Programs preparing school counselors

Do you want to support today’s diverse student population? Then you should consider becoming a school counselor.
The effective school counselor of the 21st century needs to be a dynamic professional well prepared to address the range of social-emotional, academic, career, and developmental needs of an increasingly complex and diverse student population.

Our Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs-accredited school counseling programs prepare individuals to pursue leadership roles in schools as facilitators of healthy human development and advocates for change, positively impacting the success of individual students and school systems at large.

Guaranteed 40% tuition scholarships

Program Quickview

The programs described below prepare students for New York State certification as school counselors (recognized also in some other states).

If you are interested in other counseling or human development programs, check our related programs.
Information about New York State Certification in School Counseling
Most states in the United States require state certification to hold school counseling positions in K-12 public schools.  New York State has two levels of certification for school counseling, which are recognized in many other states and across the United States:
  • Initial Certification

  • Professional Certification
  • A bachelor’s degree in an area related to school counseling (e.g., psychology, education, human development, sociology, brain and cognitive science). 
  • Interests and dispositions consistent with successful practice as a school counselor.
  • Preference is given to applicants with a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. 
  • A general understanding of the nature of school counseling practice.
  • A demonstrated interest, based on previous paid or volunteer experience, of work in the helping professions.
  • Evidence, based on past volunteer or paid activity, of leadership potential.
  • Applicants must display dispositions of health and fitness that will foster healing, growth and change in their clients, such as:
    • Capacity for sound clinical and interpersonal judgment.
    • Ability to deal with critique and conflict in a healthy and productive manner.
    • Reliable completion, even under conditions of stress and emotional challenge, of expected clinical and academic responsibilities.
    • Respect for diversity of beliefs, practices, appearances and orientations, and a commitment to, and capacity for self-reflection regarding diversity issues.
    • Ability, even in times of extreme stress, to convey empathy and compassion.
    • Display of sound moral and ethical judgment.
Key Program Features:
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs accredited: Rigorous curriculum meeting all requirements set by the world-recognized accrediting body for the field of counseling.
  • Unique internship opportunities: The required practicum and two internship experiences can be pursued in elementary, middle, or secondary schools, depending on interest. Special internship opportunities at East High School, an urban school overseen by the University of Rochester’s Educational Partnership Organization (EPO).
  • Flexible: Program can be started in any semester and can be completed in just two years of full-time study, if starting in fall, or three to four years of part-time study.
  • Option to add specializations: By strategically choosing electives, you can add an Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership or take courses that can count toward a New York State license in Applied Behavior Analysis or Board Certified Behavior Analyst credential.
  • For mental health counselors: We invite you to check out our 12-credit “bridge” program option to give you maximum flexibility for practice contexts.

Programs that prepare school counselors

Most of the United States require state certification to hold school counseling positions in K-12 public schools.  Any newly admitted students to our Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs and New York State approved program must be enrolled in our 60-credit hour certification program for school counseling. The master’s degree program prepares candidates for initial and professional certification in School Counseling and are offered at the graduate level only. Within this 60-credit master’s program, students may choose from four specializations including: community, diversity, disability and leadership.

Opportunities for additional specialization
  • Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership: Prepares you to work with highly diverse and disadvantaged students in urban settings.
  • Advanced Certificate in Mind/Body Healing and Wellness: This program is a 13-credit hour Advanced Certificate available to students and working professionals interested in gaining knowledge and skills related to mind/body healing and wellness.
  • Mental Health Counseling: The additional credits required for permanent certification can be chosen to count toward our Bridge Program from School to Mental Health (CB2), if interested in eventually also obtaining NYS license as a mental health counselor.
young counselor with a group of students
Special Bridge Program for Mental Health Counselors
If you have already completed a master’s degree leading to New York State licensure in mental health counseling, the Warner School offers an expedited way for you to meet the coursework and internship requirements for provisional and permanent certification for school counselors.  This 12-credit Advanced Certificate Bridge from Mental Health to School Counseling (CB1) program requires only two school counseling courses and two internships.
adult reviews something with student on laptop

Our Approach

Helping school counselors drive individual and systemic change

The Warner School's programs in school counseling are designed to prepare students as school counselors providing the academic, career, and social-emotional counseling and developmental learning needed by today’s children and youth.  The programs embrace the view of the counselor as a systems change agent, as well as an individual advocate. 

