Texas School Counselor Certification
For those interested in obtaining certification for the school counseling role in the state of Texas, there are certain requirements to be fulfilled according to the Texas Education Code.
As outlined by the Texas Education Agency, or TEA, there is a specific process for applicants to follow. This is to ensure that only the most qualified individuals are hired for this specialized role.
Here are the steps needed to acquire school counseling certification in Texas:
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Initial Texas School Counselor Certification
Step 1: Education Requirements
Acquire a Master’s degree from an accredited institution that is also approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. For more information about accreditation and the agencies approved by the Coordinating Board, check out their site listings and requirements for accreditation.
Complete an additional school counseling preparatory program, (EPP), and have in-class teaching experience of at least 2 full years. This can include teaching in either a public school system or an accredited private school.
The overall goal of completing an EPP in Texas is to ensure that all school counseling applicants are qualified and experienced in meeting student needs within Texas schools and classrooms.
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Step 2: Examination Requirements
Take the required school counseling examination (TExES #152) and pass with a score of 240 or higher. This test includes 100 questions that are offered in multiple-choice format and align with the School Counselor standards for testing.
Some highlights of the TExES examination, specific to the school counseling role, include testing the applicant’s knowledge of how to help K-12 students develop behavioral skills, how to create comprehensive counseling programs, and how to work collaboratively with school staff, parents, and communities.
Online resources are available to help you prepare for the TExES examination and offer more information about completing this required test.
Step 3: Application Requirements
School counseling applicants must apply for certification and pay the certification fee electronically. This is done through the Texas Education Agency with a personalized TEAL account. For more about setting up your login account, you can talk with a regional service member. Phone numbers for each region are listed HERE.
All files such as transcripts and personal information should be sent through ShareFile. Your TEA representative can help you with this.
* For general certification questions, call (512) 936-8400 and follow the menu for direction.
* Location of the Texas Education Agency is as follows:William B. Travis Building
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas, 78701
* There is also an online help desk to submit questions regarding your certification process HERE.
Step 4: Fingerprinting/Background Check Requirements
Take the appropriate steps to acquire an accurate fingerprint record and submit it to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). Your fingerprint records will be used in a nation-wide background/criminal history check.
Once your initial certification fee is paid, through your TEAL account, you will then be prompted to start the fingerprint process by paying for the background check. The required fee for fingerprint/ background checks for in-state residents is $50.25. Once the background fee has been payed through the Educator Certification Online System, you will receive an email from IdentoGo to schedule your fingerprinting appointment. At this point, you will be required to pay an additional $10 to MorphoTrust/IdentoGo.
Out of state residents applying for certification in Texas are permitted to use a MorphoTrust/Identogo facility in their own state. They are also required to select the electronic submission option and submit payment before receiving an email to schedule an appointment. The fee for out-of-state applicants is $50.25, plus an additional $49.95 to MorphoTrust/IdentoGo at the time of fingerprint scheduling.
Both out-of-state and out-of-country applicants who do NOT have access to printing through the electronic fingerprint method are allowed to submit traditional ink cards instead. For this, you will need to select the second option through the Educator Certification Online System for the “card” process. After paying the appropriate fee you will receive a fingerprinting packet from the Texas Education Agency and will be expected to fulfill the fingerprint requirements accordingly. The required fees are the same as in-state residents for this option-$50.25, plus a $10 fee to MorphoTrust/IdentoGo at the time of scheduling.
* Please note that any Texas school facility for which you are applying as school counselor has the right to require an electronic submission.
Texas School Counselor Certification Renewal
Your Texas School Counseling certificate must be renewed every five years. This requires an additional 200 hours of continuing professional education (CPE). There is a requirement that at least 80% of your continued education be focused on your specific school counseling role. A smaller percentage of your continued learning can include college/career guidance, drop-out prevention, and financial aid/college application processes.
Look for an email in your educator portal, six months before your initial certificate is about to expire. The email you receive will instruct you on how to renew your school counseling license. It is required in the state of Texas to apply for your renewal online as well as pay the renewal fee online.
Texas School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity
Texas does not automatically certify out-of-state school counselors through reciprocity. However, applicants who are already certified as school counselors in other states are allowed to proceed through a validation and approval process.
Your credentials, such as college transcripts, records of additional education prep, and copies of your certification will need to be submitted and reviewed for acceptance. If you don’t have a classroom educator certificate, you will need to show at least 2 full years of in-class experience that supports your current school counseling certification.
* Please note, there is a non-refundable fee included in the out-of-state applicant process.
After all of your credentials have been reviewed, you will then be notified by email of any additional requirements or testing that will need to be completed in order to be granted a one-year school counseling certificate. This one-year certificate in not renewable.
It may be possible to obtain exemption from required out-of-state testing, but that will depend on the review of your credentials and the final determination of the Texas Education Agency.