Maryland School Counselor Certification

School counselors in Maryland are certified to address three specific growth areas for the more than 860,000 students located in 1,449 schools across the state:

  • Personal and academic development
  • Educational and career decision-making
  • Social and emotional development and interpersonal relationships

Most elementary schools in Maryland employ one counselor, while secondary schools employ two to five counselors, depending on the number of students.

For more information about the roles and responsibilities for school counselors in Maryland, visit the Maryland State Department of Education website.

Skip down the page to the certification pathway you’re interested in:

Initial Maryland School Counselor Certification

Step 1: Education Requirements

Applicants for a Maryland school counselor certification have multiple options for graduate level education and combined experience.

To be eligible for certification in Maryland, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Master’s degree in school counseling or school guidance and counseling from a college/university with a National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) certificate and two (2) years of experience as a school teacher or school counselor in a school setting
  2. Master’s degree in school counseling or school guidance and counseling in program approved using state-approved standards under COMAR rules and regulations (see this webapage) and two (2) years of experience as a teacher or school counselor or 500 clock hours in a supervised practicum in school counseling or school guidance and counseling
  3. Master’s degree in school counseling or school guidance and counseling from a program approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  4. Master’s degree in school counseling or school guidance and counseling from an approved program under the Interstate Contract agreement for support services and two (2) years of satisfactory performance as a teacher or school counselor or 500 clock hours in a supervised practicum in school counseling or school guidance and counseling. If you would like more information about Maryland’s participation in the Interstate agreement, visit the NASDTEC website and click on Maryland. To learn more about accredited online programs, contact the following schools:

Step 2: Submit to a Criminal Background Check

Upon confirmation of your eligibility for certification, you will be asked to submit materials for a background check. The Maryland Department of Education will notify you via email once staff have reviewed your complete application packet.

If you would like to speak with a certification specialist about this, or any other certification requirement, contact the department at 1-866-772-8922.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

As of January 2020, there are no examination requirements for Maryland School Counseling certification.

Step 4: Know the Fees

Upon review of your application, the Maryland Department of Education will notify you via email of when to submit your fee. Do not include certification fees with your application. For more information, see the “Fee Payment” section on the Initial Application for Educator Certification.

The fee for initial certification is $10.

Step 5: Organize Your Application Materials

To begin the application process, you must create a portal account with the Maryland Department of Education Certification Branch Portal, located on the MSDE website.

Once your portal account is created, you can submit your application and all supporting documentation to the Certification office. Application materials include:

  • Completed Initial Application for Educator Certification, located here
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • You must also complete a Verification of Experience, if applicable, located here

The Maryland Department of Education will require appropriate criminal background checking and application fees, to be submitted following verification of your eligibility for school counselor certification.

For detailed answers to frequently asked questions, visit the MSDE website

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Your application for Maryland School Counselor certification is completed online, using the Department of Education Certification Branch Portal.

You will also mail supporting documentation to:

Maryland State Department of Education
Certification Branch
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore MD 21201

Or send electronically to certdocuments.msde@maryland.gov.

If you need assistance with the online submission portal, please contact the certification department’s helpdesk via email at eishelp.msde@maryland.gov.

Additional Information

If you need assistance with your School Counselor certification application, you can call the Certification Assistance Line at 1-866-772-8922.

Maryland School Counselor Certification Renewal

To renew your Maryland school counselor certificate, you must submit six (6) acceptable continuing education credits. The credit requirements include:

  • One (1) semester hour of college coursework; or
  • One (1) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course; or
  • An equivalent amount of Continuing Education Units (CPUs) based on the following topics:
    • Intervention services and/or referral services for mental illness and behavioral distress
    • Resources and other best practice models for assisting students and their families who are in crisis

For a detailed explanation of the types of courses that will be accepted, along with a list of colleges and universities that provided acceptable college courses, visit the MSDE website.

Additional Assistance

If you need assistance with your Maryland certification renewal, contact the Department of Education call center at 410-767-0412 during the following hours (EST) of operation:

Monday through Friday
8:15 AM – 12:00 PM
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday & Thursday
4:00 – 5:00 PM

Maryland School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Maryland will accept your current, valid professional certificate from another state, with completion of an educator preparation program and the state’s qualifying test scores, if applicable.

If you would like to apply as an out-of-state applicant, please submit the following:

  • A cover letter, including your name, mailing address, last 4 digits of your SSN, date of birth, email address, and the area of certification for which you are applying
  • An initial application for certification, downloadable here
  • Verification of test scores for your required out-of-state professional certificate, if applicable
  • A copy of your current, valid out-of-state professional certificate
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree

All applicants will create a profile with the Department of Education Certification Branch Portal.

Supporting documents, including official transcripts and a copy of your current, valid out-of-state certificate, should be sent to:

Maryland State Department of Education
Certification Branch
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore MD 21201

Or sent electronically to certdocuments.msde@maryland.gov.

For more information about your out-of-state application for Maryland school counselor certification, visit this webpage.

Additional Assistance

If you have questions about your out-of-state application, contact the Maryland Department of Education during normal business hours at 410-767-0100.

Maryland 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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