4. School Counselor Preparation Program Standards

Standards for School Counselor Preparation Programs

These standards were approved August 2019 by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.


1.1 The school counselor education program has a publicly available mission statement in alignment with the School of Education in which the program is housed.

  1. Analyze personal, district and state beliefs, assumptions and philosophies about student success, specifically what they should know and be able to do.
  2. Compose a personal beliefs statement about students, families, teachers, school counseling programs and the educational process consistent with the school’s educational philosophy and mission.
  3. Analyze a school’s particular educational beliefs, vision and mission.
  4. Create a school counseling vision statement describing a future world where student outcomes are being successfully achieved, stating the best possible outcomes desired for students that are five to fifteen years away and aligned with the school and district vision.
  5. Create a school counseling mission statement aligned with the school, district and state mission that is specific, concise, clear and comprehensive; emphasizes equity, access and success for every student; and indicates long-range results desired for all students.
  6. Communicate the vision and mission of the school counseling program to all appropriate stakeholders.

1.2 The program has relevant objectives to carry out the mission.

  1. The objectives reflect current knowledge and skills as provided in Standard 2.
  2. The objectives reflect input from all persons involved in the conduct of the program, including program faculty, current and former students, and personnel in cooperating school.
  3. The objectives address student learning.
  4. The objectives are written so they can be evaluated.

1.3 Students actively identify and participate within the counseling profession.

  1. Students participating in professional counseling organizations.
  2. Students participating in seminars, workshops, or other activities that contribute to personal and professional growth.


2.1 Current counseling-related research is infused in the curriculum.

  1. Curriculum reflects evidenced-based theoretical foundation.
  2. Curriculum reflects evidenced-based strategies and techniques.

2.2 Professional Identity and Ethical Practice

  1. History and philosophy of the counseling profession, including significant factors and events;
  2. The multiple professional roles and functions of counselors across specialty areas and their relationships with human service and integrated behavioral health care systems, including interagency and inter-organizational collaboration and consultation.
  3. Counselors’ roles and responsibilities as members of interdisciplinary community outreach and emergency management response teams.
  4. The role and process of the professional counselor advocating on behalf of the profession.
  5. Advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.
  6. Professional organizations, including but not limited to ASCA/American Counselors Association (ACA), Kentucky School Counselors Association (KSCA)/Kentucky Counselors Association (KCA) its divisions, branches, and affiliates, including membership benefits, activities, services to members, and current emphases.
  7. Professional counseling credentialing, including certification, licensure, and accreditation practices and standards, and the effects of public policy on these issues.
  8. Ethical standards of professional counseling organizations and credentialing bodies, and applications of ethical and legal considerations in professional counseling.
  9. Technology’s impact on the counseling profession and how to stay up-to-date with technology needed to enhance productivity/efficiency within the profession.
  10. Strategies for personal and professional self-evaluation and implications for practice.
  11. Self-care strategies appropriate to the counselor role.
  12. The role of counseling supervision in the profession.

2.3 Social and Cultural Diversity

  1. Multicultural and pluralistic characteristics within and among diverse groups nationally and internationally.
  2. Theories and models of multicultural counseling, cultural identity development, and social justice and advocacy.
  3. Multicultural counseling competencies.
  4. The impact of heritage, attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences on an individual’s views of others.
  5. Individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations and ethnic groups;
  6. Counselors’ roles in social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, cultural self-awareness, the nature of biases, prejudices, processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination to the growth of the human spirit, mind, or body.
  7. Strategies for identifying and eliminating barriers, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination.
  8. Apply legal and ethical principles of the school counseling profession.

2.4 Human Growth and Development

  1. Theories of individual and family development across the lifespan.
  2. Theories of learning.
  3. Theories of normal and abnormal personality development.
  4. Theories and etiology of addictions and addictive behaviors.
  5. Biological, neurological, and physiological factors that affect human development, functioning, and behavior.
  6. Systemic and environmental factors that affect human development, functioning, and behavior
  7. Effects of crisis, disasters, and trauma on diverse individuals across the lifespan.
  8. A general framework for understanding differing abilities and strategies for differentiated interventions.
  9. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development and wellness across the lifespan.
  10. Strategies to facilitate school and postsecondary transitions.

2.5 Career Development

  1. Theories and models of career development, counseling, and decision making
  2. Approaches for conceptualizing the interrelationships among and between work, mental well-being, relationships, and other life roles and factors.
  3. Processes for identifying and using career, avocational, educational, occupational and labor market information resources, technology, and information systems.
  4. Assessment instruments and techniques that are relevant to career planning and decision making.
  5. Strategies for assessing abilities, interests, values, personality and other factors that contribute to career development.
  6. Strategies for career development program planning, organization, implementation, administration, and evaluation.
  7. Career counseling processes, techniques, and resources, including those applicable to specific populations.
  8. Strategies for facilitating client skill development for career, educational, life-work planning and management.
  9. Methods of identifying and using assessment tools and techniques relevant to career planning and decision making.
  10. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for addressing career development.

