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School Counselor

Competencies
History and Purpose
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) supports school counselors’ efforts to help students focus on academic, personal/social
and career development so they achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society. In recent
years, the ASCA leadership has recognized the need for a more unified vision of the school counseling profession. “The ASCA National Model:
A Framework for School Counseling Programs” was a landmark document that provided a mechanism with which school counselors and
school counseling teams could design, coordinate, implement, manage and enhance their programs for students’ success. The ASCA National
Model® provides a framework for the program components, the school counselor’s role in implementation and the underlying philosophies of
leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change.

The School Counselor Competencies continue the effort for a unified vision by outlining the knowledge, attitudes and skills that ensure school
counselors are equipped to meet the rigorous demands of our profession and the needs of our Pre-K-12 students. These competencies are necessary
to better ensure that our future school counselor workforce will be able to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of students.

Development of the Competencies competencies have been identified as those that will equip new
The development of the School Counselor Competencies and experienced school counselors with the skills to establish,
document was a highly collaborative effort among many maintain and enhance a comprehensive, developmental,
members of the school counseling profession. results-based school counseling program addressing academic
A group of school counseling professionals that included achievement, personal and social development and career
practicing school counselors, district school counseling super- planning.
visors and counselor educators from across the country met
in January 2007 to discuss ways to ensure that school coun- Applications
selor education programs adequately train and prepare future ASCA views these competencies as being applicable along a
school counselors to design and implement comprehensive continuum of areas. For instance, school counselor education
school counseling programs. The group agreed that the logi- programs may use the competencies as benchmarks for
cal first task should be the development of a set of competen- ensuring students graduate with the knowledge, skills and
cies necessary and sufficient to be an effective professional dispositions needed for developing comprehensive school
school counselor. counseling programs. Professional school counselors could
The group created a general outline of competencies and use the School Counselor Competencies as a checklist to
asked ASCA to form a task force to develop draft school coun- self-evaluate their own competencies and, as a result, formu-
selor competencies supporting the ASCA National Model. The late an appropriate professional development plan. School
task force used sample competencies from states, universities administrators may find these competencies useful as a guide
and other organizations to develop a first draft, which was pre- for seeking and hiring highly competent school counselors
sented to the whole group for feedback. After comments and and for developing meaningful school counselor performance
revisions were incorporated, the revised draft was released for evaluations. Also, the School Counselor Competencies
public review and comment. Revisions through the public include the necessary technological competencies needed for
comment were incorporated to develop the final version. The performing effectively and efficiently in the 21st century.
school counselor competencies document is unique in several
ways. First, this set of competencies is organized around and I. School Counseling Programs
consistent with the ASCA National Model. Second, the com- School counselors should possess the knowledge, abilities,
petencies are comprehensive in that they include skills, skills and attitudes necessary to plan, organize, implement
knowledge and attitudes necessary for meritoriously per- and evaluate a comprehensive, developmental, results-based
forming the range of school counselor responsibilities (e.g., school counseling program that aligns with the ASCA
counseling, coordinating, consulting, etc.) in all four compo- National Model.
