Minnesota School Counselor Certification

School counselors in Minnesota provide services to students in kindergarten through grade 12. Counselors focus on preventative and educational strategies that promote each student’s development and strengthen important skills, such as decision-making and interpersonal competence.

For more information about school counseling in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota School Counselor Association website where you will find detailed information about the profession.

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

Initial Minnesota School Counselor Certification

Applicants for an initial Minnesota school counselor license apply for the state’s Tier 2 license. This license is valid for two (2) years and can be renewed up to three times, at which time the applicant must be eligible for a Tier 3 license. For more information about the Minnesota Tier system, including requirements for Tiers 2, 3, and 4, download this PDF.

Step 1: Education Requirements

You must have earned a master’s degree in counseling or a bachelor’s degree with current enrollment in an accredited school counselor program and a minimum of 24 completed course credits plus verification of a plan to complete the master’s program within three (3) academic years. Learn more about school counseling programs by contacting schools, such as the following:

Step 2: Submit to a Criminal Background Check

All applicants should submit a fingerprint card along with the application. To request a card, send an email to pelsb@state.mn.us with the subject line “Fingerprint Card Request.” Provide your full name and mailing address in the message. You can also request a card by calling 651-539-4200 and selecting Option 1.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

As of February 2020, there are no examination requirements for Minnesota School Counseling endorsements.

Step 4: Know the Fees

License application and fingerprint processing fee $90.25 Your check or money order is submitted in your complete application packet.

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Step 5: Organize Your Application Materials

Your complete application must be mailed in ONE packet and include the following materials:

  • Completed Tier 2 application, located here
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Completed fingerprint card
  • Conduct Review Statement, and supporting documentation, if applicable. For more information, see the “Section 5A” instructions located on the Minnesota Tier 2 Related Services License Application.
  • District Verification Form for a School Counselor License, signed by the hiring district*
  • $90.25 fee, which includes costs for the license application and fingerprint card processing. Your non-refundable check or money order should be payable to PELSB.

* Approval for a Tier 2 license requires a job offer from a Minnesota School District. For more information, see the General Information section on the Tier 2 Related Services License Application, located here.

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Your application for Minnesota School Counselor license must be submitted in ONE complete packet and mailed to the following address:

PELSB
1021 Bandana Blvd. E, Suite 222
Saint Paul MN 55108-5111

Additional Information

If you need assistance with your School Counselor license application, you can call the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) at 651-539-4200 between the hours of 8 AM and 2 PM CST, each weekday.

You can also email a licensing specialist at pelsb@state.mn.us or visit the walk-in center between 8 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday:

PELSB Walk-In Center
1021 Bandana Blvd E., Suite 222
St. Paul MN 55108-5111

Minnesota School Counselor Certification Renewal

The Minnesota Tier 2 (initial) school counselor license is valid for two (2) academic years and expires on June 30 of the expiration year. You may renew your Tier 2 license up to three times.

To renew your Minnesota license, visit this webpage and select the appropriate Tier Application:

  • Tier 2 application
  • Tier 3 application
  • Tier 4 application

Your renewal application includes the following materials:

  • Completed application
  • Official college/university transcripts (required for each license renewal)
  • Renewal application fee of $57
  • Renewal credits totaling at least 75 clock hours (for Tier 3 application only)
  • Renewal credits totaling at least 125 clock hours (for Tier 4 application only)

Current Minnesota school counselor license holders do not need to submit for a background check with license renewals.

Additional Assistance

For more information about how to renew your Minnesota School Counselor license, you can contact a specialist at 651-539-4200, Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 2 PM CST.

Minnesota School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Minnesota does not have full reciprocity for out-of-state applicants, however, if you earned a regionally-accredited degree with requirements equivalent to the Minnesota school counseling programs, you may qualify for a Tier 2 license, which is valid for to (2) years and renewable up to three times.

To apply as an out-of-state applicant, you will submit the following materials:

  • Completed Tier 2 application
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Completed fingerprint card. To request a fingerprint card, you may call 651-539-4200 and select Option 1, or request a card via email by sending a message with your full name and mailing address to pelsb@state.mn.us. Indicate “Fingerprint Card Request” in the subject line.
  • Conduct Review Statement, and supporting documentation, if applicable. For more information, see the “Section 5A” instructions located on the Minnesota Tier 2 Related Services License Application.
  • District Verification Form for a School Counselor License, signed by the hiring district*
  • $90.25 application fee (includes costs for the license application and fingerprint card processing

* Approval for a Tier 2 license requires a job offer from a Minnesota School District. For more information, see the General Information section on the Tier 2 Related Services License Application, located here.

Additional Assistance

If you have questions about your out-of-state application, contact the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board at 651-539-4200. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM until 2 PM CST.

Minnesota 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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