How To Become A Guidance Counselor In Florida

Last Updated on December 21, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

Have you always known you wanted to work with children? Have a heart for supporting teens and their families? Do you want to make a difference for students as they grow up and enter adulthood? If so, then becoming a guidance counselor in Florida could be the dream job for you. It’s not easy to become a guidance counselor, but if you put in the hard work and take advantage of the many opportunities open to you, the excellent salary and rewarding job are possible.

There are plenty of ways you can learn all about how to become a guidance counselor in Florida schools, how to become a high school guidance counselor in Florida, and so much more. You will also discover related posts on how to be a guidance counselor in Florida, how much does a guidance counselor make in Florida on Collegelearners.

Guidance Counselor Certification Online

Guidance counselors play a critical role at the heart of the academic community. Both in and out of the classroom, they serve their students by helping them discover and achieve their dreams. They help students navigate the challenges of adolescence and ensure that they are prepared for the path ahead. Guide your career in the direction it needs to go with our guide to becoming a guidance counselor in Florida.

This guide covers everything from obtaining your Florida state licensure to the finer details of the job search process. This extensive How To Become a Guidance Counselor In Florida provides many helpful tips, industry insider insights, and things you need to know before you become a guidance counselor in Florida.

Guidance counselors are professionals who work with students, teachers, and parents to help students develop into well-rounded individuals. They provide guidance in various areas such as academics, career development, personal issues, and social skills. In this article, we will discuss how to become a guidance counselor in Florida.

What Is A Guidance Counselor?

A guidance counselor is a professional who helps students deal with various issues that they may face while growing up. They are responsible for providing counseling services to students so that they can achieve their academic goals and reach their fullest potential. Guidance counselors work closely with students’ parents and teachers in order to ensure that each student is able to reach his or her full potential during their high school years.

The primary responsibilities of a guidance counselor include:

Helping students develop positive relationships with others in their community;

Helping students set realistic goals for themselves;

Ensuring that all students have equal opportunities when it comes to education;

Providing counseling services to those who need it most (this includes both academically gifted students as well as those who struggle academically).

florida school counselor certification exam

Counseling encompasses a large field, including school counselors; substance abuse counselors; mental health counselors; and marriage and family therapists. Licensing requirements and certification procedures vary between each of these specializations. The State of Florida Department of Education (DOE) Division of Certification acts as the Florida counselor board for professionals working in schools. The DOE sets guidelines and reviews certification applications from school counselors throughout the state.

After completing a qualifying master’s program, each aspiring guidance counselor must meet a few additional requirements before obtaining certification and starting work, including earning a passing score on the state certification exam for school counselors.

Teacher Certification Requirements

In Florida, a school counselor must also possess a separate teacher certification. This ensures that guidance counselors develop a firm foundation in pedagogy, child development, and the state’s K-12 academic system. Counseling certification candidates without a current, active teaching license in Florida must complete the Professional Education Test and the General Knowledge Test in addition to the counselor certification exam.

Specific teacher certification requirements and procedures vary depending on a candidate’s prior education (e.g., a teacher preparation program vs. unrelated bachelor’s degree). Aspiring school counselors in Florida should review DOE guidelines and work closely with academic advisors throughout their education to chart a course to teacher certification well in advance of graduation.

Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates

Florida’s teacher certification requirements also apply to school counselors from out-of-state. Florida offers two reciprocity routes for individuals who hold active, out-of-state teaching certifications. Acceptable certifications for reciprocity include standard state certifications and licenses issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Guidance counselors moving from a state that does not require them to hold teacher certification must obtain a Florida teaching certification before they can continue their work.

School Counselor Education (MSEd) - Fort Valley State University

How To Become A Guidance Counselor In Florida

Carrying a high school diploma will not earn you a school counseling certification, but it is one step closer. Standing at the beginning of your post-secondary education career, you are going to have many exciting opportunities to explore the field of counseling and education.

We encourage you to put yourself out there and volunteer with the students you are interested in working with as a Florida counselor. You will learn quickly whether a career in education is for you. So, we recommend you take the following steps in order to acquire the formal education you need as well as gain the experience to make the right career decisions.