nents of comprehensive school counseling programs: founda-
tion, management, delivery and accountability. These

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I-A: KNOWLEDGE counseling theories school counseling program
ASCA’s position statement, The Professional I-A-9. The continuum of mental health I-B-1h. Demonstrates multicultural,
School Counselor and School Counseling services, including prevention ethical and professional
Preparation Programs, states that school coun- and intervention strategies to competencies in planning,
selors should articulate and demonstrate an enhance student success organizing, implementing and
understanding of: evaluating the comprehensive
I-A-1 The organizational structure I-B: ABILITIES AND SKILLS school counseling program
and governance of the An effective school counselor is able to accom-
American educational system as plish measurable objectives demonstrating the I-B-2. Serves as a leader in the school
well as cultural, political and following abilities and skills. and community to promote
social influences on current I-B-1. Plans, organizes, implements and support student success
educational practices and evaluates a school I-B-2a. Understands and defines
I-A-2. The organizational structure counseling program aligning leadership and its role in
and qualities of an effective with the ASCA National Model comprehensive school
school counseling program I-B-1a. Creates a vision statement counseling programs
that aligns with the ASCA examining the professional and I-B-2b. Identifies and applies a model
National Model personal competencies and of leadership to a
I-A-3. Impediments to student qualities a school counselor comprehensive school
learning and use of advocacy should possess counseling program
and data-driven school I-B-1b. Describes the rationale for a I-B-2c. Identifies and demonstrates
counseling practices to act comprehensive school professional and personal
effectively in closing the counseling program qualities and skills of effective
achievement/opportunity gap I-B-1c. Articulates the school leaders
I-A-4. Leadership principles and counseling themes of advocacy, I-B-2d. Identifies and applies
theories leadership, collaboration and components of the ASCA
I-A-5. Individual counseling, group systemic change, which are National Model requiring
counseling and classroom critical to a successful school leadership, such as an advisory
guidance programs ensuring counseling program. council, management system
equitable access to resources I-B-1d. Describes, defines and identifies and accountability
that promote academic the qualities of an effective I-B-2e. Creates a plan to challenge the
achievement; personal, social school counseling program non-counseling tasks that are
and emotional development; I-B-1e. Describes the benefits of a assigned to school counselors
and career development comprehensive school
including the identification of counseling program for all I-B-3. Advocates for student success
appropriate post-secondary stakeholders, including I-B-3a. Understands and defines
education for every student students, parents, teachers, advocacy and its role in
I-A-6. Collaborations with administrators, school boards, comprehensive school
stakeholders such as parents department of education, school counseling programs
and guardians, teachers, counselors, counselor educators, I-B-3b. Identifies and demonstrates
administrators and community community stakeholders and benefits of advocacy with
leaders to create learning business leaders school and community
environments that promote I-B-1f. Describes the history of school stakeholders
educational equity and success counseling to create a context I-B-3c. Describes school counselor
for every student for the current state of the advocacy competencies, which
I-A-7. Legal, ethical and professional profession and comprehensive include dispositions,
issues in pre-K—12 schools school counseling programs knowledge and skills
I-A-8. Developmental theory, I-B-1g. Uses technology effectively I-B-3d. Reviews advocacy models
learning theories, social justice and efficiently to plan, and develops a personal
theory, multiculturalism, organize, implement and advocacy plan
counseling theories and career evaluate the comprehensive I-B-3e. Understands the process for

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development of policy and I-C: ATTITUDES and developmental
procedures at the building, School counselors believe: issues affecting student success
district, state and national levels I-C-1. Every student can learn, and II-A-6 District, state and national
every student can succeed student standards and
I-B-4. Collaborates with parents, I-C-2. Every student should have competencies, including ASCA
teachers, administrators, access to and opportunity for a Student Competencies
community leaders and other high-quality education II-A-7 Legal and ethical standards
stakeholders to promote and 1-C-3. Every student should graduate and principles of the school
support student success from high school and be counseling profession and
I-B-4a. Defines collaboration and its prepared for employment or educational systems, including
role in comprehensive school college and other post- district and building policies
counseling programs secondary education II-A-8 Three domains of academic
I-B-4b. Identifies and applies models I-C-4. Every student should have achievement, career planning,
of collaboration for effective access to a school counseling and personal and social
use in a school counseling program development
program and understands the I-C-5. Effective school counseling is a
similarities and differences collaborative process involving II-B: ABILITIES AND SKILLS
between consultation, school counselors, students, An effective school counselor is able to accom-
collaboration and counseling parents, teachers, plish measurable objectives demonstrating the
and coordination strategies. administrators, community following abilities and skills.
