Texas - School Counseling Staff Qualifications: Staff Qualifications and Professional Development

Area: 
Staff Qualifications And Professional Development
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute
Summary: 

State laws recommends minimum certification standards that include advanced coursework and graduate degree requirements for counselors and completion of a practicum or internship.

Texas Administrative Code 19 239.15 Standards required for the School Counselor Certificate

(a) School Counselor Certificate Standards. The knowledge and skills identified in this section must be used by an educator preparation program in the development of curricula and coursework and by the State Board for Educator Certification as the basis for developing the examination required to obtain the School Counselor Certificate. The standards also serve as the foundation for the professional growth plan and continuing professional education activities required by § 239.25 of this title (relating to Requirements to Renew the Standard School Counselor Certificate).

(b) Standard I. Learner-Centered Knowledge: The certified school counselor has a broad knowledge base. The certified school counselor must know and understand:

  • (1) the history and philosophy of counseling;

  • (2) counseling and consultation theories and practices;

  • (3) career development theories and practices;

  • (4) the roles and responsibilities of a comprehensive school counseling program that emphasizes college and career readiness and postsecondary options for all students, including college admissions, college financial aid resources, application procedures, and workforce and career opportunities;

  • (5) assessment principles and procedures, including the appropriate use of tests, test interpretation, and test results;

  • (6) changing societal trends, including demographic, economic, and technological tendencies, and their relevance to school counseling;

  • (7) environmental, social, and cultural factors that affect learners' development and the relevance of those factors to educational, career, personal, and social development, along with comprehensive school counseling programs;

  • (8) learners' developmental characteristics and needs and their relevance to educational and career choices;

  • (9) legal and ethical standards, practices, and issues and the importance of commitment to and implementation of ethical principles;

  • (10) the characteristics and educational needs of special populations;

  • (11) techniques and behavioral interventions to assist teachers with classroom management;

  • (12) the integration of a school counseling program, the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards, and academic curricula;

  • (13) the roles and responsibilities of a comprehensive school counseling program that is responsive to all students;

  • (14) counseling-related research techniques and practices;

  • (15) developing and teaching best practices on leadership skills;

  • (16) how cultural factors and group membership impact individual students;

  • (17) the comprehensive school counseling program model;

  • (18) how to utilize various forms of technology and how inappropriate use could be professionally and personally harmful; and

  • (19) an understanding of systems, including family dynamics and school environments.

(c) Standard II. Learner-Centered Skills: The certified school counselor applies the knowledge base to promote the educational, personal, social, and career development of the learner as outlined in The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs. The certified school counselor must:

  • (1) develop processes and procedures for planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs;
  • (2) provide a proactive, comprehensive, developmental school counseling program based on the needs of students, as set forth in The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs;
  • (3) counsel individuals and small groups using appropriate counseling theories and techniques in response to students' needs;
  • (4) consult with parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and other individuals as appropriate to enhance his or her work with students;
  • (5) coordinate resources, referrals, and follow-up procedures for students within the school and community;
  • (6) demonstrate proficiency in teaching small and large groups by actively engaging students in the learning process;
  • (7) participate in the selection, use, and interpretation of assessments and assessment results;
  • (8) use multiple sets of information and data to make decisions about students, programs, and services;
  • (9) use counseling-related research techniques and evidence-based practices to address student needs;
  • (10) advocate for a comprehensive school counseling program that is responsive to all students;
  • (11) facilitate learners' ability to achieve their potential by helping them set and attain challenging educational, career, personal, and social goals based on various types of information;
  • (12) maintain proficiency in counseling and campus-related technology; and
  • (13) use varied sources of information, resources, and practices to counsel students about postsecondary opportunities and college and career readiness.

(d) Standard III. Learner-Centered Process: The certified school counselor participates in the development, monitoring, revision, and evaluation of a campus based on The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs that promotes learners' knowledge, skills, motivation, and personal growth. The certified school counselor must:

  • (1) collaborate with others in the school and community to implement a guidance curriculum that promotes learners' development in all domains, including cognitive, social, and emotional areas;
  • (2) facilitate learners' ability to achieve their potential by helping them set and attain challenging educational, career, personal, and social goals based on various types of information;
  • (3) use both preventive and intervening strategies to address the concerns of learners and to help them clarify problems and situations, set goals, explore options, and implement change;
  • (4) implement effective referral procedures to facilitate the use of special programs and services;
  • (5) act as a consultant to help learners achieve success inside and outside of school;
  • (6) advocate for a comprehensive school counseling program and recognize the required time commitment to fully apply the program implementation cycle;
  • (7) create a program mission, goal, and services in alignment with the school mission and campus improvement plan;
  • (8) create and disseminate literature or newsletters to all stakeholders that describe the comprehensive school counseling program and reduce negative stigmas associated with receiving counseling services in a school-based program;
  • (9) establish an advisory council or board with membership of all stakeholders (student, parent, teacher, administrator, community member, other personnel, and support specialists);
  • (10) increase public relations and awareness through community outreach, such as fundraising, grant writing, donations, volunteerism, local businesses, and use of public or guest speakers;
  • (11) provide school-wide professional development and parent workshops throughout the school year;
  • (12) support participation in fair-share responsibilities versus non-counseling related duties;
  • (13) know district, state, and federal initiatives that are to be reflected in a comprehensive school counseling program; and
  • (14) develop practices to promote learners' knowledge about college and career readiness processes necessary to pursue postsecondary opportunities.

