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School Counseling Licensure Pathway

HGSE offers a pathway to a school counseling license in Massachusetts through a two-year curricular sequence of coursework and field-based placements. Students interested in school counseling licensure complete one year in the school counseling strand of the Human Development and Education (HDE) master’s program, followed by a second year in the Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in Counseling program. This pathway prepares counselors-in-training with the skills necessary to promote positive, healthy academic and social emotional development in students with an emphasis on prevention, equity, and systemic change. 

“Our school counseling licensure pathway emphasizes a strengths-based, anti-oppressive approach within an ecological framework. Because of this, our graduates leave our programs prepared to provide high quality academic, social emotional, and postsecondary counseling and ready to advocate for educational systems that are equitable and just.”

Mandy Savitz-Romer, C.A.S. Faculty Director

After completing the School Counseling Licensure pathway, you will be able to:

  • Embody Professional School Counselor Identity and Skills
  • Leverage Developmental Insights
  • Engage in Ecological Systems Thinking
  • Demonstrate Cultural Humility
  • Cultivate Prevention and Promotion
  • Advance Data-driven Practice and Practice-driven Research

Curriculum Information

HDE Program School Counseling Strand (Year 1)

The counseling strand of the Human Development and Education master’s program provides the foundation for students to complete a postgraduate Certificate of Advanced Study in counseling and seek licensure in Massachusetts as a school or adjustment counselor. 

  • Students fulfill HDE Program requirements plus additional counseling related coursework and field-based placements.
  • Counseling strand students participate in a required yearlong school-based practicum.
  • Students spend approximately two days/week doing counseling-related work in school-based settings. 
  • Interested applicants should apply directly to the strand by selecting School Counseling Strand on the admissions application. 
  • At the completion of year one, students graduate with a Master of Education degree.

C.A.S. in Counseling Program (Year 2)

The C.A.S. in Counseling Program allows graduates of the HDE master’s program counseling strand as well as Prevention Science and Practice or Risk and Prevention program alumni to continue their graduate studies beyond the master’s degree to earn Massachusetts initial licensure as a school counselor or adjustment counselor. 

  • Students complete the remaining required counseling courses and field hours required for licensure. 
  • Students spend approximately three days per week in schools supervised by a licensed counselor. 
  • C.A.S. students participate in a yearlong practicum course that provides support for students learning and development as a professional counselor. 
  • At the completion of year two, students graduate with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling and will have met requirements for licensure in Massachusetts in school counseling or school adjustment counseling/school social work.


Q: Can I earn my license by only completing one year in the HDE School Counseling strand?
No. In order to receive Massachusetts licensure, students must complete both years: one year in the HDE master’s program and one year in the C.A.S. in Counseling Program

Q: What are the costs of this program? 
You can review the full cost details for two years of full-time study in the Residential Ed.M. program (HDE) and the C.A.S. program on our Tuition & Costs page.  

Q: I am a new applicant to HGSE and I would like to apply to the master’s program that leads to school counseling licensure. Which one do I choose?   
You should apply to the Human Development and Education master’s program and select School Counseling Strand in the application.  

Q: When do HDE Counseling Strand students begin?  
HDE counseling strand students follow the same timeline as non-counseling strand students, beginning in June with Foundations courses and ending in May with commencement. However, students in the counseling strand who wish to continue beyond their master’s degree and earn school counseling licensure will apply for a second year of study in the C.A.S. Program during the application period preceding year two. 

Q: How many hours per week do students spend in the field and where are they placed? 
Currently, students in the HDE counseling strand spend approximately 300 hours in the field, whereas students in C.A.S. Program spend approximately 600 hours in the field. Overall, students must complete 900 hours to meet licensure requirements over the course of two years. 

Q: Can I earn licensure in both school counseling and school adjustment counseling while in the program?
No. Unfortunately, the MA Dept. of Education only allows the school to endorse one license at the point of graduation.   

Q: Can I get licensure through this program to work in other states or countries? 
Yes, our graduates go on to transfer their licensure to other states and some of our graduates use Massachusetts licenses internationally. 

Q: Can I also choose a concentration while enrolled in the HDE Counseling Strand? 
No, due to the additional coursework necessary to fulfill Massachusetts licensure requirements, you would not have the elective credit space to enroll in a concentration. 

Q: Who is eligible to apply to the C.A.S. Program? 
The C.A.S. Program will begin accepting applications for the 2023-24 academic year in fall of 2022. Eligibility is based on your previous coursework and practicum experience in a HGSE counseling strand.

Career Pathways

  • School counselor (elementary, middle and high school levels)
  • School adjustment counselor (elementary, middle and high school levels)
  • Counselor in human services or social service agencies
  • Academic advisors in higher education
  • Counselor at international high schools outside of the United States


The School Counseling Licensure Pathway provides you with the knowledge necessary to be a transformative school or adjustment counselor who promotes positive, healthy academic, and social emotional development. As school counseling becomes more important than ever, explore the stories of faculty and alumni making an impact in the field and on their students.

Illustrations by Brian Stauffer


They have unbearable caseloads. They’re often asked to monitor hallways and fill in when a teacher calls in sick. They are usually the first to go during budget cuts. What is it going to take for us to reimagine the pivotal role of school counselors?

Mandy Savitz-Romer

Harvard EdCast: Redefining School Counseling

Mandy Savitz-Romer talks about the misconceptions around school counselors, and shares how she reimagines this vital role in schools.

Connect with Program Staff

If you have remaining program-specific questions, please contact HDE Assistant Director Mandy Farhoodi-Moberger.