Becoming a School Counselor in Michigan
Embarking on the fulfilling journey of becoming a school counselor in Michigan opens up a world of opportunity to make a lasting impact on students’ lives. In the picturesque landscape of Michigan, with its bustling cities and beautiful natural surroundings, you will be uniquely positioned to make a difference in the lives of future generations.
By guiding young minds through their academic, career, and social/emotional development, you will play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of Michiganders.
In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about the necessary training, licensing, and professional development needed to excel as a school counselor in the Michigan.
What are the Requirements to Become a Licensed School Counselor in Michigan?
Preliminary School Counselor Credential (PSCC)
The Preliminary School Counselor Credential (PSCC), which is valid for 3 years and cannot be renewed, acts as a temporary certification for those enrolled in an in-state preparation program aiming to become a school counselor. After obtaining this credential, you can be hired by a Michigan school district as a school counselor while finishing your program.
To be eligible for this credential, you need to complete at least 30 semester credit hours in an in-state school counselor program and pass the School Counselor examination on the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). A Michigan educational institution with approval to prepare individuals for school counseling can recommend you for the Preliminary School Counselor Credential.
You will need to finish any remaining coursework, including practicum or internship, while holding the credential.
School Counselor License (SCL)
Earning a School Counselor License (SCL) is the ultimate step to becoming a fully credentialed school counselor in Michigan.
Once you finish a school counselor program at a recognized Educator Preparation Institution, the in-state university certification officer will assess whether you’re eligible for an SCL.
To be eligible for the SCL, you need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Completing a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate coursework in a recognized school counselor education program;
- Undertaking a 600-hour internship based on an endorsed school counselor program within a school district, supervised by a certified school counselor or a school counselor educator. A minimum of 300 hours must take place in a school environment; and
- Achieving a passing score on the MTTC School Counselor exam.
If you have completed all the necessary requirements of an approved school counselor education program outside of Michigan or meet the requirements mentioned above, you can be evaluated for a School Counselor License (SCL).
As an out-of-state applicant, you might initially receive a Temporary School Counselor License (TSCL) when applying for the SCL.
You will need to submit your application through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS). Before applying, make sure you fulfill one of these two criteria:
- You have completed a master’s degree or higher in a school counselor education program, including an internship in a school setting, at an out-of-state university or an equivalent program; OR
- You have a bachelor’s degree, have successfully worked as a school counselor outside Michigan for five out of the last seven years, and hold a valid school counselor certificate or license issued by another state.
As an out-of-state candidate, once you are evaluated, you will need to take and pass the MTTC School Counselor exam to qualify.
School Counselor License Renewal
As a school counselor with a School Counselor License (SCL) in Michigan, you will need to renew your license every five years, and you can do so indefinitely. You an start the renewal process anytime after January 1 in the year your credential expires.
To renew your license, you will need to complete 50 professional development hours focused on college and career preparation.
- 25 hours on college preparation and selection
- 25 hours on career consultation, with at least 5 hours dedicated to exploring military career options
You can include these 50 hours as part of the required 150 hours of Education-Related Professional Learning for renewal.
Before applying for renewal, make sure you have completed one of the following Education-Related Professional Learning options since your most recent certificate or renewal was issued. You need to record these hours in the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) so the system acknowledges your eligibility:
- 6 semester credit hours suitable for the certificate and endorsement content and grade level from an accredited college or university
- 6 semester hours in a planned study program from an accredited college or university
- 150 Michigan State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) relevant to the certificate and endorsement content and grade level
- 150 hours of Michigan District Provided Professional Development (DPPD) suitable for the certificate and endorsement content and grade level
- A combination of the options listed above
How Long Does It Take to Become a School Counselor in Michigan?
The journey to becoming a school counselor in Michigan varies in duration, depending on your education and specific program requirements. Generally, these are the steps involved:
- Obtaining a bachelor’s degree: This step usually takes around four years, but can be shorter or longer based on factors like part-time enrollment or transfer credits.
- Finishing a master’s degree in school counseling or a related area: Most master’s programs in this field require two to three years to complete, with the exact duration depending on whether you are a full-time or part-time student.
- Acquiring practical experience: As part of your master’s program, you will need to complete a mandatory internship of at least 600 hours, with no fewer than 300 hours in a school environment.
- Successfully passing the MTTC) School Counselor exam: Allocate enough time to prepare and study for this test, as the time needed for preparation varies from person to person.
- Applying for and securing a School Counselor License (SCL): The application and review process can range from several weeks to a few months, depending on the processing time of the Michigan Department of Education.
In short, the entire process of becoming a school counselor in Michigan typically spans six to eight years, which includes earning a bachelor’s degree, completing a master’s degree, gaining hands-on experience, and obtaining the necessary license.
What is the School Counseling Exam for Michigan?
In Michigan, school counselors must pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification – School Counselor (051) examination. You need to earn a score of 220 or higher to pass the exam.
Can I Become a School Counselor in Michigan With a Bachelor’s Degree?
No, you need a master’s degree in school counseling to be eligible for a school counselor license in Michigan.
Do You Need a License to Be a School Counselor in Michigan?
Yes, to work as a school counselor in Michigan, its mandatory to obtain a school counselor license.
What is the Scope of Work for School Counselors in Michigan?
In Michigan, school counselors play a vital role in supporting students’ academic, career, social/emotional development, and overall well-being. They work in various areas, including:
- Academic Development: School counselors help students meet academic requirements, monitor their performance, and provide support for academic success. They also advise on dual enrollment and early/middle college opportunities.
- Career Development: Counselors assist students in creating post-secondary plans, exploring careers, and identifying training and educational opportunities. They facilitate college visits, military exploration, financial aid workshops, and college fairs, and advise on Career and Technical Education opportunities.
- Social/Emotional Development: They provide responsive services like individual, group, and crisis counseling to support students’ emotional well-being, help them develop positive relationships, cope with difficult life circumstances, and connect them with community resources.
- Advocacy and Leadership: School counselors advocate for effective counseling programs and learning environments. They collaborate with teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and the community while continuously learning and growing professionally.
- Program Management and Administration: School counselors use a data-driven approach to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate school counseling programs and services.
- Training and Professional Learning: They participate in ongoing professional development in various areas like college and career readiness, mental health initiatives, and educational technology.
- Partnerships: School counselors collaborate with teachers to design, teach, and assess core curriculum lessons. They also help students develop skills for career and college readiness and provide resources and support for school-wide initiatives and improvement plans.
What is the Job Outlook for School Counselors in Michigan?
The job outlook for school counselors in Michigan is positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for school counselors in the state are expected to increase by 4% from 2021 to 2031.
This growth indicates that there will be a steady demand for qualified school counselors to support students’ academic, career, and social/emotional development in Michigan schools over the next decade.
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