Maine guidance counselors are certified by the Maine Department of Education. They are classified as educational specialists. A school guidance counseling credential authorizes a professional to provide support to students in grades K-12. It is awarded on the basis of education and examination.
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In order to achieve full certification, a school counselor must earn a master’s degree. The student will need to complete a school psychology program and secure an institutional recommendation. The Department of Education makes some distinction between individuals who completed Maine-approved programs and those who completed programs that were approved in other jurisdictions. Individuals who did not complete Maine-approved programs (or approved alternative programs) will need to take a pedagogical assessment prior to certification. The Department of Education has provided a list of Maine-approved programs (http://maine.gov/doe/highered/teacherprep/index.html).
As educators, Maine school counselors are required to have coursework in teaching exceptional students in the regular classroom. The Department of Education has provided a list of approved exceptionality courses (http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/initial/exceptionalitycourses.html).
Individuals who have not yet met all requirements may be issued conditional certificates. They will need to demonstrate that they have earned accredited bachelor's degrees and that they have completed at least 24 semester hours of graduate coursework in school counseling.
Approval of educator programs is governed by Maine Department of Education Rule Chapter 114. School counseling endorsement rules are found in Chapter 115 Part II (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/05/chaps05.htm).
A Maine school counselor will take one or more assessments en route to certification.
The Professional School Counselor Examination: The school counselor must pass one subject-specific test, the Professional School Counselor Examination. The assessment is under the banner of Educational Testing Service and is offered as part the Praxis series (https://www.ets.org/praxis/me/requirements). It is based on the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model. It covers the following:
The current version is computer-delivered. It has a test code of 5421. The previous paper-delivered version was 0421; a candidate may find references to it in state rules. The assessment is in multiple choice format. A PDF candidate handbook is available for download from the ETS website (https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/5421). The passing score is set at 156.
The Professional School Counselor Examination is delivered via computer nationwide at Prometric testing sites and at some universities. Maine testing sites include the Prometric centers in Bangor and South Portland and the University of Maine locations in Farmington and Fort Kent. The assessment is available during monthly twelve-day testing windows.
Other Assessments: Some individuals may be asked to take a pre-professional skill test before program acceptance. Individuals completing out-of-state programs may be asked to take pedagogical assessments. The state uses the Praxis examination, ‘Principles of Learning and Teaching’, but notes that the test is not required of teachers or specialists who hold current out-of-state certification in the same endorsement area.
Information about the state assessment program is found in Rule Chapter 13. The Department of Education refers individuals with questions about testing requirements to the 'Maine' page of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website (https://www.ets.org/praxis/me). ETS can be reached by telephone or email (https://www.ets.org/praxis/contact). The ETS website lists test availability for all Praxis tests (https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates).
Applications can be downloaded from the DOE website (http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/initial/application/index.html) Guidance counselors use the same form as teachers but enter code 075 as the certificate/ endorsement code.
The application includes questions about criminal convictions, resignations under allegation, and actions against licenses. An applicant who answers “yes” to any of these questions will need to provide additional supporting information.
Applicants are asked to provide all college transcripts.
The application fee is $100.
Documentation can be sent to the following address:
Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023
Applicants can check status through an online portal (https://www.medms.maine.gov/medms_public/ReportPortal/Portal.aspx?CurrentLocation=/Public+Reports/Certification).
Applicants must submit to background checks by the Maine State Bureau of Identification (SBI).
Within Maine, fingerprinting is scheduled through Identogo/ MorphoTrust (http://www.identogo.com/FP/Maine.aspx). Individuals may schedule online or call (855) 667-7422. There are locations in nine Maine cities. Identogo has provided contact information for the state’s electronic fingerprinting sites (http://www.l1enrollment.com/locations/?st=me).
Out-of-state applicants may have manual fingerprint cards scanned by Identogo. They will also begin the process by contacting Identogo.
In-state applicants who are unable to get to a livescan fingerprinting site may also inquire about scanning of manual fingerprint cards.
The certification office may do a review of credentials before the background check results are known, but the certificate cannot actually be issued until afterward.
The Department of Education refers individuals with international transcripts to World Education Services or the Center for Educational Documentation (http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/faq/index.html).
The Maine Department of Education Certification Office (http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/index.html) can be reached by telephone at 207-624-6603 or by email at ‘cert.doe at maine.gov’. The physical location is on the 5th floor of the Burton Cross Building at 111 Sewall Street in Augusta.
The Department of Education has provided a resource page for school counselors (http://www.maine.gov/doe/counseling).
The DOE has stated that Maine school counselors are encouraged to join the Maine School Counseling Association (http://meschoolcounselor.org) or the Maine Counseling Association (www.maineca.org). The Maine School Counselor Association (MESCA) is a division of the American School Counselor Association.
You may also be interested in the Maine Counselor license requirements.