South Carolina Guidance Counselor Certification Requirements


Guidance counselors in South Carolina work in elementary and secondary schools to aid student growth and development. In elementary school, guidance counselors observe students and assess their academic and social needs. Counselors may use standardized tests, one-on-one counseling with students or conferences with parents, teachers and school administration to facilitate progress. In high school, guidance counselors help students make personal, academic and vocational choices. South Carolina has several guidance counselor certification requirements, including a bachelor's and master's degree.

Bachelor's Degree

  • Elementary and secondary school guidance counselors in South Carolina are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Although a preferred major is not specified, students are advised to major in counseling, education, career counseling, family therapy or a related field. South Carolina requires guidance counselors to earn a master's degree as well; students should keep this in mind during their undergraduate tenure. Students should maintain a high GPA and form positive relationships with professors, mentors and advisors in case they need a letter of recommendation to graduate school. Most master's degree programs also require applicants to submit scores from the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) standardized exam.

Master's Degree

  • Although the state of South Carolina certifies guidance counselors with master's degrees in any subject, applicants are advised to complete a graduate degree program in counseling or a similar field. Curriculum should include coursework in counseling and development, multicultural counseling, psychopathology and developmental issues, applied school counseling, group interaction theory and process, psychological assessment, and principles of community counseling and consultation. Students must complete classroom instruction as well as supervised clinical practice.

School Counselor Training Program

  • South Carolina requires guidance counselors to complete a post-master's school counselor training program approved by the South Carolina Board of Education. According to the American School Counselor Association, programs should include the following coursework: human growth and development, theories, individual counseling, group counseling, social and cultural foundations, testing/appraisal, research and program evaluation, professional orientation and career development, as well as supervised practicum and internship.

Praxis Examination

  • South Carolina guidance counselors must sit for portions of the Praxis II teacher assessment examination as a certification prerequisite. Applicants need to earn a score of 165 or better on the section called Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and a minimum score of 550 on the section called School Guidance and Counseling.

Background Check

  • As a final certification requirement, South Carolina guidance counselors must submit their fingerprints and personal information for a state criminal background check performed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, as well as a national criminal background check performed by the FBI.

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