(e) Standard IV. Learner-Centered Equity and Excellence for All Learners: The certified school counselor promotes academic success for all learners by acknowledging, respecting, and responding to diversity while building on similarities that bond all people. The certified school counselor must:

  • (1) understand learner differences, including those related to cultural background, gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic levels, academic ability, and learning styles, and know ways to create and maintain a positive school environment that is responsive to all learners;
  • (2) advocate for a school environment in which diversity is acknowledged and respected, resulting in positive interactions across all cultures, genders, ethnicities, and learning styles;
  • (3) facilitate learning and achievement for all students to ensure services that cover an array of exceptionalities, including special populations, by promoting a cooperative, inclusive, purposeful learning environment;
  • (4) take a positive, strength-based approach that builds on commonalities versus differences in all learners;
  • (5) understand how environment and behavior may impact or influence individual learners;
  • (6) ensure equitable access to programs and services for all students;
  • (7) understand how family values, group membership, and culture intersect;
  • (8) acknowledge learners' gifts, strengths, and extracurricular talents when considering programs and services;
  • (9) increase students' awareness and include their voices regarding educational and individualized plans; and
  • (10) ensure equitable access and exposure to postsecondary opportunities and college and career readiness information and resources for students and parents/guardians.

(f) Standard V. Learner-Centered Communications: The certified school counselor, an advocate for all students and the school, demonstrates effective professional and interpersonal communication skills. The certified school counselor must:

  • (1) demonstrate effective communication through oral, written, and nonverbal expression;
  • (2) use knowledge of group dynamics and productive group interaction;
  • (3) support responsive interventions by effectively communicating with parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and community members;
  • (4) facilitate learners' access to community resources;
  • (5) develop and implement strategies for effective internal and external communications;
  • (6) facilitate parent/guardian involvement in their children's education;
  • (7) develop partnerships with parents/guardians, businesses, and other groups in the community to facilitate learning;
  • (8) work effectively as a team member to promote positive change for individuals, groups, and the school community;
  • (9) take a positive, strength-based approach that verbalizes commonalities versus differences in all learners;
  • (10) effectively communicate his or her role and responsibility and counselor identity to all stakeholders to reduce confusion about the duties of a school counselor;
  • (11) adhere to best practices connected to ethical and legal considerations around appropriate use of technology and email, documentation, record keeping, privileged communication, and informed consent process; and
  • (12) facilitate access to and use of school and community information and resources related to postsecondary opportunities and college and career readiness by learners, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and community members.

(g) Standard VI. Learner-Centered Professional Development: The certified school counselor continues professional development, demonstrating a commitment to learn, to improve the profession, and to model professional ethics and personal integrity. The certified school counselor must:

  • (1) use reflection, self-assessment, and interactions with colleagues to promote personal professional development;
  • (2) use counseling-related research techniques and practices as well as technology and other resources to facilitate continued professional growth;
  • (3) strive toward the highest level of professionalism by adhering to and modeling professional, ethical, and legal standards;
  • (4) apply research-based practice to improve the school guidance and counseling program;
  • (5) engage in ongoing professional development to improve the school guidance and counseling program; and
  • (6) engage in continued professional development experiences to learn and apply concepts, skills, and practices related to increasing college and career readiness and promoting postsecondary opportunities and preparation for all learners.

Texas Administrative Code 19 239.20 Requirements for the Issuance of the Standard School Counselor Certificate

To be eligible to receive the standard School Counselor Certificate, a candidate must:

  • (1) successfully complete a school counselor preparation program that meets the requirements of § 239.10 of this title (relating to Preparation Program Requirements) and § 239.15 of this title (relating to Standards Required for the School Counselor Certificate);

  • (2) successfully complete the examination based on the standards identified in § 239.15 of this title;

  • (3) hold, at a minimum, a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education that at the time was accredited or otherwise approved by an accrediting organization recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and

  • (4) have two creditable years of teaching experience as a classroom teacher, as defined in Chapter 153, Subchapter CC, of this title (relating to Commissioner's Rules on Creditable Years of Service) and the Texas Education Code, § 5.001(2).


Texas Statutes Education Code 21.003 Certification Required

(a) A person may not be employed as a teacher, teacher intern or teacher trainee, librarian, educational aide, administrator, educational diagnostician, or school counselor by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit issued as provided by Subchapter B.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, a person may not be employed by a school district as an audiologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, physician, nurse, school psychologist, associate school psychologist, licensed professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, social worker, or speech language pathologist unless the person is licensed by the state agency that licenses that profession and may perform specific services within those professions for a school district only if the person holds the appropriate credential from the appropriate state agency. As long as a person employed by a district before September 1, 2011, to perform marriage and family therapy, as defined by Section <a href="https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/OC/htm/OC.502.htm#502.002>502.002, Occupations Code, is employed by the same district, the person is not required to hold a license as a marriage and family therapist to perform marriage and family therapy with that district.

(c) The commissioner may waive the requirement for certification of a superintendent if requested by a school district as provided by Section < a href="https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.7.htm#7.056">7.056. A person who is not certified as a superintendent may not be employed by a school district as the superintendent before the person has received a waiver of certification from the commissioner. The commissioner may limit the waiver of certification in any manner the commissioner determines is appropriate. A person may be designated to act as a temporary or interim superintendent for a school district, but the district may not employ the person under a contract as superintendent unless the person has been certified or a waiver has been granted.
Source: Texas Legislature

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