Virginia School Counselor Certification

To acquire school counseling certification in the state of Virginia, candidates must apply for a Pupil Personnel Services License. Once obtained, the license is good for 5 years. This particular license does not require applicants to have teaching experience unless their college or university program requires it for endorsement.

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Initial Virginia School Counselor Certification

Here are the steps you can take to obtain initial certification in Virginia:

Step One: Education Requirements

There are two options for educational requirements in Virginia.

  • Option One: Earn a master’s degree from an approved school counseling program such as the following programs:
  • Option Two: Obtain a master’s degree from an approved, accredited college/university plus receive certification through a school counselor program including required course work and experience related to the field.

* Please note: Candidates who did not receive their school counseling education within the United States may still have their credentials evaluated by an agency listed on their foreign institute document. This evaluation must include proof that the applicant’s degree is equivalent to a school counseling master’s degree accredited in the U.S. All credit hours and defined courses must be listed in the evaluation to be considered.

Step Two: Experience Requirements

  • Option One: Complete 100 or more hours of counseling experience in the K-6 grade levels, as well as 100 or more hours in the secondary 7-12 grade levels.
  • Option Two: Show teaching experience for at least two full years as a teacher or guidance counselor.

* Please note: Two years of experience in the school counseling field under a provisional license will also suffice for the experience requirements.

Step Three: Additional Training Requirements

All applicants must receive training in Child Abuse, Neglect Recognition and Intervention. Verification of completed training is required with every application packet. Curriculum must adhere to the Virginia Board of Education model. This process can be completed under the “Required Training Courses” tab.

Completion of a comprehensive Emergency Training/CPR/AED and First Aid program is mandatory for all applicants. This must be achieved through a nation-wide program such as the American Heart Association or American Red Cross for acceptance.

Sufficient training is also required in the area of Dyslexia Awareness. Proof of training will be required for every applicant. A no-cost module for this training is available through the Virginia Dept. of Education.

State mandatory training is required in the areas of mental/behavioral health. This includes recognition of vulnerability for depression, addiction, suicide, and other adverse behavioral issues. More information about this training can be found here.

Step Four: Organizing Your Application Documentation

  • Complete and sign all pages of the application. Your social security number must be included to proceed with the application process. Failure to provide your SSN will result in a rejected application.
  • Expect a fee of $100 for in-state applicants, and a $150 fee for out-of-state applicants. This fee can be paid via a money order, certified check, personal check, or a cashier’s check. Please make checks payable to the “Treasurer of Virginia.”
  • Obtain a completed College Verification Form from your approved and accredited institution. This must be officially filled out by the certification officer of your college/university. The Internship Verification Form must also be filled out by an official from the approved internship program where you completed your practicum hours.
  • Include a report signifying required experience hours filled out and signed by a school official where your experience hours were completed.
  • Acquire copies of test scores for any Virginia examinations that were taken. For more information, check out the examination information on the Virginia Licensure website.
  • Gather and submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities. It is preferred that transcripts are NOT sent from the educational institution to the Virginia office. Instead, it is required that all applicants acquire said transcripts and include them with their application packet.
  • If applicable, please include a copy of your out-of-state license along with supportive documentation.
  • Retrieve all additional training forms mandatory by the state of Virginia, including proof of sufficient training in Child Abuse/Neglect Intervention, Emergency Training, Dyslexia Awareness, and Mental/Behavioral Health.

* Please note: No fingerprinting or background checks are required in Virginia prior to applying for certification.

Step Five: Mailing Your Application

All applicable forms, documentation, and license application must be gathered and sent in ONE packet. Please mail your packet to:

Virginia Dept. of Education, Division of Education and Licensure
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120

Virginia School Counselor Certification Renewal

All renewal applications must be submitted after January 1st of the expiration year and must include 180 additional professional development points which prove personal growth in the school counseling profession. Adequate training in all mandatory areas must also be included in the renewal process. More details from the Virginia License Renewal Manual can be accessed here.

Virginia School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Out-of-state applicants who have acquired a valid school counseling license and who would like to apply for certification in Virginia are required to file their application through the Virginia Dept. of Education. You will need to fill out all pages of the application and include all official transcripts/documents into one packet.

* Please note: No professional teaching assessment of your license will be required, so long as your state license is fully accredited without deficiency.

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