Warner graduates learn how to drive and implement transformation, both among individual students and across broader educational environments. Our unique integrative approach grounds our students in the research and theory of human development and counseling, while also providing effective clinical experiences that help build essential school counseling skills.
group of students in a circle talking
Learn More About Warner's Approach to School Counseling
Warner leads the way in research-based, practice-informed instruction.  Counseling students are grounded in knowledge of human development, with a particular understanding of how environmental factors shape the developmental processes that lead to student success. The Warner approach balances theoretical knowledge and experiential learning where students develop critical skills in communication, listening, empathetic understanding, and conflict mediation, as well as other individual and group counseling skills. In addition, all school counseling students are trained in restorative practices. Clinical placements and internships prepare students for school settings and play a central educational role in these programs, helping students to bridge theory and practice while honing their counseling skills.

Coursework is informed by research, grounded in a human development framework, and takes a holistic approach to change that integrates individual developmental and systemic orientations. In addition, our students are immersed in the principles set forth by the American School Counseling Association National Model, which prepares them to play an important role in inter-professional school leadership teams. A diverse array of instructional methods is utilized in our counseling classrooms including: lectures, videos, discussions, and in-class and outside-class experiential activities.

Our vision for school counseling leaves behind antiquated notions of school guidance counselors primarily involved in course scheduling and other clerical duties. The program is evidence-based, designed to prepare students as school counselors who provide the academic, career, and social-emotional counseling and who provide classroom-based programming that ensures healthy development for the diversity of today’s students and families.  More broadly, Warner graduates are prepared for a role in which they are facilitators of healthy human development through a holistic approach that considers and advocates for change within school systems.

The Warner Advantage

Preparing graduates to thrive in school counseling careers

The school counseling program will give you the highest-quality preparation as an effective school counselor.
  • Be challenged to become an innovator, thought leader, and agent of personal and systemic change by learning the necessary dispositions and skills to be an effective school counselor.
  • Learn how to help create a bright future for all students.
  • Understand how to serve complex and diverse populations in order to meet the needs of all students and create more equitable educational experiences.
  • Be prepared for the 21st century through a curriculum informed by cutting-edge research.
  • Benefit from real-life practical experiences working in school settings with seasoned, gifted counseling professionals.
  • Leverage the reputation of a leading research university to give your degree even more recognition.
  • Learn from an accessible, supportive faculty of researchers and accomplished practitioners.
  • Network with the best and the brightest future school counselors.
  • Shorten your path to a doctoral degree by earning transferable credits.
  • Be confident in a nationally-accredited program by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.
While rigorous, the flexible design of our school counseling programs can accommodate the work-life obligations of today’s students.
  • Benefit from scholarships that can significantly reduce tuition costs.
  • Start the program in any semester.
  • Go at your own pace, by choosing either part-time or full-time options.
  • Use your electives and one of the 60-credit options to specialize in your area of interest.
  • Are you a University of Rochester employee? Make sure you make full use of your tuition benefits.

All About experience

Your experience at the Warner  School will be informed by the many research projects and community initiatives we are engaged in. In addition, you'll benefit from the experience of faculty that include nationally recognized researchers, award-winning authors and accomplished practitioners.

East High School Partnership

East High School Partnership

Our students have the opportunity to engage in a unique school counseling internship in a “turn around” urban high school. As the Educational Partnership Organization for East High School, we are leading a radical transformation that includes building a healthy and inclusive school culture, while supporting students’ socio-emotional needs.