I-B-4c. Creates statements or other leaders and other stakeholders II-B-1. Develops the beliefs and
documents delineating the I-C-6. School counselors can and philosophy of the school
various roles of student service should be leaders in the school counseling program that align
providers, such as school social and district with current school
worker, school psychologist, I-C-7. The effectivness of school improvement and student
school nurse, and identifies counseling programs should be success initiatives at the
best practices for collaborating measurable using process, school, district and state level
to affect student success perception and results data II-B-1a. Examines personal, district and
I-B-4d. Understands and knows how state beliefs, assumptions and
to apply a consensus-building II: Foundations philosophies about student
process to foster agreement in School counselors should possess the success, specifically what they
a group knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes should know and be able to do
I-B-4e. Understands how to facilitate necessary to establish the foundations II-B-1b. Demonstrates knowledge of a
group meetings to effectively of a school counseling program aligning school’s particular educational
and efficiently meet group goals with the ASCA National Model. philosophy and mission
II-B-1c. Conceptualizes and writes a
I-B-5. Acts as a systems change agent II-A: KNOWLEDGE personal philosophy about
to create an environment School counselors should articulate and students, families, teachers,
promoting and supporting demonstrate an understanding of: school counseling programs
student success II-A-1 Beliefs and philosophy of the and the educational process
I-B-5a. Defines and understands school counseling program consistent with the school’s
system change and its role in that align with current school educational philosophy and
comprehensive school improvement and student mission
counseling programs success initiatives at the
I-B-5b. Develops a plan to deal with school, district and state level II-B-2. Develops a school counseling
personal (emotional and II-A-2 Educational systems, mission statement aligning
cognitive) and institutional philosophies and theories and with the school, district and
resistance impeding the current trends in education, state mission.
change process including federal and state II-B-2a. Critiques a school district
I-B-5c. Understands the impact of legislation mission statement and
school, district and state II-A-3 Learning theories identifies or writes a mission
educational policies, II-A-4 History and purpose of school statement aligning with beliefs
procedures and practices counseling, including II-B-2b. Writes a school counseling
supporting and/or impeding traditional and transformed mission statement that is
student success roles of school counselors specific, concise, clear and
II-A-5 Human development theories comprehensive, describing a

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school counseling program’s professional development and focused brief counseling,
purpose and a vision of the uses resources to inform and reality therapy, cognitive-
program’s benefits every guide ethical and legal work behavioral therapy
student II-B-4i. Practices within the ethical III-A-3. Counseling theories and
II-B-2c. Communicates the philosophy and statutory limits of techniques in different
and mission of the school confidentiality settings, such as individual
counseling program to all II-B-4j. Continually seeks planning, group counseling
appropriate stakeholders consultation and supervision and classroom guidance
to guide legal and ethical III-A-4. Classroom management
II-B-3. Uses student standards, such decision making and to III-A-5. Principles of career planning
as ASCA Student recognize and resolve ethical and college admissions,
Competencies, and district or dilemmas including financial aid and
state standards, to drive the II-B-4k. Understands and applies an athletic eligibility
implementation of a ethical and legal obligation not III-A-6. Principles of working with
comprehensive school only to students but to parents, various student populations
counseling program administration and teachers as based on ethnic and racial
II-B-3a. Crosswalks the ASCA Student well background, English language
Competencies with other proficiency, special needs,
appropriate standards II-C: ATTITUDES religion, gender and income
II-B-3b. Prioritizes student standards School counselors believe: III-A-7. Responsive services
that align with the school’s II-C-1. School counseling is an III-A-8. Crisis counseling, including
goals organized program for every grief and bereavement
student and not a series of
II-B-4. Applies the ethical standards services provided only to III-B: ABILITIES AND SKILLS
and principles of the school students in need An effective school counselor is able to accom-
counseling profession and II-C-2. School counseling programs plish measurable objectives demonstrating the
adheres to the legal aspects of should be an integral following abilities and skills.
