South Carolina School Counselor Certification

There are over 750,000 students in prekindergarten through grade 12 across 1,269 public schools in South Carolina. Children from minority families make up 48% of a student population that enjoys a 16:1 student to teacher ratio. Guidance counselors provide a variety of services to support all students’ optimum academic, social, and emotional development using a comprehensive counseling model that is based on the American School Counseling Association’s framework.

If you would like to learn more about the comprehensive framework for school counseling programs, visit the American School Counselor Association website.

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

Initial South Carolina School Counselor Certification

The initial school counseling certificate in South Carolina is valid for three (3) years and is non-renewable. Holders are credentialed to provide guidance counseling services to students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Step 1: Education Requirements

  • Completion of an advanced school counseling preparation program approved by the South Carolina Board of Education, such as the following programs:

Step 2: Criminal Background Check

Applicants must complete a criminal background check with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and FBI. The processing fee is $51.50.

For detailed instructions, including options for submitting via electronic live scan or manual card scan, download this PDF.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

To obtain a school counseling credential in South Carolina, you must earn a minimum score of 156 on the Professional School Counselor Exam (ETS Test Code 5421). For more information about this exam, or to register for a test date, visit the Praxis website.

Step 4: Know the Fees

The non-refundable application fee is $105.

Step 5: Application Materials Checklist

Your application materials include the following:

  • Completed profile and application through the South Carolina application portal
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Proof of passing score for the Professional School Counselor Exam (ETS Test Code 5421)
  • $105 initial application fee

Step 6: Submit Your Application

The South Carolina application for school counseling certification is submitted online via the Department of Education portal, located here.

Additional Information

If you need assistance with your application, contact the Educator Services Call Center at 803-896-0325.

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Wednesday
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Thursday
1 PM – 4:30 PM
Friday
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM EST

South Carolina School Counselor Certification Renewal

The initial school counselor credential is a non-renewable credential that is valid for three (3) years. In order to advance the credential, your employment status and experience will be taken into consideration. Once you advance to the Professional Certificate, it will be valid for five (5) years, with an expiration date of June 30.

To renew the Professional Certificate, you must complete a minimum of 120 renewal credits during the five (5) year period of certificate validity. For more information, visit the renewal credit matrix, located here.

Additional Assistance

If you have questions about your renewal application, call the Educator Services department at 803-896-0325 during normal business hours Monday through Wednesday and each Friday, or between the hours of 1 PM and 4:30 PM EST on Thursdays.

You can also email a specialist at Certification@ed.sc.gov.

South Carolina School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

South Carolina considers reciprocity certification for applicants whose school counseling credential is from another state. To be considered for initial certification based on your out-of-state education, experience, and credentials, you will submit the following:

  • Completed profile and application through the South Carolina application portal
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, including transfer credits that led to earned degree
  • Copy of your current, valid out-of-state credential
  • Proof of qualifying score for the Professional School Counselor Exam (ETS Test Code 5421) or proof of passing score from examination required by your licensing state
  • $105 initial application fee

Additional Assistance

If you need assistance with your application, you can email a specialist at Certification@ed.sc.gov.

You can also call the Educator Services help desk at 803-896-0325 during the following hours of operation.

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Wednesday
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Thursday
1 PM – 4:30 PM
Friday
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM EST

South Carolina 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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