Frequently Asked Questions: MS in Counseling (PPS)

The master’s degree in school counseling can be completed in three years.

The program is completed on a full-time schedule, with students completing two courses per semester. In the fall and spring, students come to campus once per week for two back-to-back courses in the evening. In the summer, students come to campus twice per week for two back-to-back courses each evening.

You may complete the master’s in school counseling in California at either our Thousand Oaks or Oxnard location. Courses are offered once per week at 4 p.m. and then 7 p.m. (In the summer, you will be on campus twice per week.)

Students should expect to commit 10 to 12 hours to the program each week: 6 hours in class and an additional 4 to 6 hours on coursework.

Students can choose to complete an optional Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA) Specialization as part of their master’s in school counseling with PPS credential.

The specialization includes one additional course (3 credits), which requires up to 150 hours of additional field study. Learn more about the CWA specialization on our curriculum page.

The MS in Counseling (PPS) requires a combined 800 field hours from Field Studies in School Counseling I and Field Studies in School Counseling II. Students must also complete 100 additional hours for the Practicum course.

Upon graduation from the MS in Counseling (PPS), you will be eligible for the Clear Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential offered by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Students who choose to pursue the Child Welfare and Attendance Specialization are also eligible for the CWA authorization.

The State of California requires the Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential for anyone who wants to work in K-12 public schools as counselors, social workers or psychologists.

The PPS credential is divided into specialization areas, each with its own set of requirements:

  • School counseling
  • School social work
  • School psychology
  • Child welfare and attendance services

You can view the requirements for each specialization on the Commission on Teacher Credentialing website.

Cal Lutheran’s MS in Counseling (PPS) program fulfills the education and experience requirements for the Added Authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA).

Those with the CWA credential will be authorized to perform the following duties:

  • Access appropriate services from both public and private providers, including law enforcement and social services.
  • Provide staff development to school personnel regarding state and federal laws pertaining to due process and child welfare and attendance laws.
  • Address school policies and procedures that inhibit academic success.
  • Implement strategies to improve student attendance.
  • Participate in schoolwide reform efforts.
  • Promote understanding and appreciation of those factors that affect the attendance of culturally-diverse student populations.

To be eligible and qualified to work as a school counselor in California, students must:
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Complete a minimum of 48 credits of post baccalaureate degree study
  • Receive formal recommendation from a California college or university
  • Complete the Basic Skills Requirement
  • Complete the Live Scan fingerprint process
  • Pay the application processing fee
For more details about how to get the PPS credential and how to become a school counselor in California, visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing site.

The Master of Science in Counseling and Pupil Personnel Services is geared towards learners who want to assist students in K-12 settings. You should pursue the Master of Science in Counseling and College Student Personnel if you’re interested in working with college and university students.

There are a variety of university resources available to students in the MS in school counseling program, including:
  • Career Services
  • Program advisement
  • Library/research
  • Graduate Writing Community
  • Diversity and culture
  • Veteran resources
  • Fitness/intramural sports
  • Health services
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Graduate and Professional Student Council

Yes, Cal Lutheran offers a variety of funding options from internal and external sources. These include:
  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Veterans benefits
  • Employer discounts
Visit our financial aid page for detailed information. You can also call a graduate admission counselor at 805-493-3325 to learn more about funding your education.

Cal Lutheran being designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) signifies that we meet specific criteria set by the U.S. Department of Education, primarily that at least 25% of our full-time undergraduate student population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Being an HSI reflects Cal Lutheran’s broader commitment to diversity and community engagement. We offer a wide range of resources and opportunities, including scholarships, mentorship programs and courses that celebrate Hispanic cultures and heritage. We believe in creating a supportive space where students from all backgrounds can thrive and make lasting connections.

Cal Lutheran warmly welcomes individuals of all faiths and belief systems. Our inclusive community does not require affiliation with any church, religion or religious organization. We embrace diversity in all walks of life, so that every member of our community feels valued and respected.

We’re happy to help. You can talk to a graduate admission counselor at 805-493-3325. You can also email your questions to

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