2.6 Counseling and Helping Relationships

  1. Counseling theories that provide the student with a consistent model(s) to conceptualize client presentation and select appropriate counseling interventions. Student experiences should include an examination of the historical development of the counseling theories, an exploration of affective, behavioral, and cognitive theories, and an opportunity to apply the theoretical material to case studies. Students will also be exposed to models of counseling that are consistent with current professional research and practice in the field so that they can begin to develop a personal model of counseling or their theoretical orientation.
  2. A systems perspective that provides an understanding of family and other systems theories and major models of family and related interventions. Students will be exposed to a rationale for selecting family and other systems theories as appropriate modalities for family assessment and counseling.
  3. A general framework for understanding and practicing consultation. Student experiences should include an examination of the historical development of consultation, an exploration of the stages of consultation and the major models of consultation, and an opportunity to apply the theoretical material to case presentations. Students will begin to develop a personal model of consultation.
  4. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for establishing and maintaining in-person and technology-assisted relationships.
  5. Integration of technological strategies and applications within counseling and consultation processes.
  6. Counselor and consultant characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including age, gender, and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors and personal characteristics, orientations, and skills.
  7. Essential interviewing, counseling, and case conceptualization skills.
  8. Developmentally relevant counseling treatment or intervention plans.
  9. Development of measurable outcomes for clients.
  10. Evidence-based counseling strategies and techniques for prevention and intervention.
  11. Strategies to promote client understanding of and access to a variety of community-based resources.
  12. Suicide prevention models and strategies.
  13. Crisis intervention, trauma-informed, and community-based strategies, such as Psychological First Aid, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Trauma-Informed Training and more.
  14. Processes for aiding students in developing a personal model of counseling.

2.7 Group Counseling

  1. Theories of group counseling, including commonalities, distinguishing characteristics, and pertinent research and literature.
  2. Principles of group dynamics, including group process components, developmental stage theories, and groups members’ roles and behaviors.
  3. Therapeutic factors and how they contribute to group effectiveness.
  4. Characteristics and functions of effective group leaders, including characteristics of leadership styles and approaches.
  5. Approaches to group formation, including recruiting, screening, and selecting members.
  6. Approaches used for other types of group work, including task groups, psycho educational groups, and therapy groups.
  7. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for designing and facilitating groups.

2.8 Assessment and Testing

  1. Historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment and testing in counseling.
  2. Methods of effectively preparing for and conducting initial assessment meetings.
  3. Procedures for assessing risk of aggression or danger to others, self-inflicted harm, or suicide.
  4. Procedures for identifying trauma and abuse and for reporting abuse.
  5. Strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques for diagnostic and intervention planning purposes.
  6. Basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing, norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, and group and individual assessments.
  7. Statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations.
  8. Reliability and validity in the use of assessments.
  9. Use of assessments relevant to academic/educational, career, personal, and social development.
  10. Use of environmental assessments and systematic behavioral observations.
  11. Use of symptom checklists, and personality and psychological testing.
  12. Use of assessment results to diagnose developmental, behavioral, and mental disorders.
  13. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and test results.

2.9 Research and Program Evaluation

  1. The importance of research in advancing the counseling profession, including how to critique research to inform counseling practice.
  2. Identification of evidence-based counseling practices.
  3. Needs assessments.
  4. Development of outcome measures for counseling programs.
  5. Evaluation of counseling interventions and programs.
  6. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods.
  7. Designs used in research and program evaluation.
  8. Statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation.
  9. Analysis and use of data in counseling.
  10. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for conducting, interpreting, and reporting the results of research and/or program evaluation.


3.1 The preparation program monitors student performance and progress.

  1. The counselor education program faculty systematically assesses each student’s progress throughout the program by examining student learning in relation to a combination of knowledge and skills. The assessment process includes the following: (1) identification of key performance indicators of student learning in each of the eight core areas within Standard 2 as well as the remaining standards to support the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of comprehensive developmental school counseling programs, (2) measurement of student learning conducted via multiple measures and over multiple points in time, and (3) review or analysis of data.
  2. The counselor education program faculty systematically assesses each student’s professional dispositions throughout the program. The assessment process includes the following: (1) identification of key professional dispositions, (2) measurement of student professional dispositions over multiple points in time, and (3) review or analysis of data.
  3. The counselor education program faculty has a systematic process in place for the use of individual student assessment data in relation to retention, remediation, and dismissal.

3.2 The preparation program monitors the effectiveness of the school counselor education program.

  1. Counselor education programs have a documented, empirically based plan for systematically evaluating the program objectives, including student learning.
  2. For each of the types of data listed in 3.3a, the plan outlines (1) the data that will be collected, (2) a procedure for how and when data will be collected, (3) a method for how data will be reviewed or analyzed, and (4) an explanation for how data will be used for curriculum and program improvement.
  3. Counselor education program faculty provide evidence of the use of program evaluation data to inform program modifications.
  4. Counselor education program faculty disseminate an annual report that includes, by program level, (1) a summary of the program evaluation results, (2) subsequent program modifications, and (3) any other substantial program changes. The report is published on the program website in an easily accessible location, and students currently in the program, program faculty, institutional administrators, and personnel in cooperating agencies (e.g., employers, site supervisors are notified that the report is available.