the role of the school counselor component of student success III-B-1. Implements the school
II-B-4a. Practices ethical principles of and the overall mission of guidance curriculum
the school counseling schools and school districts III-B-1a. Crosswalks ASCA Student
profession in accordance with II-C-3. School counseling programs Competencies with
the ASCA Ethical Standards promote and support academic appropriate guidance
for School Counselors achievement, personal and curriculum
II-B-4b. Understands the legal and social development and career III-B-1b. Develops and presents a
ethical nature of working in a planning for every student developmental guidance
pluralistic, multicultural, and II-C-4. School counselors operate curriculum addressing all
technological society. within a framework of school students’ needs, including
II-B-4c. Understands and practices in and district policies, state laws closing-the-gap activities
accordance with school district and regulations and III-B-1c. Demonstrates classroom
policy and local, state and professional ethics standards management and instructional
federal statutory requirements. skills
II-B-4d. Understands the unique legal III: Delivery III-B-1d. Develops materials and
and ethical nature of working School counselors should possess the instructional strategies to meet
with minor students in a knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes student needs and school goals
school setting. necessary to deliver a school counseling III-B-1e. Encourages staff involvement
II-B-4e. Advocates responsibly for program aligning with the ASCA to ensure the effective
school board policy, local, state National Model. implementation of the school
and federal statutory guidance curriculum
requirements that are in the III-A: KNOWLEDGE III-B-1f. Knows, understands and uses a
best interests of students School counselors should articulate and variety of technology in the
II-B-4f. Resolves ethical dilemmas by demonstrate an understanding of: delivery of guidance curriculum
employing an ethical decision- III-A-1. The concept of a guidance activities
making model appropriate to curriculum III-B-1g. Understands multicultural and
work in schools. III-A-2. Counseling theories and pluralistic trends when
II-B-4g. Models ethical behavior techniques that work in developing and choosing
II-B-4h. Continuously engages in school, such as solution- guidance curriculum

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III-B-1h. Understands the resources facilitation and substance abuse
available for students with III-B-3c. Compiles resources to utilize counseling, within a
special needs with students, staff and continuum of care
families to effectively address III-B-3m. Understands the role of the
III-B-2. Facilitates individual student issues through responsive school counselor and the
planning services school counseling program in
III-B-2a. Understands individual III-B-3d. Understands appropriate the school crisis plan
student planning as a individual and small-group
component of a comprehensive counseling theories and III-B-4 Implements system support
program. techniques such as rational activities for the
III-B-2b. Develops strategies to emotive behavior therapy, comprehensive school
implement individual student reality therapy, cognitive- counseling program
planning, such as strategies for behavioral therapy, Adlerian, III-B-4a. Creates a system support
appraisal, advisement, goal- solution-focused brief planning document addressing
setting, decision-making, social counseling, person-centered school counselor’s
skills, transition or post- counseling and family systems responsibilities for professional
secondary planning III-B-3e. Demonstrates an ability to development, consultation and
III-B-2c. Helps students establish goals, provide counseling for collaboration and program
and develops and uses students during times of management
planning skills in collaboration transition, separation, III-B-4b. Coordinates activities that
with parents or guardians and heightened stress and critical establish, maintain and
school personnel change enhance the school counseling
III-B-2d. Understands career III-B-3f. Understands what defines a program as well as other
opportunities, labor market crisis, the appropriate response educational programs
trends, and global economics, and a variety of intervention III-B-4c. Conducts in-service training
and uses various career strategies to meet the needs of for other stakeholders to share
assessment techniques to assist the individual, group, or school counseling expertise
students in understanding school community before, III-B-4d. Understands and knows how
their abilities and career during and after crisis to provide supervision for
interests response school counseling interns
III-B-2e. Helps students learn the III-B-3g. Provides team leadership to consistent with the principles
importance of college and the school and community in of the ASCA National Model
other post-secondary a crisis
education and helps students III-B-3h. Involves appropriate school III-C: ATTITUDES
navigate the college admissions and community professionals as School counselors believe:
process well as the family in a crisis III-C-1 School counseling is one
III-B-2f. Understands the relationship situation component in the continuum
