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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential offered without the Master's Degree?

No, the Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential in School Counseling is offered in conjunction with the Master of Science in School Counseling. Individuals desiring the PPS credential in School Counseling must apply for admission to both the Master of Science in School Counseling and PPS in School Counseling program in order to earn the credential. All of the coursework for both the Master's Degree and the PPS credential overlap.

What is the difference between School Counseling and School Psychology?

School Counselors and School Psychologists often worked closely together to meet the academic and social emotional needs of school-aged youth.

The School Counseling program prepares counselors to work in elementary, middle, and high school settings (K-12). Emphasis is placed on meeting the academic, social-emotional, and career readiness needs of all students. Typically, this is a school employee who provides direct services through individual and group counseling, classroom lessons, academic advising and crisis response. School counselors also provide indirect services on behalf of students through interactions with others including referrals for additional assistance, consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers, and other educators.  In addition to the MS in Counseling degree, candidates are recommended for the Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. 

School Psychologists typically work more closely with students with disabilities, including conducting initial and three-year assessments of their needs. They also provide direct and indirect services such as consultation, counseling, crisis response preparation, and systems change. The CSULB School Psychology program awards the Educational Specialist degree (Ed.S.) and recommends candidates for the Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Psychology from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. 

Can I use the School Counseling degree to work in a college/university setting?

The School Counseling program is designed for individuals who want to work in elementary, middle, and high school settings (K-12). For individuals interested in working with students at the college/university level, please see the Student Development in Higher Education program

Do I need to apply to the program as well as the university?

YES, separate applications must be made to the School Counseling program and to CSULB. Please see the Application Process website for additional information. 

What tests are required for the school counseling program?

Per the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)  licensing requirements all California Prepared Educators must complete the Basic Skills Requirement by passage of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or meet the requirement using an approved alternative prior to recommendation of the Pupil Personnel Services Credential.  If a student admitted to the program fails to pass the CBEST, candidates will receive appropriate academic assistance necessary to pass the examination. Reference: Education Code Sections 44252 (f) and 44225 (n). For additional information about the Basic Skills Requirement and ways to satisfy the requirement, please visit

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for this program.

Is admission into the school counseling program competitive?

Admission to the school counseling programs is highly competitive (acceptance rate is approximately 20% of the total number of applicants). It is essential for applicants to adhere to application guidelines. 

What is the job outlook for school counselors?

The job outlook for prospective school counselors is related to state and federal economic indicators. With retirements and some local, state, and federal school counseling program expansion initiatives pending, those entering the field in the next few years are likely to have employment options but may need to actively network for desirable positions. Additional information about the school counseling profession is available at ASCA's website: