School Counseling (Post-Master Graduate Certificate)

Other Information

Graduate Catalog: CPCFT

  • Admission requirements
  • Program details
  • Course descriptions

Application Deadlines

Department: Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

Graduate Director:
Dr. William Lepkowski

Accreditation Specific to the Program

  • Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

The Profession

School counselors work in K-12 educational settings to assist with the academic, career, personal, and social development of all students. In carrying out their responsibilities, school counselors work with students, parents, teachers, school personnel and community agencies.

Mission Statement

The mission of the School Counseling Program at St. Cloud State University is to educate students in the areas of school counseling, developmental guidance, and related psychological and educational services. In this program, students develop the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to help those they serve achieve their maximum level of independence and functioning. The School Counseling Program embraces a multicultural and developmental philosophy in preparing students to provide counseling and related services in a democratic and pluralistic society. The Program's philosophical framework encompasses enhancing personal growth and development; creating awareness of self in relation to society; developing an identity as a counseling professional and professional school counselor; and providing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work effectively with others.


The job outlook is excellent for school counselors in K-12 educational settings. Counselors will be required each year to replace those leaving the profession due to retirement and new positions are being created to respond to emerging issues in schools. 

Admission Information

  • Admission is competitive and selection is based on an evaluation of all factors. 
  • Applications may be submitted throughout the year. The priority deadline is March 1. 
  • Strong candidates will be invited to interview.
  • Complete a personal interview with representatives of the profession, advanced students in the program and the counseling faculty. An interview is required and is held in mid to late March.
  • For specific interview dates and an appointment, contact the departmental secretary. If attendance at an interview is totally impractical, the graduate director may designate an alternate method. 
  • Admission decisions are made after review of applications and the group interviews are completed. 
  • Applicants can enhance their chance for an admission offer by having all application materials in by the deadline and then demonstrating clear and compelling responses to the interview questions in the group interviews.
  • When considering applicants, careful attention is paid to previous work experience, academic background, scholarship, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills and commitment to the counseling profession as demonstrated through application materials and interview responses.
  • Previous experience working with children and adolescents and previous school experience is heavily weighted in the admission process as well. You are also advised to visit with several school counselors prior to admission to verify that this profession is a good fit for you and to be able to show a genuine interest in the field.
  • If the occasion arises in which we do not have enough applicants to fill spaces after the March 1 deadline, we then conduct a second round of interviews in late spring.
  • Approximately five spaces are reserved for certificate program students.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. 

Length of Post-Master Certificate Program — Measured by Semesters

  • Part or full-time length of program varies by the number of courses needed and the pace the student chooses to pursue. On average, the certificate program takes 2 to 3 years to complete.
  • Course work includes both day and evening classes.

Part-time Student — Certificate Program Requirements

As a department, we understand that many part-time students may prefer to complete their graduate studies while continuing concurrent employment. However, some daytime hours are required in order to complete the program, especially for practicum and internship experiences.

Following admission to graduate studies, all part-time certificate students should consult with their advisor to establish a plan of study that is at a pace necessary to maintain candidacy in the counseling program. 

Required Orientation Program

All new students (both part-time and full-time) must attend the fall semester orientation meeting held early in fall semester. (See the department secretary for details.)


Each new student will be assigned an advisor shortly after they are admitted.

Supervised Counseling Practicum

This experience follows the pre-practicum core courses and provides for the application of theories and techniques to counseling experience. Each student must apply in writing to their program coordinator for placement in a counseling practicum at least nine months before beginning the practicum. Late applications might not be admitted. This may result in delayed internship and graduation.

Supervised Counseling Internship

This experience follows the counseling practicum and is a final capstone experience which will provide counseling experience in a work setting. School counseling certificate students must complete a 600-hour internship. School counseling certificate students must have all courses required for the master's degree except CEEP 654, Guidance for Special Needs and CEEP 672. Family, School and Organizational Partnerships before beginning an internship. The candidate must apply in writing to the internship coordinator by completing an internship placement request form before February 15 for all placements during the following academic year. This means a minimum of seven months before beginning an internship. (See department secretary for details.)

Academic Review and Retention Policy

The School Counseling Program faculty meet regularly to discuss the progress of students in the program. The following elements are reviewed: academic progress and promise; counseling skills acquisition and development; personality traits or personal issues that may be interfering with progress in the program; legal and ethical issues. In the event that there is a faculty concern about a student regarding any of these areas, a faculty member will meet with the student to discuss necessary remediation and steps to take toward improvement or to offer assistance to the student in finding a more suitable field of study. While there was preliminary evaluation of a prospective student's suitability for counseling at the time of admission, evaluation also occurs throughout a student's course of study. During the pre-practicum core, course evaluations are made by faculty as to whether students have developed the skills and personal characteristics necessary to proceed to practicum. During practicum, regular evaluations are made by faculty to determine whether the student is prepared to proceed to internship or whether the practicum experiences needs to be repeated or other assistance is necessary to continue in the program. During the internship, regular assessments are made by the site supervisor documenting the pre-professional progress and readiness for recommendation for graduation and licensure. 

Licensure as a school counselor.

  • Endorsement for the school counselor license is granted only when all licensure requirements are completed.
  • Applications for the school counseling license are processed in the Records & Registration Office in the Administrative Services Building, room 118.
  • The State of Minnesota requires background checks and finger printing for all applicants for school counseling licensure as well as official transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate studies.
  • Both prospective and active students should be advised that certain criminal activities may influence your ability to get licensed in Minnesota and/or other states and may influence a school district’s decision to accept you as an intern or to hire you as an employee.

Endorsement policy

  • Certificate students seeking faculty endorsement or recommendation for professional credentials including certifications and/or licenses must initiate the process by requesting a faculty member to write such an endorsement or recommendation.
  • Department policy stipulates that faculty endorsement is given (a) only on the basis of evidence of demonstrated proficiency; (b) only after the candidate has completed a substantial portion of the program, including supervised practicum and internship experiences at St. Cloud State University; and (c) only for the professional credential for which the candidate has been prepared, including appropriate coursework and specialized practicum and internship placements.
  • A letter of endorsement for eligibility of licensure does not guarantee the granting of a license. The supervisory board granting the license ultimately determines fitness for licensure.

Gainful Employment

Certain undergraduate and graduate certificates at St. Cloud State University prepare students for employment in specific fields and do not result in a degree. Federal law requires publication of data associated with those programs of study, including approximate program costs, program length, and employment statistics. The Minnesota State Colleges and University's (MnSCU) Chancellor's office has provided this report containing the aforementioned information for all required programs.