fee: $40
Background Check Fee: $75
An additional $3 service fee is added to online payments.
Step 5: Organize Your Application Materials
Your complete application is submitted online and includes the following materials:
- Completed profile and application through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners link, located here. For detailed instructions of how to submit your application materials through the online portal, see this document.
- Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
- Proof of completed Mandatory Child and Dependent Adult Abuse Reporter Training, which the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) provides online for free. For additional information about the training requirements, and to register for training with the Iowa DHS, go here
- FBI fingerprint card; for more information, visit this website or call 515-281-3245
- $40 application fee for License
- $75 background check fee
Step 6: Submit Your Application
Your application for Iowa School Counselor license must be submitted online, using the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners link, located here.
For detailed instructions of how to submit your application materials through the online portal, see this document.
If you need assistance with your School Counselor license application, you can call the Iowa Department of Education or email Dr. Linda Espey, the department specialist for Iowa’s counseling endorsement.
Iowa School Counselor Certification Renewal
The Iowa school counselor license is valid for five (5) from the date of issue. Renewal applications are completed online.
Your renewal application includes the following materials:
- Official college/university transcripts (required for each license renewal)
- Renewal application fee of $85, plus $10 for the abbreviated background check
- Renewal credits, which are offered by approved Iowa providers. Visit this webpage for more information. For counselors wanting to complete renewal credit requirements out-of-state, credits must be college semester hour credits and not CEUs or staff development hours. Credits must be earned during the valid years of the license currently held (within previous 5 years).
- Abbreviated background check with the child abuse registry, sex offender registry, and the dependent adult background abuse registry. For more information about school employee background checks, visit this website.
For more information about how to renew your Iowa School Counselor license, you can contact a specialist at 515-725-2146.
Iowa School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity
Iowa does not have full reciprocity for out-of-state applicants, however, with institutional recommendations, applicants should be eligible for the Initial Professional Service License, which is valid for to (2) years. For more information, visit the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners website.
If you are interested in applying for an Iowa School Counseling endorsement and hold a valid, current license in another state, you will submit your application materials online, through this website.
Your application materials will include:
- Completed profile, application, and $40 initial payment through the online licensing system
- FBI fingerprint card and $75 fingerprinting processing fee
- Official transcripts for all institutions attended
- Proof of completed Mandatory Child and Dependent Adult Abuse Reporter Training, which the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) provides online for free. For additional information about the training requirements, and to register for training with the Iowa DHS, visit the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners website.
- Copy of current, valid license
For more details the Professional Service license with school counseling endorsement, visit this webpage.
If you have questions about your out-of-state application, contact the Dr. Linda Espey at the Board of Educational Examiners at 515-725-2146 or via email Linda.Espey@Iowa.gov.
Iowa School Counseling Certification Resources
For resources to assist you with continuing education and other career development opportunities, see the following websites:
- Iowa School Counselor Association
- Iowa Professional School Counselor Administrative Rules
- American School Counselor Association
- National Board of Certified Counselors