How to Become a School Counselor in Tennessee

School counseling is a challenging yet rewarding occupation that allows you to make a meaningful difference in children’s lives. As a school counselor, you will play a critical role in students’ well-being and have the opportunity to empower them with the tools to succeed academically, socially, psychologically and emotionally.

Peabody Online’s immersive master’s program allows students living across the U.S. to gain the skills they need to become impactful school counselors and obtain a school counseling license in Tennessee. Each state establishes its own policies and procedures for licensing school counselors which may be different than the requirements for licensure in Tennessee.

Students in the program who plan to practice outside of Tennessee should research the requirements in that state. To see requirements for becoming a school counselor in other states, view Vanderbilt Peabody Online’s state-by-state School Counseling Licensure page.

While our program welcomes students from across the country, the following information outlines the requirements for becoming a school counselor in Tennessee.

School Counselor Certification in Tennessee

All school counselors in Tennessee must hold a School Services Personnel License. To qualify for this licensure, aspiring school counselors must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s and advanced degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Successfully complete a state-approved educator preparation program and be recommended for licensure by the provider
  • Meet all professional assessment requirements as specified by the State Board of Education
  • Meet all requirements for the area of endorsement
  • Ensure that the Department of Education has official transcripts of all credits earned through an institution of higher education1
1 https://www.tn.gov/education/licensing/educator-licensure/new-to-education.htmlReturn to footnote reference
Vanderbilt Peabody’s online master of education (M.Ed.) with school counseling specialization gives you the tools you need to obtain licensure in Tennessee and become a school counselor.

Careers in School Counseling

School counselors are in high demand nationwide. School and career counseling jobs are expected to grow at a 13 percent rate – almost double the national average – between 2016 and 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a 250-to-1 ratio of students to counselors, the national average is 464-to-1.2 The student-to-counselor ratio in Tennessee is slightly better than the national average at 336-to-1.3

By becoming a school counselor, you can play a role in closing the gap between students and support while pursuing a promising career.

Why School Counseling Is Rewarding Work

School counselors help students from all backgrounds overcome barriers to success and provide them with access to important educational and developmental resources. As a school counselor in Tennessee, you will perform essential functions to help students reach their full potential, such as:

  • Developing comprehensive programs that foster short- and long-term student achievement
  • Assisting students with college and career preparations
  • Serving as an advocate for student success in the school and community
  • Collaborating with teachers, administrators, community members, and parents and guardians to effectively implement programs

Finding the Right School Counseling Program for You

Because school counseling requires certification, it is essential that aspiring school counselors attend a high-quality graduate program that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience.

The master of education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling is an online program offered by Vanderbilt University’s renowned Peabody College that allows you to meet Tennessee requirements and prepare to become a school counselor.


2 According to the ASCA, as of the 2015-2016 school year; https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/careers-roles Return to footnote reference
3 ASCA student-to-counselor ratio graph for 2015-2016 school year; https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/home/Ratios15-16.pdf Return to footnote reference
Learn more about becoming a school counselor online with an M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.