Missouri School Counselor Certification

Missouri has over 900,000 public school students who attend 2,406 elementary and secondary schools in 567 districts across the state. School counselors play a vital role in each child’s success by implementing comprehensive programs to support the social, emotional, academic, and career development of all students.

If you would like to learn more about the unique role and responsibilities of a Missouri school counselor, you can download the Missouri School Counseling Association’s position papers here.

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

Initial Missouri School Counselor Certification

The initial school counselor endorsement is the Initial Student Services Certificate (ISS) and is valid for four (4) years.

Step 1: Education Requirements

Applicants for the Missouri school counselor license must meet the following requirements:

  • Earned master’s degree or higher from an accredited college/university that offers a student services program approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) such as programs offered by the following schools:

Step 2: Submit to a Criminal Background Check

Missouri requires applicants to pre-register online for fingerprinting through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS).

The background checking fee is $41.75 and is payable through the online system. For more information, visit the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Background Check Procedures page.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

To obtain a license in Missouri, you must earn a passing score of 220 or higher on the Missouri Content Assessment for School Counselor (Test 056). This computer-based exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions and is completed in 2 hours or less. The exam is offered nationwide for a $73 testing fee. For more information, or to register for a test date, visit this website.

Step 4: Required Fees

If you earned a school counseling degree from a Missouri college or university, you will not pay an application fee for the initial certificate.

If you are applying as a Non-Missouri graduate, then you will pay a $100 application fee.

Step 5: Organize Your Application Materials

Your application materials include the following:

  • Completed profile and application through the Missouri Department of Education website
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Proof of passing scores from the Missouri Content Assessment for School Counselor (Test 056)
  • $100 application fee, if applicable as a Non-Missouri graduate

Step 6:
Submit Your Application

The application process in Missouri is a multi-step process involving multiple institutions.

  1. Complete the online Initial application using the web application portal, located here.
  2. Submit the application to the Missouri college/university where you completed your master’s degree in counseling. The institution will complete program verification information and forward the application to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for further processing.

Your application will be processed in a timely manner, based on background clearance, institution program verification, and receipt of official transcripts. You can monitor the status of your application online by logging into your account through this website.

Additional Information

If you need assistance with your School Counselor license application, you can call the Missouri Educator Certification office during normal business hours at 573-751-0051. You can also email a specialist at certification@dese.mo.gov.

Missouri School Counselor Certification Renewal

The Initial School Counseling certificate is valid for four (4) years from the date of issue. To renew your school counseling certificate, you will complete the Upgrade Student Services application.

Required materials for renewal:

  • Completed Upgrade Student Service application, located online
  • Proof of 40 professional development contact hours, which may include college credits. One semester hour of college credit equals 15 professional development contact hours.
  • $35 upgrade application fee

Additional Assistance

If you need additional information about upgrading your school counseling credential, email a certification specialist at certification@dese.mo.gov.

You can also call the Missouri Educator Certification office at 573-751-0051 during normal business hours.

Missouri School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Missouri’s Department of Education will consider reciprocity for out-of-state applicants who hold a current, valid school counseling credential. Your application materials include the following:

  • Completed profile and application through the Missouri Department of Education website, located here
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Copy of your current, valid school counseling credential
  • $100 application fee

In addition to these materials, Missouri requires applicants to pre-register online for fingerprinting through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS), located here.

The background checking fee is $41.75 and is payable through the online system. For more information, visit the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Background Check Procedures page, located here.

Additional Assistance

If you need assistance with your application for consideration of reciprocity credentialing, contact a Missouri Certification specialist at 573-751-0051.

Missouri School Counseling Certification Resources

For resources to assist you with continuing education and other career development opportunities, see the following websites:

Back to the top