Utah School Counselor Certification

In the state of Utah, there are three certification levels for K-12 school counselors. Every candidate starts at the level one license and can apply for higher level certification only after they’ve fulfilled their initial requirements. It is important to note that there is not an Alternate Route to Licensure (ARL) for school counseling in Utah.

Skip down to find information relevant to your situation:

Initial Utah School Counselor Certification

Here are the specific steps for acquiring an Educator Level One License:

Step 1: Education Requirements

In-state applicants can earn a master’s degree from one of two approved universities-Utah State University or the University of Utah. These are the only two approved and accredited universities that offer school counseling programs in this state. Recommendation for certification from the institution where the school counseling degree was obtained is also required for every applicant.

Out-of-state applicants, or those wishing to attend online programs, must earn a master’s degree from an approved and accredited institution that is recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Program (CACREP), or accepted by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Licensure in that state is required. The following programs are examples of accredited options:

All applicants must complete at least 60 semester hours in earning their master’s or doctorate degree in counselor education or counseling for mental health.

* Please note: Certified transcripts with evidence of successfully completed semester hours must be obtained and presented at the time of application.

Step 2: Experience Requirements

Complete 600 hours of field experience in the areas of professional counseling orientation and ethics, based on the requirement of the American Counseling Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, or National Board of Certified Counselors. Only 400 hours of field experience is required if you’ve had two full years or more of in-class teaching experience that is accepted and licensed by the Utah State Board of Education.

For a breakdown of required experience hours and approved credits, click HERE.

Step 3: Examination Requirements

Complete the PRAXIS exam with a score of at least 164 or higher, as administered by the Educational Testing Services (ETS).

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Step 4: Fingerprinting and Background Check

All background checks must be initiated through the Utah State Board of Education and include fingerprinting through an electronic LiveScan format or card submission format. Once an online fingerprint/background check has been initiated, you will receive an email that includes a LiveScan authorization form. This email should arrive within 24 hours. LiveScan locations will be provided in the authorization form.

* Please note: It will take 20-25 days for your in-state fingerprinting to be cleared.

Out-of-state applicants will submit fingerprints through fingerprint cards by starting the online background check through Educator Licensing Online and selecting “card submission”. A packet of information will be sent to you, and all required fingerprint cards must be submitted within a 60-day window.

* Please note: It can take up to 15 weeks for out-of-state fingerprinting to clear through the Utah State Board of Education. If you have issues or questions regarding your fingerprint/background check, contact Educator Licensing at (801) 538-7740.

Step 5: Organizing Your Materials for Application:

  • Within 24 hours of initiating a fingerprint/background check, register for your Utah Education Network account by visiting this site.
  • Receive a Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS) number in order to proceed in the application process and be able to track your application status.
  • Submit appropriate endorsements if selecting school counseling in secondary education, special needs, or career and technical education licenses.
  • Fulfill the Content Knowledge Assessment by submitting Praxis exam results with a score of 164 or higher.
  • Gather and submit official transcripts either digitally, which will be sent directly from the university to the USBE transcript email, or by obtaining hard copies and including them in your mailed packet.
  • Complete the Verification of Educator Experience form and have it signed by a school official where your teaching experience was fulfilled. Please note: A copy of the school’s accreditation must be included with this form.
  • Include copies of all previous educator licenses.

* For additional information about required forms or documents, contact shawnda.moss@schools.utah.gov.

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Double check that your submission form and all required documents are fully completed and sent to the following address:

USBE Licensing
250 East 500 South
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200

Utah School Counselor Certification Renewal

To renew your school counselor license in Utah, you will need to retrieve your CACTUS ID number. Log in to the Utah Education Network for help finding your license number or resetting your password.

Here is a list of requirements for license renewal:

  • Complete Professional Learning Points and have them documented. For level one counselors, a minimum of 100 points are required to renew.
  • Complete two hours of suicide prevention training through a Local Education Agency (LEA). Please note: This training must be completed within the initial certification cycle, before your license expires.
  • Complete another fingerprinting/background check through the Utah State Board of Education.
  • Fulfill an online USBE ethics review.
  • Meet with a licensed administrator for approval of your Professional Learning Plan and acquire their signature of approval for your school counseling renewal process.

To ensure you are including all essential elements for the renewal process, see this checklist.

Utah School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Utah allows out-of-state applicants to apply for school counselor licensure through reciprocity. If you already hold a school counseling certificate in another state, and have proof that you’ve completed your master’s program through an approved and accredited institution, you are eligible to apply.

For additional direction, here is a detailed checklist for all non-Utah residents.

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