Guidance counselor requirements vary by state, but in general, a bachelor's degree is a requirement in almost all states, followed by a master's degree in counseling education, counselor psychology or a similar program. In addition, a school guidance counselor must be licensed and pass a background check.
A student who wants to become a guidance counselor needs to research the requirements in the state by contacting the Board of Education. For instance, some states require teacher certification for school counselors, while others do not.
Practical, hands-on training is another important part of becoming a guidance counselor. Completing fieldwork or a practicum is a requirement of most educational programs and states. This allows potential counselors to work with current students in real-life situations and gain experience before they find employment.
Licensure for school guidance counselors is a requirement in all 50 states. However, licensing requirements vary. In addition to a background check and educational requirements, some states also require school counselors to pass a comprehensive exam before they can become licensed.
Although additional certifications are not required, earning certifications from the National Board for Certified Counselors by passing exams is an potential way for a school counselor to increase his knowledge and potentially earn a higher salary.