Follow Us

ESA (School Counseling)

The wide range of academic, social, and emotional issues faced by students today requires school counselors to possess both competence and character. The ESA (School Counseling) Certificate program at SPU will prepare you to be an effective counselor who is able to meet the needs of students in P–12 schools. The Educational Staff Associate Certificate in school counseling can be earned in this stand-alone program, or with the MEd in School Counseling degree.

Gainful Employment

For more information about student graduation rates, median debt, and other important information about SPU's ESA Certification-only program, please visit

Who Should Pursue This Program

To be eligible for the ESA (School Counseling) Certificate program, you must hold a master's degree.

Conceptual Framework

Like the MEd in School Counseling, the conceptual framework of the ESA (School Counseling) Certificate program at SPU is based on theory and research that supports a developmental, systemic approach to facilitating healthy development of students. This framework is built on the premise that school counselors:

  • Are integral to a comprehensive developmental approach to education.
  • Focus on preventive and developmental strategies.
  • Are guided by sound educational interventions based on empirical research and best practice.
  • Stress collaboration and consultation with other school personnel and community resources to meet the needs of all students.
  • Maintain the highest level of professional and ethical competence.

Program Components

As a student in the ESA (School Counseling) Certificate program, you will complete the same academic requirements as those seeking the MEd in School Counseling, excluding the 15-credit Professional Core. These requirements include:

  • School Counseling Major Core Courses (48 credits)
  • Internship (9 credits; 600 hours; extending over an entire school year)
  • Comprehensive Examination

Students without a strong educational background may be required to take the Education Block (one additional 3-credit course plus 100 hours of classroom observation) as part of the program.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to the Graduate Center:

  • Application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college/university attended.
    • If your degree is not from a U.S. college or university, please arrange for your transcript to be evaluated by an accredited transcript evaluation company such as FIS or WES. Have the report forwarded directly to the Graduate Center.
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Résumé.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Copy of current teaching certificate, front and back (if applicable).
  • Moral Character and Personal Fitness Policy form  (available in the online application).
  • Character and Fitness Supplement form  (available in the online application).
  • Personal interview with School Counseling faculty member.

Application Deadline

April 1 (Applications are accepted any time prior to April 1.)

Graduate Admissions

Grad Icon Get answers to your admissions questions. Contact 800-601-0603 or