Study School Counseling in Texas
Texas has one of the most promising education systems in the U.S., with many different opportunities for those who are passionate about counseling and want to start a career in the field of school counseling.
In recent years, school counseling has gained significant attention, largely because educators recognize the important role it plays in the mental health and well-being of students.
School counselors work hand in hand with teachers to help students and support their academic journey while addressing the psychological, emotional, and social concerns they may be struggling with.
In Texas, you must meet specific requirements to become a school counselor. This article provides an overview of what you will need if you want to pursue this fulfilling and rewarding career in the state.
What are the Requirements to Become a Licensed School Counselor in Texas?
The first educational requirement to become a school counselor in Texas is a 48-hour master’s degree in counseling or a related field such as education or psychology. This degree should be from an accredited college or university recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
Once you have this degree, you will need to complete a school counselor preparation program. The requirements to complete this program include a minimum of 48 semester credit hours and homework.
School Counselor Preparation Program
The School Counselor Preparation Program in Texas must be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
This program is based on coursework in areas such as counseling theories and techniques, assessment and evaluation, social and cultural foundations, group counseling, career development, professional ethics and legal issues, and research and program evaluation.
In addition, all students must complete an internship in a real school setting. This helps them practice their knowledge with students and prepares them for the real work they will do once they become school counselors.
Those who wish to become school counselors in Texas must have at least two years of hands-on classroom experience.
You may also qualify for certification if you have two years of experience in a related field, such as psychology or guidance counseling. The experience requirement should be verified by a supervisor or school administrator.
School Counselor Examination – TExES #152
The School Counselor Examination – TExES #152 is designed to assess the skills and knowledge of those who wish to become certified school counselors in Texas. It consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and is administered online.
This exam is divided into five distinct sections.
- First, there’s an assessment of your knowledge of student development and learning. This section includes questions about learning theories, human development, and other factors that influence student learning.
- The second section assesses knowledge related to the school counseling program, such as its development and implementation. It also addresses ethical and legal issues related to school counseling.
- The third section deals with the impact of diversity on students’ lives. It assesses knowledge of strategies to promote diversity and equity in schools and how it affects student success.
- The fourth domain assesses knowledge about collaborating with other professionals and family and community members to support students’ schooling and success.
- The final domain addresses data-driven practices to improve counseling services and promote the best outcome for each student.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires a background check for all applicants to become school counselors in the state. This background check is conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and is designed to rule out any criminal history that would disqualify them from working with minors or students in general.
First, the applicant must submit fingerprints to a fingerprinting service provider or local law enforcement agency. The results are then sent to the Department of Public Safety, which is responsible for checking any state or national records.
Applicants must also disclose any convictions for crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, burglary, drug possession, or driving under the influence. They must provide documentation and explain the circumstances surrounding the offense in order for the TEA to determine whether or not the applicant is eligible for school counselor certification.
School Counselor Certification Renewal Requirements in Texas
School counselor certification is valid for 5 years and must be renewed through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). All counselors who wish to renew their certification must meet certain requirements, such as 200 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) during the previous five years.
School counselors must complete 50 hours or more of CPE that trains them to assist students with graduation plans, implement strategies for students who want to drop out of school, and inform students about career opportunities as well as college admissions, financial aid, and application procedures.
These CPE hours must also include counseling students regarding substance abuse, mental health conditions, suicide prevention strategies, and crisis management.
Other professional activities that may count toward certificate renewal include participation in workshops, seminars, conferences, or online activities offered by an approved provider.
All school counselors who wish to renew their certificate must undergo a background and criminal history check conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
These professionals must also complete a one-hour study of the Texas Educator Code of Ethics and submit the online application found in the TEA’s Educator Certification Online System, as well as the required fees.
How Long Does It Take to Become a School Counselor in Texas?
The average time that it takes to become a school counselor in Texas, after completing a bachelor’s degree, ranges between three to five years or more, depending on the unique circumstances and availability of each student.
As mentioned above, to become a school counselor in Texas, you must first study for a master’s degree in counseling or a related field and then complete the school counselor preparation program, meet the experience requirements of two years of field experience, and pass the School Counselor Examination – TExES #152.
In addition, all candidates must undergo the background check requirements and wait for the results, which doesn’t take long, but it does add up.
A master’s degree in counseling takes about two or three years to complete, depending on the student’s availability (full-time or part-time). The school counselor preparation program takes another year or two to complete, again depending on the student’s availability.
Once this program is completed, the applicant must study to pass the School Counselor Examination – TExES #152, which can take several months. If the student doesn’t pass the exam, they can take it again, but this will add more time to the whole process.
After passing this test, it’s time for the applicant to submit documentation of two years of experience supervised by a school administrator and undergo the background check. This can take several weeks or months to complete.
Can You Be a School Counselor With a Bachelor’s Degree in Texas?
No, all aspiring school counselors must have a master’s degree from an accredited college or university.
Can You Be a School Counselor in Texas Without a License?
You can’t be a school counselor in Texas without a school counselor certification or license. All candidates must be certified in Texas before they can work in a school setting.
Without this certification or license, professionals can’t provide personal or social counseling to students in a school setting. Therefore, it’s important for all candidates interested in this fulfilling career to become well-informed about the education and experience requirements to provide quality services to students.
What is the Role of School Counselors in Texas?
The role of school counselors in Texas and across the country is diverse and important. They are responsible for providing guidance and support to all students during their academic journey, as well as emotional and psychological help when needed.
School counselors work hand in hand with teachers, school administrators, and parents to help students reach their full potential. They accomplish this goal by fostering a positive environment in which students can develop their unique skills and overcome challenges with a positive attitude.
There are many specific responsibilities that school counselors in Texas must fulfill. First, they must work with students and guide them through their academic journey by helping them set academic goals, choose courses that match their interests and abilities, and develop time management and study strategies.
At the same time, school counselors should provide information about career options to help students make informed decisions. This includes teaching about college admission requirements, job search strategies, and financial aid information.
School counselors also help students cope with personal and social challenges, such as family problems, bullying, anxiety, or depression. These professionals are also responsible for supporting students and staff in times of crisis, providing counseling, and assisting in emergencies.
What are the Career Opportunities for School Counselors in Texas?
School counselors in Texas have a wide range of career options. The most common is to work in a public school, where they work with students to guide them in their academic journey as well as offer support with their personal or social challenges.
However, school counselors can also work in a private school and perform the same role of guiding students in their academic journey.
Another exciting career opportunity for school counselors in Texas is working in collegiate counseling centers. This job involves providing academic guidance and support to college students.
A career option that satisfies the most humanitarian and socially oriented school counselors in Texas is community agency counseling. They provide counseling services in social service organizations or mental health clinics to help people of all ages and backgrounds.
A school counselor certificate can also allow these professionals to become educational consultants, where they can provide counseling services and valuable information to families on academic and collegiate issues.