Step One:

Gather information from schools offering associate degree programs or bachelor degree programs in psychology, counseling or any type of program you are currently interested in. It is not imperative you enroll in a counseling program at this point. The only necessity is that you begin earning your associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

Step Two:

A great way to find out if you are interested in a social service type of career, like school counseling, is to find volunteering organizations who work with children or young adults. The following are links to organizations who can place you in volunteering positions across the state of Florida:

  • Mentoring through the BBBS is a great opportunity to work children, learn about the various issues many counselors must deal with and find out if this kind of work is for you. The following are more BBBS organizations located throughout Florida.
  • BBBS of Northeast Florida
  • BBBS of Florida Tampa Bay
  • BBBS of Central Florida
  • BBBS of Miami, Florida
  • BBBS of Northwest Florida
  • Florida School District Database
    • Use this link to find schools near you as well as each school’s contact information. Contact these schools to find out if there are any volunteer programs you may participate in.

School Counseling is a difficult but incredibly rewarding job for those who like working with students and helping others. We encourage you to begin earning your associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree and explore the field of education.

School Counseling | College of Education

School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

All Florida educators, including school counselors, must renew their certification every five years. To qualify for renewal, candidates must complete a renewal application form, pay an application fee, and complete continuing education requirements. The primary continuing education pathway for renewal involves completing six college credits, with at least one credit in teaching students with disabilities. Other acceptable college credit equivalencies include:

  • 20-60 inservice points at a Florida master inservice program
  • A passing score on a Florida subject area exam, specific to the certification being renewed
  • A valid certificate issued by NBPTS
  • Teaching a college-level course at an acceptable institution


online school counseling programs in Florida

Though they spend a lot of time working with people, K-12 counselors generally receive limited field-specific networking opportunities in the workplace. Joining professional associations and pursuing online resources can significantly enrich a guidance counselor’s professional life.

  • American Counseling Association In addition to membership benefits like access to an online job center and industry publications, the ACA offers a free Knowledge Center for members and non-members alike, featuring articles, webinars, and podcasts.
  • American School Counselor Association: ASCA supports school counselors nationwide in their effort to help students succeed in and out of the classroom. Membership benefits include magazine and journal subscriptions, professional development opportunities, and annual conference access.
  • Confident Counselors: Confident Counselors is a collaborative blog written by school counselors, psychologists, and social workers. Its posts cover topics like professional development tips, personal experiences, and counseling techniques.
  • Florida Counseling Association: FCA is a branch organization of the ACA, supporting counselors and promoting the value of professional counseling in Florida. Membership benefits include local, regional, and state networking; job board access; and professional development opportunities.
  • Florida Department of Education: The Florida DOE serves students, educators, and administrators throughout the state. This department provides educators and counselors with certification information, professional development guides, and funding and support programs.
  • Florida School Counselor Association: As a division of ASCA, the FSCA supports, empowers, and advocates on behalf of Florida school counselors at the state level. Membership benefits include online and in-person networking opportunities, professional development opportunities, and periodicals.
  • The Middle School Counselor: This blog shares counseling techniques and tools with middle schoolers in mind. Topics covered include academic success, career planning, group and individual counseling, and student empowerment.
  • Savvy School Counselor: Created by a school counseling professional with more than two decades of experience, this blog features counseling tips and techniques, relevant book reviews, and issue-specific resources on bullying, public relations, and more.
  • School Counselor Resources: Guided by the values of the ASCA National Model, School Counselor Resources objectively evaluates and describes hundreds of publications and materials each year, making it easy for counselors to purchase the best resources available.
  • YouthLight, Inc.: Founded and operated by school counselors, YouthLight, Inc. develops award-winning educational resources for professionals in the field. Products include books, technology, and hands-on materials, with options available for all K-12 ages and issues.

Requirements to Become a School Counselor in Florida

School counselors play a vital role in the academic, social, and emotional growth of youth. In Florida, the school-counselor-to-student ratio is 1:485. These professionals must work effectively with hundreds of students of varying ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Securing certification as a guidance counselor takes significant investments of time and effort to ensure proper training. In the sections below, we explore how to become a school counselor in Florida. Details include education requirements, experience requirements, and certification procedures for both Florida residents and out-of-state candidates.

