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School Counseling

Direct Entry: School Counseling

The purpose of the school counseling program is to prepare counselors to provide support services at the elementary, middle and/or high school levels.

Formerly titled Parallel Pathways, this master's program is designed for candidates who do not hold a teaching license. Full-time students and working professionals prepare to meet the needs of PreK-12 students. A portion of the program is available online. Candidates may complete the program at the Emporia campus or at the Overland Park ESU-KC campus.

Since 1947, Emporia State University has prepared more school counselors than any other Kansas college or university.

Our program is one of only two School Counseling programs in Kansas accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Our curriculum is designed for individuals wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of children and adolescents.

With about half of our courses offered online, our program is designed to meet the needs of both full-time students and working professionals.

Candidates may complete the program through the ESU campus in Emporia or at ESU-KC in Overland Park, Kansas. All courses at this location are offered in late afternoons, evenings or online during the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters.

There are three ways to enter the school counseling program:

People who hold a teaching certificate and have two years of teaching experience in order to meet school counselor licensure requirements in Kansas.

People who have degrees in counseling related fields can enroll in the Alternative Route to Restricted Licensure program.

Through Direct Entry (formerly Parallel Pathways), the requirements of a teaching license and two years of teaching experience are waived, allowing applicants with a bachelor's degree in another discipline to enter a master's program in School Counseling.

Procedure for Teacher Licensure

Upon completion of the requirements, you are responsible for applying for licensure by contacting the Certification Office of Emporia State University. The Certification Officer then recommends to the Kansas State Department of Education that the student be endorsed in the appropriate area as a teacher of learners with behavior disorders, learning disabilities, mental retardation, or gifts and talents.

The department will recommend a student for full licensure when all the requirements for the program have been completed. A grade of B or better must be earned in both practicum courses to receive a recommendation.

MS - School Counseling, Thesis and Non-thesis Options

Our program is designed to fit your needs as a working professional.

Program Resources

Your portal to our program's orientation materials, and information on practicum/internship, comp exam, professional organizations, and employment.

Annual Fall Conference for Counselors

Emporia State University's annual conference draws professionals from across the state. Review past program offerings and find out about the next conference.

School Counselor Center

The School Counselor Center assists school counselors with various needs. A major goal of the Center is to create a library of current materials to have readily available to school counselors for a small shipping and handling fee. Items may be checked out for four weeks or less.


The School Counseling Program is regionally accredited by the North Central Association. In addition, it is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the Kansas State Department of Education, and - since 1997 - by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I practice?

Once you have completed your master's degree in school counseling at ESU you will be eligible to apply for licensure in Kansas. You must also complete a Praxis exam required by the Kansas State Department of Education followed by a two-semester, post-degree internship as you begin your work as a school counselor.

Who can I contact to find out detailed information about the School Counseling program?

Susana Ortiz by email at or by phone at 620-341-5796.