School counselors offer essential services to American learners on matters career choices and stress management. These professionals work in local, private, and state elementary and secondary learning institutions. Counselors interact directly with learners and educators via one-on-one connections. The situation offers an excellent condition for the professionals’ work (“Florida School Counselor Certification,” 2022). School counselors mainly work by helping students realize a balance between life and learning. For example, the specialists work with students to establish future goals, manage stress, avoid or end dependence on drugs, and resolve other issues affecting the learners’ daily lives. Moreover, school counselors teach students, staff, and faculty members about drug abuse, time management, careers, and bullying.
There are two academic certification criteria for school counselors; plan 1 and 2. Plan 1 requires a master’s degree or advanced, with a graduate major in guidance and counseling or a graduate major in school counseling (“Florida School Counselor Certification”, 2022). On the other hand, Plan 2 requires a master’s grade or higher, with a graduate major in counseling, save for guidance and counseling or school counseling. The second plan also requires at least nine semester hours of graduate credit in career planning, student evaluation, and appraisal methods, among others.
Master’s Degree in Counseling
University of West Alabama, Capella University, and Grand Canyon University are examples of higher learning institutions in Florida offering Master’s degrees related to counseling. The institutions provide several options for learners to consider based on their commitments and learning plans. Online, on-campus, and hybrid training options are all possible in different colleges. The online degree program takes care of the working group and fellows with daytime engagements. Online learning offers significant schedule flexibility and involves leaser cost relative to the on-campus courses. However, on-campus plans provide a face-to-face experience that many individuals prefer (“Florida School Counselor Certification,” 2022). Critical skills for the school counselors include learners’ guidance on career routes and career and life decision-making.
Criminal Background Check
Criminal background check is the second certification requirement for anyone intended to become a school counselor in the state. The investigation looks for the applicant’s integrity and connection with criminal deeds. The applicant conducts the checks with the aid of the potential employer. The examinations use the candidate’s fingerprints, while the process occurs online. Integrity report goes to both the applicant and the potential employer to ensure trustworthiness and transparency. Undertaking the criminal background checks with the potential hirer also aids in the quick generation of the necessary Florida Professional Certificate (“Florida School Counselor Certification”, 2022). The professional certificate is unique for every professional school counselor in Florida.
The certification process involves several tests that one must pass to qualify. There are at least six examinations that an applicant must excel, on top of the university tests, to become a certified school counselor in the State of Florida. For example, the Florida Department of Education offers a written exam, where the applicant writes and submits answers for marking. The test has a specific pass mark, where failing to attain it leads to automatic disqualification (“Florida School Counselor Certification”, 2022). The state’s education department test follows after an applicant’s submission of a certification request to the Bureau of Education Certification. The Florida Teacher Certification Test for School Counselors (FTCE) follows, which the applicant must pass.
Organization of Application Material
Florida’s Bureau of Educator Certification is in charge of reviewing all the necessary documents for an applicant’s certification. The agency consists of specialists who undertake the reviewing job to determine eligibility for the state’s certificate. Eligible candidates receive the official statement of eligibility (SOE) from the agency via the registered email accounts. The SOE indicates that an individual qualifies for the school counselor certification (“Florida School Counselor Certification”, 2022). The failure to receive SOE implies one’s inability to receive certification by Florida. The SOE’s validity is three years, meaning that an applicant failing to proceed with the certification process within the period will have to repeat the eligibility check process when seeking the certificate next time. The SOE also lists other requirements to complete for successful certification.
Knowing the application fee and having the finances to settle the amount is also necessary to become a certified school counselor in Florida. The school counselor licensing process involves application fee payment, which occurs online via the Florida Department of Education portal. The fee must be provided with the filled application packet to facilitate the certification process. There exist different ways that an applicant can settle the application fee requirement. The portal supports payments using MasterCard, credit or debit cards, and Visa. Application submission is also possible via the U.S. Postal Services, creating a room for payments through personal check, money order, or cashier’s check.
The State of Florida requires all its educators and school counselors to renew their professional certificates every five years. Certified counselors thus acquire the license renewal form before the end of five years period for filling and submission to the renewing board. A certificate renewal fee of seventy-five dollars is also necessary for the process to go through (“Florida School Counselor Certification”, 2022). Furthermore, Florida sets several requirements that a school counselor must satisfy for the certificate renewal. Examples of such necessities include filling out the continuing education form showing the education pathway assumed by the applicant during the ending certification duration. Undertaking online courses and attaining six college acknowledgments, with one credit in teaching learners with disabilities, constitutes a vital continuing education path for a counselor.
School Counselor Certification through Reciprocity
The State of Florida allows school counselors certified in other states or American territories to become members of the state’s school counselor. That happens through the reciprocity certification approach (“Florida School Counselor Certification”, 2022). A school counselor licensed in another state makes an online application to the Florida Bureau of Educator Certification for consideration. The applicant provides copies of all necessary documents, including the other territories’ licenses and available endorsement notes. The counselor also provides information about counseling experience in school or professional settings for consideration. An application fee of seventy-five dollars is further necessary with the application documents. Counselors seeking the reciprocity certification have several ways to pay the application fee. The issued license is due for renewal after five years.
Several issues in the school counselor licensing process in Florida require amendments. The first such issue concerns the license process’s significant bottlenecks. The process is lengthy and discouraging to the minorities or persons living in remote areas with poor connectivity. Moreover, the duration between initial application and the receipt of professional license is substantially lengthy, taking a week or more. The cost involving the school counselor’s license application in Florida is also high. Many people progressing from graduate courses in the U.S. have hefty education loans to pay and often lack stable financial sources (Scott & Bloom, 2022). The matter bars many talented counselors from offering their services to the psychologically needy American learners.
Florida school counselor certification. (2022). School counselor / guidance counselor career information. Web.
Scott, R. H., & Bloom, S. (2022). Student loan debt and first-time home buying in USA. International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, 15(1), 80–93. Web.