General Information about Professional School Counselors

The Iowa Department of Education administrative rules require every school district to have at least one Professional School Counselor and be working toward the goal of having one qualified counselor for every 350 students enrolled in the district.  The Professional School Counselor is responsible for an articulated and sequential K-12 guidance program that is comprehensive in scope, preventive in design, driven by data and integral to the district’s instructional and curricular program.  The DE website has many helpful documents about the school guidance counseling program on the A to Z index under Counseling.  

Each year, the question comes up as to who may act as a Professional School Counselor.  In order to be a Professional School Counselor an individual must have completed a master’s in school counseling (not mental health counseling).  Iowa currently has six colleges offering a master’s degree in school counseling.

If your school district is employing a licensed social worker, that individual may not provide direct instruction in any guidance areas.  They may reinforce the curriculum that has been developed by the Professional School Counselor and is presented by either a Professional School Counselor or a licensed teacher in their own classroom setting.  Any work that a licensed social worker does in the area of guidance or counseling must be done under the supervision of a licensed Professional School Counselor. 

A non-teacher who has completed a master’s in school counseling is eligible for a Professional Service License.  This license gives them full authority to act as a Professional School Counselor in an Iowa K-12 setting.  If they have completed their entire program with the exception of the internship, they are eligible for a Class G license which allows them to practice while completing their internship on the job.  This is the only conditional license available for a non teacher in a school counseling program.  Licensed teachers may obtain conditional licensure for school counseling at any time.

Individuals with Class G or Initial Professional Service licenses need to go through the mentoring and induction program and meet the Iowa Teaching Standards as they pertain to school counseling before obtaining their Professional Service License.