Texas School Counselor Certification Exam: Study Guide & Practice Test

What Is the TExES School Counselor Certification Exam (TExES 252)?

The TExES 252 is the new Texas education agency counselor certification. It launched in September of 2021 and replaced the TExES 152. The TExES 152 will remain available for a short time. As the new certification test for school counselors, the TExES 252 is designed to assess educators to determine whether their level of knowledge and skills meets entry-level standards. There are four domains of knowledge included in the assessment, each consisting of several core competencies test-takers will need to know to pass. A total of five (5) hours is scheduled per testing appointment. Because the test is computer-based, testers are allotted 15 minutes to review the tutorial and complete the compliance agreement before their testing time starts. Testers will have the remaining 4 hours and 45 minutes to complete 90 multiple choice questions and one essay question. The number of questions for each domain and the core domain focus are as follows: human development and how learners learn, an overview of the school counseling program itself, practices and standards for professional school counselors, and how to analyze students' strengths and needs to create an effective individual approach. The Texas school counselor exam registration is available year-round with a $200 fee to schedule.

Domain I: Knowledge of Learners

This domain includes two core competency areas and comprises 18% of the exam, equating to approximately 17 questions.

Core Competency 001: Human Development and Learning includes:

  • Developmental Progression & Variation: cognitive, emotional, language, motor, physical and social development in children and teens, including the challenges that arise during different stages, how to support students in all areas.
  • Learning Theories: understanding of how students gain knowledge and develop skills, how to address challenges effectively, and how variations in development can impact learning.
  • Application of Knowledge: additional factors that impact behavior, development and learning; special needs; appropriate strategies for helping students learn; and effective planning and implementation of strategies.

Core Competency 002: Diversity and Cultural Competence includes:

  • Diverse Characteristics: how characteristics such as race, culture, gender identity, learning styles, cognitive abilities influence students' strengths and challenges.
  • Inclusive Learning: developing an inclusive learning community, using diversity to enrich learning, and fostering awareness, respect, and appreciation for all students.
  • Strategies: teaching about bias, discrimination, oppression, prejudice, and stereotyping, how these issues impact students, and how to address inappropriate behaviors.

Domain II: The Comprehensive School Counseling Program

This domain includes five (5) core competency areas and comprises 44% of the test or approximately 40 questions.

Competency 003: Guidance includes:

  • Analyze Data: how to analyze data to help identify strengths and needs of students.
  • Review: procedures to review student performance and progress.
  • Curriculum Development: lesson plan development and strategies the support student goal setting and attainment.

Competency 004: Responsive Services includes:

  • Prevention: designing and implementing services that develop resiliency and effective student coping strategies.
  • Intervention: multi-tiered support systems integrating data and other factors.
  • Counseling: appropriate methods of counseling individuals and groups to identify problems and develop solutions, work with parents and guardians to support students, as well as recognize and effectively address mental health and trauma-related issues.

Competency 005: Individual Planning includes:

  • Planning: methods for helping students take ownership of their educational development, create goals, and track progress.
  • Preparation: strategies for helping students select appropriate courses of study to meet and prepare for their educational and/or career development goals.
  • Facilitation: resources and procedures to support students in applying for programs and seeking financial aid.

Competency 006: Systems Support includes:

  • School Development: Participate in school improvement as part of the decision-making teams.
  • Program Development: Apply knowledge of developing and implementing schoolwide programs to address student needs, and design professional growth programs to support staff and parents and guardians.
  • Community Connection: strategies for developing collaborative teamwork among school, community, and student family members to support student success.

Competency 007: Program Management includes:

  • Foundation Building: developing a mission statement and defining resource allocation, program rationale and parameters.
  • Implementation & Goal Setting: define and implement goals and priorities aligned with "The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs", and communicate about the school counseling program with all stakeholders.
  • Evaluating: gather and analyze appropriate data, measurements and methods to adapt and improve the school counseling program.

Domain III: The Professional School Counselor

This domain includes two core competency areas and comprises 18% of the exam, about 17 questions.

Competency 008: Communication, Consultation, and Collaboration includes:

  • Methods and Strategies: apply appropriate forms of communication to collaborate with all stakeholders, including school staff, students, community members, and parents/guardians.
  • Resources: access and facilitate referrals to appropriate resources both within the school and community.
  • Involvement: integrate parents/guardians into the education process and communicate assessment information appropriately.

