Education & School Counseling

If you are interested in a career in education or school counseling, you are entering into a rewarding career. The education field provides opportunities at the K-12 and higher education level in teaching, counseling, administration, student affairs, and research. You will want to consider what best fits with your career goals and aspirations by exploring, discovering and learning about the profession. 

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K-12 Teaching


Most teaching credentials require undergraduate preparation and post-graduate work. Teaching credentialing is specific to each state that you want to work in. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for a career in teaching or school counseling and consider UC San Diego's credential programs:

The Department of Education Studies offers a joint Master of Education Degree/Teaching Credential Program. Graduates can apply to receive one of the following credentials

Teaching Credential for California

Two-tier credential structure
  • Five-year preliminary credential- issued after individual meets basic credential requirements
    • To obtain a Preliminary Credential which is valid only for 5 years, the following requirements must be met:
      • Bachelor's Degree or higher from a regionally accredited university
      • Teacher preparation program (credential program, including student teaching)
      • Basic Skills Requirement (CBEST- tests reading, math and writing)
      • Demonstrate subject matter competency with passage of California Subject Examinations for Teachers "CSET" for multiple subject or single subject
      • Developing English Language Skills (reading instruction course)
      • U.S. Constitution course
      • Foundational computer technology course
      • Credential specific requirement for single subject, multiple subject, education specialist
  • •Clear credential- issued when all credential requirements have been completed

K-12 Administration

Administrative Services Credential for California

  • Possess a valid prerequisite credential
    • Valid California clear teaching credential or valid Pupil Personnel Services Credential (counseling)
    • Other select credentials may be substituted
  • Complete one of the following:
    • A) Commission-approved program of specialized and professional preparation in administrative services
    • B) One-year Commission-approved administrative services intern program consisting of supervised in-service training
    • C) Achieve a passing score on the California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination (CPACE)
  • Satisfy the basic skills requirement
  • Complete five years of full-time experience
  • Verify employment in an administrative position

K-12 Counseling

Pupil Personnel Services Credential (counseling) for California

  • Clear Credential requirements- specializing in school counseling
    • Bachelors from accredited college or university
    • Post baccalaureate degree with minimum of 48 semester units in a Commission-approved professional preparation program specializing in school counseling, including a practicum with school-aged children
    • Recommendation from program/school
    • Complete the Basic Skills requirement
    • Complete the LiveScan fingerprint process
    • Pay application processing fee
  • Other specializations: School Social Work, School Psychology, Child Welfare and attendance 

Higher Education



  • Master’s degree in counseling, rehabilitation counseling, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, guidance counseling, educational counseling, social work, or career development, marriage and family therapy, or marriage, family and child counseling, OR the equivalent. (NOTE: A Bachelor’s degree in one of the above listed degrees and a license as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is an alternative qualification for this discipline.)
  • Additional qualifications/training as determined by district
  • Council for the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programming

Student Affairs/Student Services

  • Academic affairs
  • Admissions, enrollment, financial aid, and orientation
  • Alumni and advancement
  • Campus life
  • Counseling, health, and wellness
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Residence Life
  • Sports and recreation
  • Master’s degree in education, student affairs, education leadership, higher education administration and policy, assessment and measurement, educational psychology, curriculum & instruction, etc. 

Non-Profit & Private Industry

Education positions in the non-profit and private industry generally revolve around developing education programs and research. Below are examples of types of organizations and companies focused on education.  To learn more about their positions, go to the organizations websites. 

  • Professional organizations (NAFSA, NACADA)
  • Labor unions (National Education Association)
  • Think tanks (RAND, Brookings Institute)
  • Government (Dept of  Education, UNESCO)
  • Private foundation and corporations (Gates, Tiger Woods, Annenberg, Google, Getty)
  • Consulting (Bain & Company, Maximus)
  • Non-profit (Relief International, Khan Academy)

Student Involvement

There are some student groups that provide opportunities in getting exposure to education and school counseling field and community.  Students are encouraged to explore any student group of interest and not necessarily limited to teaching and school counseling groups.  A comprehensive list of all student groups and opportunities can be found at the Center for Student Involvement. 

Explore the Profession

Academic Preparation

While there are no preferred majors, you can take classes in a number of departments including but not limited to HistoryPolitical ScienceSociology, Math, English or Public Service. If desired courses are not already covered in your major/minor/General Education requirements you may also consider courses offered through Education Studies (EDS) offers over 50 courses throughout the year focused on teaching and learning, learning environments, language and culture, and schools and society.

In addition, EDS offers practicum courses that place students in high need P-12 schools in the San Diego area. Many of these courses meet the UCSD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Requirement and a variety of college requirements as well.

EDS Course Catalog
PAL Courses that satisfy College Requirements

Get Experience

The Partners at Learning (PAL) program, through UC San Diego's Education Studies, provides opportunities for UCSD students to work with underserved P-12 students and schools.

Every year students in UCSD's Service-Learning courses work with hundreds of students on an individual basis to provide mentoring and tutoring at more than twenty area schools, contributing over 20,000 volunteer hours.

Other opportunities include:

Apply to Graduate School

Before applying to graduate school, you want to consider whether graduate school is right for you.  You want to ask yourself if you actually need a graduate degree to do your ideal job.  To explore that, try looking at some job descriptions of the types of positions you want and see what they are asking for in an applicant.  Once you've determine if graduate school is necessary then you want to select and apply to the program that best fits your professional goals.

Researching programs

Application Process

Paying for graduate school

Additional Resources

Sample list of National Associations

California Credentialing

Job Boards

For additional help, come into the Career Services Center or schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor via Port Triton. Learn more about your Career Advisors and their specializations at the staff directory page.