Study School Counseling in Oklahoma
Is guiding and nurturing students through their academic, social, and emotional growth your passion? If yes, a career as a school counselor in Oklahoma could be the perfect match for you.
School counselors are instrumental in creating a positive learning atmosphere, assisting students in overcoming obstacles, and setting them up for future success.
This all-inclusive guide will lead you through the essential steps to becoming a certified school counselor in Oklahoma, detailing the educational requirements, certification procedures, and other important information to help you embark on this fulfilling career.
What are the Requirements to Become a School Counselor in Oklahoma?
Traditional School Counselor Certification
Embarking on the journey to become a certified school counselor in Oklahoma involves several crucial steps, ensuring you possess the right education and skills to effectively support students. Here’s a simplified outline of the process:
- Obtain a Master’s Degree: First and foremost, you need to complete a master’s degree in school counseling. This specialized program provides you with the essential knowledge and expertise to effectively guide students in their academic, career, and personal growth.
- Pass a Required Exam: After finishing your master’s program, you have to take and pass one of the approved tests. In Oklahoma, you can choose between the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) in School Counseling (139) or the School Counselor Praxis (5422) exam. These assessments evaluate your understanding of school counseling principles and your readiness for the profession.
- Complete a Background Check: Before obtaining certification, you must pass a background check. This step is vital for ensuring the safety and welfare of the students you will be working with. In Oklahoma, it is mandatory to undergo criminal background checks conducted by both the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- Obtain a University Endorsement: Finally, you need to secure a recommendation from the university where you completed your master’s degree in school counseling. This endorsement verifies that you have met the necessary academic requirements and are ready to become a certified school counselor.
Alternative School Counselor Certification
For an alternative certification as a school counselor in Oklahoma, you need to follow this two-step process:
First, you need to meet one of these criteria:
- Possess a master’s degree in a field related to school counseling.
- Have a master’s degree alongside at least two years of experience in a field related to counseling.
Then, you must fulfill one of these conditions:
- Complete 30 or more graduate credit hours in subjects related to counseling.
- Finish 15 or more graduate credit hours in subjects related to counseling and have one year of experience in a counseling-related field.
- Gain three or more years of experience in a field related to counseling.
Furthermore, you will need to:
- Obtain a passing score on one of these exams: either the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) in School Counseling (139) or the School Counselor Praxis (5422).
- Undergo a background check for the certification process.
- Complete two college credit courses (six credit hours) within three years, focusing on aspects of a comprehensive school counseling program, such as data-driven decision-making, addressing achievement and opportunity gaps, adhering to school counseling ethical standards, and enhancing student achievement, attendance, and discipline, or take equivalent approved courses.
Emergency School Counselor Certification
The Oklahoma State Board of Education holds the authority to issue an emergency certificate if necessary. However, a school district must first demonstrate significant efforts to hire a teacher who has a valid, non-emergency certificate. If they are unable to find a qualified candidate, the district should then attempt to employ someone who has a non-emergency certificate in another subject area but possesses a related academic background in the area of need.
Only after exhausting these options and not finding any suitable candidates can the district ask to hire a person who fulfills the minimum criteria established by the Board to obtain an emergency certificate.
How Long Does It Take to Become a School Counselor in Oklahoma?
The duration to become a school counselor in Oklahoma can vary based on several factors, like your education and the particular certification prerequisites you must meet. Generally, the process involves these steps:
- Earning a bachelor’s degree (usually 4 years) – This is often the initial step in becoming a school counselor. Although the degree doesn’t need to be in a specific field, having a background in psychology, education, or a similar area is beneficial.
- Finishing a master’s degree in school counseling or a comparable field (about 2-3 years) – For certification as a school counselor, Oklahoma mandates a master’s degree in school counseling or a closely related area. Some programs provide accelerated options, which can reduce this time frame.
- Obtaining work experience (1-3 years) – Based on the alternative certification requirements, you might need one to three years of counseling-related work experience to qualify for certification.
- Passing the necessary exams – To become a school counselor in Oklahoma, you must pass either the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) in School Counseling (139) or the School Counselor Praxis (5422) exam.
- Meeting additional certification requirements – This could include completing background checks and specific college credit courses or professional development, depending on the certification path you select.
In short, the process of becoming a school counselor in Oklahoma typically takes around 6 to 10 years, factoring in the time for earning a bachelor’s degree, completing a master’s program, acquiring work experience, and meeting the other certification requirements.
Can I Become a School Counselor in Oklahoma With a Bachelor’s Degree?
No, you need at least a master’s degree in school counseling to be eligible for a school counselor certificate in Oklahoma.
What is the Scope of Practice for School Counselors in Oklahoma?
The role of school counselors in Oklahoma encompasses various tasks and responsibilities aimed at helping students in their academic, social, emotional, and career growth. As an Oklahoma school counselor, your duties may involve:
- Offering one-on-one and group counseling – School counselors in Oklahoma assist students with personal, social, or emotional challenges that could affect their academic achievement and overall well-being.
- Creating and executing comprehensive counseling programs – These initiatives are designed to meet students’ academic, career, and personal/social development needs.
- Guiding students in career and college preparation – School counselors in Oklahoma help students explore career paths, understand college prerequisites, and discover scholarships or financial aid opportunities.
- Teaming up with teachers, parents, and administrators – School counselors collaborate with other school personnel and family members to establish a nurturing environment for students, recognize potential issues, and devise intervention approaches.
- Leading classroom guidance activities – Through presentations and workshops, Oklahoma school counselors educate students on topics such as effective study habits, bullying prevention, and resolving conflicts.
- Recognizing and addressing obstacles to learning – School counselors identify factors that may be hindering students from reaching their full potential, like learning disabilities or mental health concerns, and work on developing plans to address these challenges.
- Taking part in crisis intervention – During emergencies or critical situations, school counselors provide support and resources to students, families, and staff.
- Championing students’ needs – School counselors advocate for the needs and interests of all students, ensuring they have equal access to opportunities and resources for academic and personal success.
- Engaging in professional growth – To stay current on best practices and new developments in the field, school counselors participate in ongoing training, workshops, and conferences.
How Much Does a School Counselor Make in Oklahoma?
As of May 2023, the average salary for school counselors in Oklahoma is $55,774 per year, with top earner making over $75,000 per year.
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