School counselors play a vital role in the academic, social, and emotional growth of youth. In Florida, the school-counselor-to-student ratio is 1:485. These professionals must work effectively with hundreds of students of varying ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Securing certification as a guidance counselor takes significant investments of time and effort to ensure proper training.

In the sections below, we explore how to become a school counselor in Florida. Details include education requirements, experience requirements, and certification procedures for both Florida residents and out-of-state candidates.

Understanding the evolution of 'guidance counselor' to 'school counselor' -  Transcript Maker

Education and Experience Requirements

Counselors working in any specialization, including school counseling, must meet rigorous academic and professional standards to practice. The following section details basic Florida counseling certification requirements as they pertain to higher education degrees, coursework content areas, and classroom experience.

Education and Coursework

When exploring how to become a guidance counselor in Florida, the most important step is enrolling in higher education. Each aspiring counselor must begin their journey by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Completing a four-year program proves a student’s ability to succeed academically and fosters the development of foundational knowledge and critical-thinking skills. At the undergraduate level, a future counselor’s choice of academic discipline can be a bit flexible, but many find it beneficial to pursue their degree in education, psychology, counseling, or sociology.

All guidance counselors must complete appropriate master’s degrees before they can pursue certification and start working. Specific program requirements and coursework expectations vary from state to state. To meet Florida requirements, counselors may pursue a master’s in guidance and counseling, counselor education, or another discipline, as long as the program includes at least 30 graduate-level credits in specific content areas. These content areas include:

  • Principles, Philosophy, Organization, and Administration of Guidance
  • Student Appraisal and Administration of Standardized Tests
  • Learning, Personality Theory, and Human Development
  • Counseling Theories and Individual/Group Counseling Techniques
  • Consultation Skills and Techniques for Use with Parents and Teachers
  • Legal, Ethical, and Current Counseling Issues
  • Specialized Counseling Techniques for Special Populations

Practicum and Internship

To qualify for school counselor licensure, a candidate’s graduate degree must meet the above curriculum specifications, along with practicum requirements. Florida requires at least three graduate-level credits of practicum experience involving supervised counseling work in either an elementary or secondary school. This generally requires between 400-600 on-site hours.

FLDOE school counselor certification

The Florida state department of education (FDOE) may very well be one of the most comprehensive sources of information on the internet. The FDOE also has a lot of information about the licensure process for becoming a guidance counselor in Florida.

Where are you on your quest to become a Florida School Counselor?

Explore the information below and learn how you can become a school counselor in Florida. Some of the information below may be subject to change. In order to make sure you have the most current information, please feel free to contact your school counseling education program advisor or contact the Florida Department of Education licensing department at (800) 445-6739.TOP PICKS

Featured Universities with School Counseling Programs

1. New York University (NYU)

NYU Steinhardt’s accredited master of arts program in Counseling and Guidance: School and Bilingual School Counseling. Through this online program, you will gain the skills you need to become a professional Pre-K-12 school counselor, working with children and families in your community to foster academic achievement and success. 

2. University of Denver

Earn a Master’s degree in School Counseling online from the University of Denver. Learn from doctoral-level faculty in live classes and gain experience through mock counseling and in-field training. No GRE required. 

3. USC – Rossier School of Education

Become a professional school counselor in K-12 settings with an online Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling from top-ranked USC Rossier School of Education. Complete in as few as 20 months. 

Why We Need More School Counselors to Be People of Color - The Black  Perspective

Guidance Counselor Certification

The following are the steps necessary for earning your school counseling certification in Florida:

Step One:

Fulfill educational requirements through one of the following avenues:

  • Earn a Master’s degree in School Counseling
    • New York University (NYU) Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance – School Counseling and Bilingual School Counseling – MPCAC Accredited
    • UMass Online (Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling – NEASC and State-Approved program)
    • Or find more school counseling programs in Florida here.

Step Two:

You will need to successfully complete the College Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST), the Professional Education Test and the Subject Test in School Guidance and Counseling.

Step Three:

Complete the online certification application at the following webpage. There will be an application processing fee and you may wish to contact the FLDOE if you have any questions: (800) 445-6739

Step Four:

After your certification application is being processes you will receive an official statement of eligibility for employment. Once you have this statement, you can begin looking for a job. Once hired, you will need to submit fingerprints to be processed by the FDLE and the FBI. Your employer will assist you with completing the fingerprint process.