Competency 009: Professional Practice includes:

  • Roles & Responsibilities: understanding the history and philosophy of school counseling programs, demonstrating knowledge of "The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs" and effectively communicating and advocating for school counselors' appropriate identification.
  • Legal & Ethical Standards: apply knowledge of federal, state, and local laws, as well as ethical standards as they relate to various school counseling contexts.
  • Self-Assessment & Leadership: demonstrate self-assessment and leadership strategies to promote and improve professional practice and school environment and student outcomes.

Domain IV: Analysis and Response

This domain includes one core competency areas and comprises 20% of the exam, or approximately 18 questions.

Core Competency 010: Analysis and Response includes:

  • Analyze: interpret data to identify students' strengths and needs in relation to the career, educational, personal or social areas of their lives.
  • Implement: integrate various approaches to design an appropriate method of addressing students' needs.
  • Assess: evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in relation to students' needs.

Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.

How Do I Register for the TExES 252 Exam?

To register for the Texas school counselor exam, testers need to pay the $200 exam fee, plus any additional fees that may apply. Testers can pay up fees to 170 days ahead of the test itself.

TExES 252 test dates are available year-round, and testers must agree to abide by all rules and policies. Testing is done on a computer. No materials or personal items are allowed in the testing area, except the tester's government-issued ID to prove their identity. Testers must arrive on time. If they are more than 15 minutes late, they will not be allowed entry and will be considered absent, forfeiting all registration fees.

If the tester is unable to attend their originally scheduled TExES 252 test date, or unable to test within 170 days of TExES registration, they must reschedule, cancel or withdraw at least 48 hours before the test start time or the end of the 170 registration period in order to receive a refund. Not all fees are refundable.

Texas school counselor exam registration may include additional steps, depending on your level of experience in the field, so it is best to plan ahead.

How Do I Prepare for the TExES 252 Exam?

The Texas education agency counselor certification exam is scored between 100 and 300 points. The passing score for the TExES 252 is 240. Because the TExES 252 was made available in Sept 2021, there is a period in which testers will not know their actual score and only receive a Pass/Fail designation. TExES exam results are available online only within 28 days of testing.

The best way to prepare for the Texas school counselor certification exam is to take advantage of the TExES 252 study guide and online TExES 252 practice test. Following is a general overview of steps and tips for testers to use:

  • Learn about what the exam covers. There are different versions of the test itself, although they cover the same domains and core competencies.
  • Review all study guides and preparation materials thoroughly. There is a TExES school counselor exam review available online. Because study habits and learning methods are individual, use the best methods for you.
  • Evaluate yourself honestly as you go. For example, when taking a TExES practice test, pay attention to how often you peak at the preparation materials. Since these materials won't be allowed during the actual exam, it's vital to ensure you are not overestimating your readiness.
  • Use the TExES 252 study guide to learn strategies for approaching different types of questions effectively. Paying special attention to this information can help increase your chances of passing the TExES exam.
  • While preparing, gather additional materials that will help you, including any books or notes from courses you took that covered the same information, materials from college or local libraries on the subject area, and talk with a teacher or professor who can help.
  • Make sure to plan and organize your time well. For example, choose a testing date that's far enough out to ensure you have the time you need, work backward from that date to create a study schedule for yourself, and then make sure you stick to it.
  • When creating your study plan, start by defining the areas the exam will cover and then comparing that to the strengths and weaknesses in your knowledge. While it is wise to prepare in all areas, allow extra time to strengthen the weak ones.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice. Use the TExES school counselor exam review practice test to evaluate your progress and get used to taking the test.

Additional tips to keep in mind:

  • There is no penalty for incorrect answers. If you don't know an answer, eliminate any obvious wrong answers first, and then make your best guess.
  • There are no trick questions.
  • There are no patterns to the answers on the test. Take each question individually, and choose the answer you believe is correct based on your knowledge.
  • Pace yourself throughout the exam. If a question is too difficult, you can note it on the erasable sheet provided by the test administrator and then go back to it if you have additional time.
  • Make sure to read all possible answers before selecting one, and then re-read the question to ensure you don't miss a "NOT" or another keyword that would change how you answer.
  • On exam day, make sure you are well-rested, bring your government-issued ID, arrive at least 30 minutes early, and wear comfortable, layered clothing. You'll be testing for up to 5 hours and will want to be comfortable with minimal distractions.

