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Counseling Program Personnel and Licensing Requirements

Counseling programs are effectively delivered by state-licensed personnel who have specialized training in designing, developing and implementing comprehensive school counseling programs to address needs and barriers to learning and provide opportunities for each and every student to acquire and master critical skills that enable them to learn, work, interact with others, and contribute to their community.

School counseling personnel provide leadership, advocacy, and collaboration by serving on various school leadership, improvement, data teams, and student support teams within a school’s multi-tiered system. They use student data to provide universal, individual and targeted evidence-based interventions and supports, and targeted individual and group counseling based on the student standards.

School counseling personnel work closely with students to individualize and personalize educational pathways, develop essential knowledge, skills, and mindsets for mastering the student standards, and support student agency to develop academic and career goals, plans, and accomplishments towards graduation and successful transition to postsecondary opportunities.

School counseling personnel work closely with parents, educators, administrators, other support personnel, community-agencies, college access professionals, and business and community partners to promote students’ well-being, create a safe and supportive environment, provide culturally responsive practices, support academic achievement, engage in college preparation and career readiness, and advocate for systemic change.

Services and supports in these areas look different across educational levels in order to address the developmental needs of students, to provide immediate and short-term intensive supports and crisis interventions with students and their families, and refer students and families for specialized services in district or the community, in order to provide ongoing intensive supports and services, treatment for severe and chronic issues, long-term counseling, and complex family situations.

Effective program implementation and successful student outcomes are best achieved when school counselors and social workers spend at least eighty percent of their time providing direct and indirect counseling services and have student to counselor/social worker ratios at or near the national recommended level of 250:1.

The Role of School Counselors, School Social Workers, School Psychologists and other School-based Mental Health Professionals

School-based professionals such as school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, and other specialized instructional support personnel help to support students’ positive mental health. In particular, school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists are mental health professionals who serve in critical leadership roles with school safety, positive school climate, and providing school-based mental health services. Their training and expertise provide links between mental health, behavior, environmental factors (e.g., family, classroom, school, community), instruction, and learning.

Each of these professionals helps to create school environments that are safe, supportive, and conducive to learning. Each may deliver similar services such as counseling, social and emotional skill instruction, and consultation with families and teachers. However, each profession has its own unique focus based upon its specializations, which result in different, albeit interrelated, services. The specific services and expertise of individual practitioners may vary depending on additional training and experience, but the following links provide descriptions of the specialization for each profession.

HB 2876 (2019)

Identifies comprehensive school counseling program personnel who have the professional training or experience to design, deliver and implement comprehensive school counseling programs.

OAR 581-022-2060 Comprehensive School Counseling

Incorporates the language from HB 2876 (2019) and further defines the team approach.

District Guidance on School Counseling Program Personnel Requirements

Provides updated guidance for districts and schools related to HB 2876 (2019) and OAR 581-022-2060, which identifies who can design, deliver and implement comprehensive school counseling programs.

TSPC Licensing FAQ

State & National Association Resources