3.3 The preparation program uses data to recommend changes and adjustments to the program

  1. The counselor education program faculty demonstrate the use of the following to evaluate the program objectives: (1) aggregate student assessment data that address student knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions; (2) demographic and other characteristics of applicants, students, and graduates; and (3) data from systematic follow-up studies of graduates, site supervisors, and employers of program graduates.


4.1 Advocacy for all K-12 students

  1. School counselor roles as leaders, advocates, and systems change agents in K-12 schools.
  2. School counselor roles in consultation with families, K-12 and postsecondary school personnel, and community agencies.
  3. School counselor roles in relation to college and career readiness.

4.2 Advocacy for effective school counseling programs

  1. Competencies to advocate for school counseling roles.
  2. Methods of planning for and presenting school counseling-related educational programs to administrators, teachers, parents, and the community.
  3. Integration of the school counseling program into the total school curriculum by systematically providing information and skills training to assist pre-K-12 students in maximizing their academic, career, and personal/social development.
  4. Promotion of the use of counseling and guidance activities and programs by the total school community to enhance a positive school climate.
  5. Professional organizations, preparation standards, and credentials relevant to the practice of school counseling.
  6. Legislation and government policy relevant to school counseling.
  7. Legal and ethical considerations specific to school counseling.

4.3 Strategies of Leadership designed to enhance the learning environment of K-12 schools

  1. School counselor roles in school leadership and multidisciplinary teams.
  2. Qualities and styles of effective leadership in schools.
  3. School counselor roles and responsibilities in relation to the school emergency management plans, and crises, disasters, and trauma characteristics, risk factors, and warning signs of students at risk for mental health and behavioral disorders.
  4. Common medications that affect learning, behavior, and mood in children and adolescents.
  5. Signs and symptoms of substance abuse in children and adolescents as well as the signs and symptoms of living in a home where substance use occurs.
  6. Coordination, collaboration, referral, and team-building efforts with teachers, parents, support personnel, and community resources to promote program objectives and facilitate successful student development and achievement of all students.
  7. Professional organizations, preparation standards, and credentials relevant to the practice of school counseling.
  8. Legislation and government policy relevant to school counseling.
  9. Legal and ethical considerations specific to school counseling.


5.1 The program must clearly define and measure the outcomes expected of practicum/intern students, using appropriate professional resources that address the Kentucky School Counselor Standards of Practice.

  1. Supervision of practicum and internship students includes program-appropriate audio/video recordings and/or live supervision of students’ interactions with clients.
  2. Formative and summative evaluations of the student’s counseling performance and ability to integrate and apply knowledge are conducted as part of the student’s practicum and internship.
  3. Students have the opportunity to become familiar with a variety of professional activities and resources, including technological resources, during their practicum and internship.
  4. In addition to the development of individual counseling skills, during either the practicum or internship, students must lead or co-lead a counseling or psychoeducational group.
  5. Students complete supervised counseling practicum experiences that total a minimum of 100 clock hours over a full academic term that is a minimum of 10 weeks.
  6. Practicum students complete at least 40 clock hours of direct service with actual clients that contributes to the development of counseling skills.
  7. Practicum students have weekly interaction with supervisors that averages one hour per week of individual and/or triadic supervision throughout the practicum by (1) a counselor education program faculty member, (2) a student supervisor who is under the supervision of a counselor education program faculty member, or (3) a site supervisor who is working in consultation on a regular schedule with a counselor education program faculty member in accordance with the supervision agreement.
  8. Practicum students participate in an average of 1½ hours per week of group supervision on a regular schedule throughout the practicum. Group supervision must be provided by a counselor education program faculty member or a student supervisor who is under the supervision of a counselor education program faculty member.

5.2 Practicum/ internship experiences must occur in a school counseling setting under the supervision of a site supervisor.

  1. Counselor education program faculty members serving as individual/triadic or group practicum/internship supervisors for students in entry-level programs have (1) relevant experience, (2) professional credentials, and (3) counseling supervision training and experience.
  2. Students serving as individual/triadic or group practicum/internship supervisors for students in entry-level programs must (1) have completed EPSB school counseling degree requirements, (2) have completed or are receiving preparation in counseling supervision, and (3) be under supervision from counselor education program faculty.
  3. Site supervisors have (1) a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling; (2) relevant certifications and/or licenses; (3) a minimum of two years of professional experience in school counseling; (4) knowledge of the program’s expectations, requirements, and evaluation procedures for students; and (5) relevant training in counseling supervision.
  4. Orientation, consultation, and professional development opportunities are provided by counselor education program faculty to site supervisors.
  5. Written supervision agreements define the roles and responsibilities of the faculty supervisor, site supervisor, and student during practicum and internship. When individual/triadic practicum supervision is conducted by a site supervisor in consultation with counselor education program faculty, the supervision agreement must detail the format and frequency of consultation to monitor student learning.

*For a more information regarding the Kentucky Standards of Preparation for School Counselors please CLICK HERE.