If you know what to expect, have prepared effectively, and are ready on exam day, you will be giving yourself the best chance of achieving the passing score for TExES 252 and launching a successful career.

Expert Contributor

Andrea Pickens

Andrea Pickens, Ed.D. has worked in the field of education for over 7 years, including more than 4 years as a middle and high school science teacher. As the Science Content Lead at her school, Andrea provides instructional support and resources to other educators. Andrea has passed the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 exam and the TExES 4-8 Science exam. She completed an Ed.D. at Baylor University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction at Texas A&M University.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I become a school counselor in Texas?

    There are several steps requires to become a school counselor in Texas:

    1. Complete an approved Educator Preparation Program

    2. Hold a master's degree from an accredited program

    3. Complete the required testing

    4. Pass a background check

    5. Have at least two years of classroom experience

  • What is a passing score on the TExES 152?

    Both the TExES 152 and 252 are scored between 100 and 300, and require a score of at least 240 to pass.

  • How many questions are on the TExES 152?

    There are 100 questions on the TExES 152 certification exam, while there are only around 90 questions on the TExES 252.

  • What is the name of the license certificate in Texas for school counseling?

    Since 2004, the "Texas Professional School Counselor" has evolved to become the only designation to certify school counselors in Texas.


Take a TExES School Counselor Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge of TExES School Counselor.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

You have answered 0 out of 15 correctly.

The correct answers are highlighted with green below.

  1. Scott a ninth grade honors student has handwriting which is often illegible, even to himself. His inability to write clearly after years of practice is most likely due to his:
    • Correct Answer
  2. Mrs. Jackson, a school counselor, is working with a student who has just moved into the school district from another country. She would like to pair him up with a peer who is able to help him to learn and thrive as he adjusts to the new community. In doing so, Mrs. Jackson utilizes Lev Vygotsky's theory. According to Lev Vygotsky, children learn best by:

    • Correct Answer
  3. In order for an education to be considered non-discriminatory it must meet the following guidelines:

    • Correct Answer
  4. Which of the following answer choices best reflects considerations teachers must make when using the extinction technique?

    • Correct Answer
  5. As a holistic health counselor, you will be primarily concerned with

    • Correct Answer
  6. Kip is one of Mr. Steinbach's best students. He has a 3.6 grade point average, holds a part-time job at the supermarket, has several close friends and has aspirations of going to a technical college to become an electrician. Mr. Steinbach heard Kip mentioning to his friend that he occasionally smokes marijuana and sometimes has a couple of beers at night. Which of these describes Kip:
    • Correct Answer
  7. The teacher notices that Chris likes to play by himself no matter how much she encourages to play with others. Chris tens to fixate on one particular activity, which he then constantly interjects into all discussions. He often uses very precise adult sounding terms when the teacher asks him a question. She believes he may have:
    • Correct Answer
  8. Which of the following is NOT an example of a gross motor skill?

    • Correct Answer
  9. Elk Creek High School students participate in career classes with their guidance counselors, who help students explore various post-high school and career options. Some students are unsure of their decisions at graduation time. In this stage when an individual has explored various options, yet has not committed, This is known as:

    • Correct Answer
  10. Which of the following is NOT an aspect of alternative instruction
    • Correct Answer
  11. The highest academic degree of most high school guidance counselor?s is
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  12. Martin is a school counselor who has been talking to a student for several weeks about academic performance, and she finally admitted she was being bullied and was afraid to attend certain classes. What are some intervention steps Martin can take?

    • Correct Answer
  13. When an individual fluctuates between depression and mania, he or she may have:

    • Correct Answer
  14. This was founded by Urie Bronfenbrenner and tells us that personal environments affect individuals in various ways. This is known as the:

    • Correct Answer
  15. Mrs. Abrams and Mrs. Paul are teachers in the same school. Which of the following is NOT an example of co- teaching
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