Constructive Counseling Supervision

Constructive Counseling Supervision

Our students benefit from cutting-edge research-grounded supervising practices. In fact, Warner Professor Doug Guiffrida’s 2015 book on Constructive Clinical Supervision in Counseling and Psychotherapy has been recognized with a national award.

Parent with hand on child's shoulder

School counseling expert offers tips for supporting students during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic

Bonnie Rubenstein, EdD, professor at the Warner School of Education offers tips for educators to support students as they strive to adapt to a full return to in-person learning throughout the course of the school year.

Career Opportunities

Advancing your career to the next level.

Graduates of our school counseling program will have the credentials needed to hold school counseling positions at the elementary, middle school or high school level in public schools in New York State and other states recognizing that certification.

Beyond K-12 schools, our graduates will also be prepared to succeed in other educational roles and careers, including:
  • Acting as school counselors in other school settings.
  • Working in advising and career development centers in higher education.
  • Working with children and youth in community programs.
International students have found the Warner School’s programs in school counseling beneficial in helping them introduce the benefits of the school counseling profession to international educational settings, where school counseling is currently in its formative stages.
educator talking with student


Accessible, supportive faculty of researchers and accomplished practitioners.


Making it affordable to make your graduate education possible

Many of our counseling students benefit from merit-based scholarships that significantly decrease tuition costs.

Dean's guaranteed 40% scholarship for school counselors
All new students starting their master's program in school counseling leading to New York State certification in are guaranteed a 40% tuition scholarship, provided they can commit to serve as school counselor in a United States school for two years following graduation.

Contact admissions for more information about merit-based scholarships.

Are You a UR Employee? Inquire about your tuition benefits. If eligible, up to 95% of your tuition costs can be covered depending on your position. Contact the UR benefits office at

Vasquez in class at table with studnets

Try Us Out

A Warner School degree opens doors; open ours to see why

Do you want to have a taste of what the Warner School can offer, before committing to one of our programs?

We invite you to come and observe one of our counseling courses. Or even better, take one of the required counseling courses for a highly discounted price

Contact admissions to arrange for a visit or learn more about opportunities for students considering enrolling in one of our programs.
Counseling students at Warner in a circle in class


Meliora means 'Ever Better.' To our graduates, it means making a world of difference.

  • Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

    “It was more than I expected. Not only what I learned in the program, which I’ve been able to put into practice every day since, but also the connections I was able to make and the relationships I was able to form."

    Beatriz M. Folch-Torres, MD, Rochester, NY

  • Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

    “As educators, it’s our job to make sure we’re giving students the knowledge to be successful when they move on in their life….Warner was the best grad school experience I’ve ever had because it prepared me extremely well to jump into my career, and I will forever be grateful for that.”

    Jody Goodman, Program Director, UMass Amherst

  • Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

    "The growth I’ve realized in myself is something I will be forever grateful for. I’ve learned to question, analyze, think and create in ways I never considered. I’ve changed as an educator and as a person."

    Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

  • Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children

    “When it came time to interview for jobs, it was very easy for me to talk about anything in the field, and that set me apart,” he says. “You name it, and I had at least one experience in it—largely due to Warner.”

    Jeremy Friedman, Research Associate, Harlem Children's Zone, New York, NY

  • Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

    "The most important thing I received there was the opportunity to be immersed in the study of education and leadership with very talented people, that think-tank mentality of being surrounded by the best of the best. The intellectual stimulation from both the staff and fellow classmates really did allow me to think about things differently."

    Dawn Santiago-Marullo, Superintendent, Victor, NY

  • Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

    “I had a very unique situation. I wasn’t going down the typical path of a Warner student, and the school was just so flexible and supportive.”

    Shannon Walton, Sports Performance Counselor, Rochester, NY

Contact Admissions

The admissions team looks forward to assisting you as you explore graduate education at the Warner School. Please feel free to use the form below to contact us with any questions. You can also email us at or call (585) 275-3950.

Application Deadlines

The next application deadline is March 01, 2023. View all  Admissions Deadlines.

Apply Now

Request Information Form