of academic performance to III-B-3i. Develops a database of of care that should be available
the world of work, family life community agencies and to all students
and community service service providers for student III-C-2 School counselors coordinate
III-B-2g. Understands methods for referrals and facilitate counseling and
helping students monitor and III-B-3j. Applies appropriate counseling other services to ensure all
direct their own learning and approaches to promoting students receive the care they
personal/social and career change among consultees need, even though school
development within a consultation approach counselors may not personally
III-B-3k. Understands and is able to provide the care themselves
III-B-3. Provides responsive services build effective and high- III-C-3 School counselors engage in
III-B-3a. Understands how to make quality peer helper programs developmental counseling and
referrals to appropriate III-B-3l. Understands the nature of short-term responsive
professionals when necessary academic, career and counseling
III-B-3b. Lists and describes personal/social counseling in III-C-4 School counselors should refer
interventions used in schools and the similarities and students to district or
responsive services, such as differences among school community resources to meet
consultation, individual and counseling and other types of more extensive needs such as
small-group counseling, crisis counseling, such as mental long-term therapy or diagnoses
counseling, referrals and peer health, marriage and family, of disorders

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IV: Management organizations practices and procedures
School counselors should possess the IV-B-1e. Develops a yearly professional leading to successes, systemic
knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes development plan barriers and areas of weakness
necessary to manage a school counsel- demonstrating how the school IV-B-3c.Uses student data to
ing program aligning with the ASCA counselor advances relevant demonstrate a need for
National Model. knowledge, skills and systemic change in areas such
IV-A: KNOWLEDGE dispositions as course enrollment patterns;
School counselors should articulate and IVB-1f. Communicates effective goals equity and access; and the
demonstrate an understanding of: and benchmarks for achievement, opportunity and
IV-A-1. Leadership principles, meeting and exceeding information gap
including sources of power expectations consistent with IV-B-3d. Understands and uses data to
and authority, and formal and the administrator-counselor establish goals and activities
informal leadership agreement and district to close the achievement,
IV-A-2. Organization theory to performance appraisals opportunity and information
facilitate advocacy, IV-B-1g. Uses personal reflection, gap
collaboration and systemic consultation and supervision to IV-B-3e. Knows how to use and analyze
change promote professional growth data to evaluate the school
IV-A-3. Presentation skills for and development counseling program, research
programs such as teacher in- activity outcomes and identify
services and results reports to IV-B-2. Establishes and convenes an gaps between and among
school boards advisory council for the different groups of students
IV-A-4. Time management, including comprehensive school IV-B-3f. Uses school data to identify
long- and short-term counseling program and assist individual students
management using tools such IV-B-2a. Uses leadership skills to who do not perform at grade
as schedules and calendars facilitate vision and positive level and do not have
IV-A-5. Data-driven decision making change for the comprehensive opportunities and resources to
IV-A-6. Current and emerging school counseling program be successful in school
technologies such as use of IV-B-2b. Determines appropriate IV-B-3g. Knows and understands
the Internet, Web-based education stakeholders who theoretical and historical bases
resources and management should be represented on the for assessment techniques
information systems advisory council
IV-B-2c. Develops meeting agendas IV-B-4. Organizes and manages time
IV-B: ABILITIES AND SKILLS IV-B-2d. Reviews school data, school to implement an effective
An effective school counselor is able to accom- counseling program audit and school counseling program
plish measurable objectives demonstrating the school counseling program IV-B-4a. Identifies appropriate
following abilities and skills. goals with the council distribution of school
IV-B-1. Negotiates with the IV-B-2e. Records meeting notes and counselor’s time based on
administrator to define the distributes as appropriate delivery system and school’s
management system for the IV-B-2f. Analyzes and incorporates data
comprehensive school feedback from advisory IV-B-4b. Creates a rationale for school
counseling program council related to school counselor’s time to focus on
IV-B-1a. Discusses and develops the counseling program goals as the goals of the comprehensive
components of the school appropriate school counseling program
counselor management system IV-B-4c. Identifies and evaluates fair-
with the other members of the IV-B-3. Collects, analyzes and share responsibilities, which
counseling staff interprets relevant data, articulate appropriate and
IV-B-1b. Presents the school counseling including process, perception inappropriate counseling and
