School Counselor First Time Applicant
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<< ESA Certification Main Page << First Time Applicant

School Counselor



For the Residency First Issue Certificate

This application is for people seeking their first tier certification for the school counselor role.

  • Master's degree in counseling. Must submit official transcripts showing degree
  • Completion of any state's approved program leading to certification for the school counselor role Form 4098E
    Three years of out of state experience in the school counselor role Form 4020F-1
  • Completion of a comprehensive exam relevant to the role
  • Submission of fingerprints for a background check is required, if a valid certificate is not already on record

EXAM NOTE: Applicant must have successfully completed a comprehensive examination of the knowledge included in the course work for the required master's degree in counseling OR the National Counselor Examination (NCE) of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Provided, that if any candidate has been awarded a master's degree without a comprehensive examination, the candidate, as a condition for certification, shall successfully complete the Praxis II specialty area test (code 5421) in guidance and counseling, administered by the Educational Testing Service. The minimum passing score is 156. (Prior to 1/17/2013, this was test code 0420 with a passing score of 600. Prior to 9/1/2014, this was test code 0421 with a passing score of 156.)

DEGREE NOTE: It is not necessary for an applicant who holds a master's degree or doctorate in another field to obtain the specified master's in counseling degree, if he or she has completed all course work requirements relevant to the required master's degree. Applicants who meet these standards must submit verification of such from the head of the school counseling department, or registrar's office of the college or university. The OSPI Certification Office is not authorized to perform transcript evaluations.

For the Professional Certificate

This application is for people seeking the second tier certification for the school counselor role.

  • Must meet all requirements for a Residency Educational Staff Associate (ESA) First Issue Certificate
  • Hold a school counselor certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
  • Must attest to completion of an issues of abuse course for more information see WAC 181-79A-030(9). This course MUST be entered into the ‘PD Hours’ section of your E-Certification account prior to applying
  • Must attest to completion of a suicide prevention training approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) in the state of Washington within the five years previous to application. Form 4020S

NOTE: National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) certification can be used to satisfy the comprehensive exam requirement, however it does not fulfill program requirements for the Professional ESA Certificate.

ISSUES OF ABUSE COURSE NOTE: The issues of abuse course or course work must include information related to identification of physical, emotional, sexual, and substance abuse; the impact on learning and behavior; the responsibilities of an educational staff associate to report abuse or to provide assistance to victimized children; and methods of teaching about abuse and its prevention.

NATIONAL BOARDS NOTE: Professional ESA school counselor certificates issued on the basis of holding a valid National Boards School Counselor Certificate will have a validity of five years or the validity of the National Boards certificate, whichever is greater.


If you have all necessary documentation to apply for this certificate, login to: E-Certification

*IMPORTANT: Please note that application fees are NOT refundable. Ensure that you select and submit the correct application. If you have questions regarding your application, please contact our office.

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   Updated 3/8/2018

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