The following is testimony submitted to the House Education Committee by Molly Macek on May 8, 2023.
Modifying the requirements for issuing a Michigan school counselor license may increase the pool of professionals available to fill this important role in public schools.
The current school counselor licensure requirements create an unnecessary obstacle for individuals pursuing a school counselor position. The rigorous process deters otherwise qualified professionals from obtaining licensure that would allow them to provide their services in schools. Policy that eases eligibility requirements is an important step towards staffing the state’s public schools with licensed counselors.
Senate Bill 162 facilitates the process of obtaining a Michigan school counselor license. It does this by removing certain requirements and expanding eligibility to individuals who hold a school counselor license from another state, country, or federally recognized Indian tribe and have served as a counselor for three years and passed the Department of Education school counselor exam. It also includes criteria for issuing a preliminary school counselor license and allows the issuance of a temporary license to individuals who have met all licensure requirements except the successful completion of the school counselor examination.
By easing the requirements and expanding eligibility to obtain a Michigan school counselor license, the proposed changes would increase the pool of professionals who qualify for a counselor position in the state’s public schools. In turn, schools would be better equipped to meet their students’ mental health needs.
Molly Macek is the director of education policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.