management system to the and results data, to monitor non-counseling activities
principal, and finalizes an and improve student behavior IV-B-4d. Creates a rationale for the
annual school counseling and achievement school counselor’s total time
management agreement IV-B-3a. Analyzes, synthesizes and spent in each component of the
IV-B-1c. Discusses the anticipated disaggregates data to examine school counseling program
program results when student outcomes and to
implementing the action plans identify and implement IV-B-5. Develops calendars to ensure
for the school year interventions as needed the effective implementation of
IV-B-1d. Participates in professional IV-B-3b. Uses data to identify policies, the school counseling program

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IV-B-5a. Creates annual, monthly and seling program aligning with the ASCA V-B-1i. Uses results obtained for
weekly calendars to plan National Model. program improvement
activities to reflect school goals
IV-B-5b. Demonstrates time V-A: KNOWLEDGE V-B-2. Understands and advocates for
management skills including School counselors should articulate and demon- appropriate school counselor
scheduling, publicizing and strate an understanding of: performance appraisal process
prioritizing time and task V-A-1. Basic concept of results-based based on school counselors
school counseling and competencies and compietion
IV-B-6. Designs and implements action accountability issues of the guidance curriculum
plans aligning with school and V-A-2. Basic research and statistical and agreed-upon action plans
school counseling program concepts to read and conduct V-B-2a. Conducts self-appraisal related
goals research to school counseling skills and
IV-B-6a. Uses appropriate academic V-A-3. Use of data to evaluate performance
and behavioral data to develop program effectiveness and to V-B-2b. Identifies how school
guidance curriculum and determine program needs counseling activities fit within
closing-the-gap action plan V-A-4. Program audits and results categories of performance
and determines appropriate reports appraisal instrument
students for the target group V-B-2c. Encourages administrators to
or interventions V-B: ABILITIES AND SKILLS use performance appraisal
IV-B-6b. Identifies ASCA domains, An effective school counselor is able to accom- instrument reflecting
standards and competencies plish measurable objectives demonstrating the appropriate responsibilities for
being addressed by the plan following abilities and skills. school counselors
IV-B-6c.Determines the intended impact V-B-1. Uses data from results reports
on academics and behavior to evaluate program V-B-3. Conducts a program audit
IV-B-6d. Identifies appropriate activities effectiveness and to determine V-B-3a. Completes a program audit to
to accomplish objectives program needs compare current school
IV-B-6e. Identifies appropriate V-B-1a. Uses formal and informal counseling program
resources needed methods of program evaluation implementation with the
IV-B-6f. Identifies data-collection to design and modify ASCA National Model
strategies to gather process, comprehensive school V-B-3b. Shares the results of the
perception and results data counseling programs program audit with
IV-B-6g. Shares results of action plans V-B-1b. Uses student data to support administrators, the advisory
with staff, parents and decision making in designing council and other appropriate
community. effective school counseling stakeholders
programs and interventions V-B-3c. Identifies areas for
IV-C: ATTITUDES V-B-1c. Measures results attained from improvement for the school
School counselors believe: school guidance curriculum counseling program
IV-C-1. A school counseling program and closing-the-gap activities
and guidance department must V-B-1d. Works with members of the V-C: ATTITUDES
be managed like other programs school counseling team and School counselors believe:
and departments in a school with the administration to V-C-1. School counseling programs
IV-C-2. One of the critical decide how school counseling should achieve demonstrable
responsibilities of a school programs are evaluated and results
counselor is to plan, organize, how results are shared V-C-2. School counselors should be
implement and evaluate a V-B-1e. Collects process, perception accountable for the results of
school counseling program and results data the school counseling program
IV-C-3. Management of a school V-B-1f. Uses technology in conducting V-C-3. School counselors should use
counseling program must be research and program quantitative and qualitative
done in collaboration with evaluation data to evaluate their school
administrators. V-B-1g. Reports program results to counseling program and to
professional school counseling demonstrate program results
V: Accountability community V-C-4. The results of the school
School counselors should possess the V-B-1h. Uses data to demonstrate the counseling program should be
knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes value the school counseling analyzed and presented in the
necessary to monitor and evaluate the program adds to student context of the overall school
processes and results of a school coun- achievement and district performance

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1101 King St., Suite 625
Alexandria, VA 22314-2944
www.schoolcounselor.org