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Counseling Psychology
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Counseling Psychology
In the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Department

Master of Education > Mental Health Licensure and School Counseling Certification

Mental Health Licensure and School Counseling Certification

Our Ed.M. program provides license- and certification-eligible training for mental health and school counselors. However, we don't grant the licenses themselves -- only state governments can do that. In addition to the information provided below, the website of the American Counseling Association is a good place to learn more about state licensure and certification, and can be located at http://www.counseling.org/Counselors/LicensureAndCert.aspx

Licensure as a Mental Health Counselor

In 2005, Teachers College received approval fromthe State of New Yorkto offer a License-Qualifying Mental Health Counseling program.  Alongwith completion of the coursework outlined below and those required bythe broader Ed.M. program, students can become eligible for licensurewhen they complete 3000 hours of post-master's supervised experience inthe practice of mental health counseling and pass a nationalexamination.

Mental health counselors can work in a variety ofsettings (clinics, schools, hospitals, agencies, human resource units,private practice, etc.) in the delivery of mental health services toclient and client systems.  New York State describesmental health counseling as: 

  • The evaluation, assessment, amelioration, treatment, modification, or adjustment to a disability, problem, or disorder of behavior, character, development, emotion, personality or relationships by the use of verbal or behavioral methods with individuals, couples, families or groups in private practice, group, or organized settings; and
  • The use of assessment instruments and mental health counseling and psychotherapy to identify, evaluate and treat dysfunctions and disorders for purposes of providing appropriate mental health counseling.
Policy and requirements regarding mental health counseling licensure are subject to change, so for the most up-to-date information, students should consult the websites of the state offices that oversee licensing regulations. In New York, that is the NYS Education Department's Office of the Professions at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/mhclic.htm.

Other states that offer licensure for masters-level counselors may have requirements that differ from New York's. Students who plan to apply for licensure in states other than New York are responsible for consulting the regulations in those states in order to supplement our program's coursework where possible.

New York State School Counseling Certification

Students who wish to work as school counselors in New York State must obtain state certification. Students wishing to work in New York City must also obtain New York City licensure. Two certification levels are possible for school counselors in New York: provisional and permanent. You are eligible for a provisional certificate upon completion of the program along with all pre-certification requirements (see the Student Handbook for details), and it is valid for 5 years. During that time, you must obtain two years of practical experience, and afterward, you can apply via the NYSED-TEACH online system for permanent certification (which requires no further maintenance).Please note that requirements are always subject to change as the result of changes in city and state policy. Please do not fail to double-check state and city requirements for yourself to ensure that you have the latest information.

You can find the latest information about what you need to be certified in New York State at the website of the New York State Education Department website at http://eservices.nysed.gov/teach/certhelp/CertRequirementHelp.do

In the search form that you’ll find there, select “Administration and Pupil Personnel Services” in the first pull-down menu, and select “School Counseling” in the second pull-down menu. The Teachers College Ed.M program in Psychological Counseling is a state-approved program. As such, the Office of Teacher Education will assist you in applying for state certification. If you are interested in becoming certified in another state, you may also contact the Office of Teacher Education for more information, and you should investigate that state’s requirements through their state offices.

Master of Education