The Profession

School counselors are trained educators possessing a valid credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services (California Education Code Section 49600). As specialists in child and adolescent development, school counselors coordinate the objectives, strategies, and activities of a comprehensive counseling program, and they serve as representatives on district school guidance teams, such as school attendance review boards. 

A counseling program is an integral component of the educational system and is vital in preparing and assisting students to be successful, lifelong learners. School counselors and other members of the student support team (school psychologists, school social workers, child welfare and attendance supervisors, and school nurses) assist students in making decisions, managing emotions, coping with crises, overcoming barriers to learning, and seeking access to the core curriculum. School counselors and members of the support team help students set short- and long-term goals, improve attendance, reduce and resolve conflicts, and prevent youth suicide. This support team works to create a positive learning environment; teaches self-management skills; acts as advocates for students; and provides relevant academic, career, and personal/social counseling to enable students to make informed decisions toward achieving their future goals. Reference: California Department of Education: School Counseling Programs

Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credentials: California PPS credential holders include School Counselors, School Psychologists, School Social Workers, School Nurses and an added authorization of Child Welfare and Attendance in California. School counselors are the largest body of mental health professionals employed in California schools and The California Association of School Counselors (CASC) is the largest state-level association representing school counselors in the nation.

In 2019, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing adopted new standards for which those aspiring to obtain a PPS credential will need to obtain. Due to Covid-19, the implementation of these new standards had been pushed back to the Fall of 2022. Beginning with the fall semester, all Commission-approved PPS programs must incorporate these new standards to effectively provide services to California students. 

Pupil Personnel Services: School Counseling Preconditions, Program Standards, and Performance Expectations, published May 2020