New Hampshire school counselors are certified by the Department of Education. New Hampshire has composed a detailed list of competencies for school counselors. Candidates may meet them through traditional or nontraditional pathways.
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Traditional Pathways: Candidates can meet educational requirements by completing a state-approved school counseling program at the master's level. An in-state program will be explicitly approved by New Hampshire. The Department of Education has provided a listing of all programs that have been approved to operate within the state during the current school year (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/documents/programapprovalbook.pdf).
A school counseling degree program can also be accepted if it was approved by the appropriate agency in another state. The Department of Education accepts school counseling programs approved by any jurisdiction that has entered into the Interstate Certification Contract with New Hampshire, provided that the other jurisdiction requires a degree at the appropriate level. The Department of Education has provided a list of jurisdictions that are party to the certification agreement; the list includes not only U.S. jurisdictions but some Canadian provinces (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/documents/interstate_contract.pdf).
Approved degree programs may be accepted in cases where the other state is not a member of the interstate contract; however, they must be determined to be equivalent.
Alternative 3A: The New Hampshire State Department of Education recognizes that some individuals acquire competencies through 1) graduate level coursework and internship experiences that do not lead to a master's degree in school counseling or 2) experience in school counseling or related positions (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/ed500.html). These individuals may be eligible for certification through Alternative 3A (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/documents/alt3memo.pdf). Alternative 3A applicants create portfolios to demonstrate competency.
An individual does need some experience in the job role to apply through this pathway; the state has set the minimum at three months. The candidate will receive instructions about developing a portfolio only after qualifying experience has been documented.
The following are listed among the competencies and knowledge areas for school counselors:
Each of these broad competency areas is further broken down into skills and concepts. A detailed description of school counseling competencies is found in 507.07 of New Hampshire State Rules (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/ed500.html).
Alternative 4: During years in which school counseling is classified as a critical shortage area, professionals may receive work eligibility through Alternative 4. They may be employed prior to completion of a qualifying master’s degree. However, they will need to be working toward the master’s (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/documents/alt4memo.pdf).
School counseling is listed as a critical shortage area for the 2014 to 2015 academic year (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/documents/critshortagelist.pdf).
Candidates for initial educator must pass a basic skills test. Candidates who apply through pathway 3A must pass an additional subject-specific examination.
Basic Skills: The Department-adopted basic skills test is the Core Academic Skills for Educators, which recently replaced the Praxis I; like the Praxis, it is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Effective January 2015, New Hampshire no longer exempts candidates on the basis of having earned master’s degrees in their respective fields. However, candidates may be exempted from taking the CORE on the basis of having passed equivalent examinations in other states. They may also be exempted on the basis of having scored at at least the 50th percentile in reading, writing, and mathematics on tests such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE. Individuals who think they have passed equivalent examinations are directed to call 603-271-2408.
The Core includes three subtests: reading, writing, and mathematics. The three tests may be taken individually or together. Minimum scores are 156 in reading, 150 in mathematics, and 162 in writing. A study guide is available for each test (http://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials).
The assessment is administered via computer. It is available on an ongoing basis at Prometric testing centers and at some other locations. There are three locations in New Hampshire: at Lebanon College and at the Prometric centers in Concord and Portsmouth.
Candidates can register for examinations online. The fee for the combined test is $135. The fee for a single test (reading, writing, or mathematics) is $85 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/about/fees).
Candidates who test in New Hampshire can expect their test results to be sent to the State Department of Education. Candidates who do not pass all three tests on a first attempt will need to retake only the ones that were failed. Additional examination information can be found on the New Hampshire Requirements' page of the ETS website (http://www.ets.org/praxis/nh/requirements/).
School Counseling Competency Examination: Candidates applying through Alternative 3A must go through an oral examination process before a Board of Examiners. Two members of the three-member Board will be professionals who are credentialed in the certification area sought. Candidates appear before the Board of Examiners after their portfolios are approved.
New Hampshire has an online application system. Paper applications are also available on the Department of Education website (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/index.htm).
Candidates are to submit official transcripts bearing registrar signature and embossed seal.
In cases where an out-of-state transcript does not include an institutional recommendation, the applicant will also need a statement from the preparing institution that the applicant completed the approved program.
Additionally, Alternative 3A candidates must submit a letter of intent and documentation of three months of qualifying experience. Experience is to be documented on official school or agency letterhead.
Alternative 4 applicants submit current work resumes and (if applicable) professional licenses.
Candidates who apply through traditional pathways pay $130. Those who need evaluation under Plan 3A pay $300. The $300 fee will not be assessed until the candidate reaches the portfolio submission stage.
New Hampshire grants reciprocity to out-of-state school counselors (http://www.counseling.org/PublicPolicy/SchoolCounselingRegs2012.pdf). Those who have completed master’s programs approved by other states can expect their education to be accepted under the Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) contract. The agreement also includes provisions for experienced teachers. Candidates who need more information about the interstate contract are directed to contact NASDTEC (www.NASDTEC.org).
Some out-of-state school counselors will need to apply through Alternative 3A.
The New Hampshire Department of Education (http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/index.htm) is the source for current information about school counseling certification. The Bureau of Credentialing can be reached at 603-271-2409.
The New Hampshire School Counselor Association is an additional professional resource (http://nhsca.camp7.org).