School Counselor Requirements By State

As long as you have a certification from another state that is currently valid and is comparable with a standard or Level II certification issued by Florida, the Florida Department of Education will issue you a certification for Florida School Counseling after completing a certification application.

You will still need to complete a fingerprinting and background check procedure before stepping into a counseling position; however, this process will be facilitated through your hiring school district.

Get answers to frequently asked Florida certification questions on the following webpage. Scroll down to “Reciprocity” to learn more about obtaining reciprocal certification.

How to Become a School Counselor: Salary, Requirements | Resilient Educator

In conclusion, becoming a guidance counselor in Florida is a great career choice for those who have experience working with children and families. This is because the job requires experience working with children and families.

The state of Florida has many requirements for becoming a guidance counselor, including having an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university; completing an internship; passing the state of Florida’s required tests; and obtaining a state license.

Those who are interested in becoming guidance counselors can start by finding out what their local school district or college has to offer in terms of training programs. They should also contact their local school board or postsecondary institution to find out more about the requirements they must meet prior to applying for a position as a guidance counselor in Florida.

guidance counselor salary florida

As of Aug 17, 2022, the average annual pay for a Guidance Counselor in Florida is $40,805 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $19.62 an hour. This is the equivalent of $784/week or $3,400/month.

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $85,482 and as low as $26,142, the majority of Guidance Counselor salaries currently range between $32,781 (25th percentile) to $51,039 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $62,658 annually in Florida.

The average pay range for a Guidance Counselor varies greatly (as much as $18,258), which suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location and years of experience.

Based on recent job posting activity on ZipRecruiter, the Guidance Counselor job market in Florida is not very active as few companies are currently hiring.

Florida ranks number 48 out of 50 states nationwide for Guidance Counselor salaries.

To estimate the most accurate annual salary range for Guidance Counselor jobs, ZipRecruiter continuously scans its database of millions of active jobs published locally throughout America.

What are Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Guidance Counselor Jobs in Florida

We’ve identified 10 cities where the typical salary for a Guidance Counselor job is above the average in Florida. Topping the list is Bonita Springs, with Broward County and West Palm Beach close behind in second and third. West Palm Beach beats the Florida average by 27.0%, and Bonita Springs furthers that trend with another $12,069 (29.6%) above the $40,805.

With these 10 cities paying on average above the average for Florida, the opportunities for economic advancement by changing locations as a Guidance Counselor appears to be exceedingly fruitful.

Finally, another factor to consider is the average salary for these top 10 cities varies very little at 10% between Bonita Springs and Miami, reinforcing the limited potential for much wage advancement. The possibility of a lower cost of living may be the best factor to use when considering location and salary for a Guidance Counselor role.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Bonita Springs$52,874$4,406$1,016$25.42
Broward County$52,477$4,373$1,009$25.23
West Palm Beach$51,822$4,318$996$24.91
Palm Beach Shores$51,755$4,312$995$24.88
St. Petersburg$49,515$4,126$952$23.81
Miami Beach$49,054$4,087$943$23.58

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Guidance Counselor Jobs in Florida

We found at least 5 jobs related to the Guidance Counselor job category that pay more per year than a typical Guidance Counselor salary in Florida. Top examples of these roles include: Agency Affiliated Counselor, Organizational Counselor, and College Counselor.

Importantly, all of these jobs are paid between $21,869 (53.6%) and $34,712 (85.1%) more than the average Guidance Counselor salary of $40,805. If you’re qualified, getting hired for one of these related Guidance Counselor jobs may help you make more money than that of the average Guidance Counselor position.

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Agency Affiliated Counselor$75,517$6,293$1,452$36.31
Organizational Counselor$68,987$5,748$1,326$33.17
College Counselor$65,809$5,484$1,265$31.64
Virtual Counselor$64,522$5,376$1,240$31.02
Guidance Counseling$62,674$5,222$1,205$30.13

About Our Data

ZipRecruiter salary estimates, histograms, trends and comparisons are derived from both employer job postings and third party data sources.

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