June 7, 2000
SCHOOL COUNSELOR CERTIFICATION
By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst
You asked what qualifications are required to receive a certificate from the State Board of Education (SBE) as a school counselor and whether the state accepts military counseling experience or national counseling certification in lieu of any of its requirements.
State law and regulations require people employed by local and regional boards of education, either as school counselors for pre-K through grade 12 students or to coordinate counseling services within a single school, to hold a state school counselor certificate. Like all other educator certificates, the counselor certificate has three levels: initial, provisional, and professional. Each level has its own qualifications, which are set out in SBE regulations. The regulations have both educational and experience requirements.
State certification regulations also allow the education commissioner or his designee to grant certification to someone who does not have the exact qualifications specified in the regulations if the commissioner considers the applicant's qualifications to be equivalent to those qualifications. The commissioner's or designee's decision to deny a certificate application claiming equivalency is final (Ct. State Agency Regs., § 10-145d-614).
According to Katherine Nicoletti of the State Department of Education, in judging whether military counseling or other counseling qualifications are equivalent to the state requirements for a school counselor, the commissioner looks at whether the applicant has experience with the K-12 age group, experience working in a public school environment, and an understanding of counseling in a public school setting.
INITIAL SCHOOL COUNSELOR CERTIFICATE
For an initial counselor certificate, an applicant must have a professional educator certificate or have or be eligible to hold an initial educator certificate and have either 30 months of successful teaching experience or completed a 10-month, full-time, supervised internship in a pre-K-12 school.
The internship must involve full-time work in a school setting with supplementary seminars or prescribed study supervised by the person's preparing institution. In the internship, the person must counsel students, consult staff and parents, observe and participate substantially in classroom instruction, and be involved in developing curriculum and other professional staff activities. The internship is in addition to the required practicum (see below).
In addition, the applicant must:
1. have a master's degree;
2. have completed as part of or in addition to the degree, at least 30 semester hours of credit in a planned program of school counseling services attested to by an institution approved for preparing such counselors;
3. show evidence from the institution of progressive supervised experiences in counseling and guidance through laboratory and practicum; and
4. have had a 36-clock hour course in special education that includes understanding the growth and development of exceptional children, including handicapped and gifted and talented children and children who may require special education, and methods for identifying, planning for, and working effectively with special-needs children in the regular classroom.
Finally, the applicant must be recommended by the preparing institution. The recommendation must be based on knowledge, skills, and understanding from study or experience in:
1. the principles and philosophy of developmental guidance and counseling;
2. psychological and sociological theory related to children, youth, and families;
3. career development theory and practice;
4. individual and group counseling procedures;
5. pupil personnel services' organizational patterns and relationships to the total school program and community;
6. pupil appraisal and evaluation techniques; and
7. school-based consultation theory and practice (Ct. State Agency Regs., §10-145d-556).
For a provisional certificate, the applicant must meet the requirements for an initial certificate plus one of the following:
1. successfully complete the Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) assessment the SBE makes available and successfully complete 10 months under an initial or interim certificate or durational shortage area permit;
2. complete, within the past 10 years, at least 30 months of successful employment as a school counselor in a public or approved nonpublic school in another state; or
3. have been employed by a board of education under a provisional school counselor certificate for the school year immediately preceding the application (Ct. State Agency Regs., § 10-145d-557).
For a professional certificate, an applicant must:
1. successfully complete 30 months under a provisional or interim certificate and
2. have 45 hours of graduate credit at an approved institution in counseling and related areas, including those required for the initial certificate (see above).
Candidates must also complete additional graduate courses to strengthen the skills and knowledge needed for a provisional certificate including work in related disciplines like psychology, sociology, and special education (Ct. State Agency Regs., § 10-145d-558).