The Educational Specialist degree in counselor education leads to advanced certification for school counselors. Successful completion of the program results in eligibility to be recommended for Class AA (specialist-level) certification as a school counselor.

Admission Requirements

Admission requires valid, master's level certification in School Counseling and at least two full years of full-time acceptable professional educational work experience in a P-12 school system.

An entrance exam score (GRE score of at least 300 or the 50th percentile or above on the MAT) is needed for regular admission.

Admission requirements for the Graduate School (Admission Criteria) and the College of Education (General Admission) are detailed in earlier sections of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 hours of appropriate work beyond the MA degree in Counselor Education (School Counseling) and the completion of a comprehensive exam are required for the educational specialist degree. The course of study includes:

  • foundations of professional studies, 6 hrs
  • educational research, 3 hrs
  • instructional support area courses, 12 hrs
  • electives (which may be specified), 9 hrs (If a survey of special education course has not been completed, SPE 500 is required.)

A list of courses that fulfill these requirements may be obtained from the Counselor Education office.    

The Graduate Catalog is published annually. Program checklists may be updated more frequently and are  likely to provide the most up-to-date information about requirements. Students should obtain the most recent program checklists from their program advisors.

Please note: Courses taken for the prerequisite Class A certification and credits over six years old cannot be counted toward this degree. The certification programs of the department have been designed to fulfill current requirements of the Alabama State Board of Education.

In order to maintain compliance with the Alabama State Board of Education, admission and program requirements are subject to change. For the most current information, please check with the Office of Student Services and Certification or the Program in Counselor Education.


To be awarded Alabama Class AA School Counselor certification, students must:

  • maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 (effective July 1, 2017) on all courses with no grade below a C
  • receive a passing score on a comprehensive assessment documenting mastery of the curriculum
  • hold valid, prerequisite Alabama Class A School Counselor certification
  • complete an application for certification through the Alabama State Department of Education