FTCE Guidance & Counseling PK-12 Practice Test & Study Guide

About the Florida School Counselor Certification Exam

Teacher certification candidates have been required to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE) since 1980. This test consists of reading, writing, mathematics, and professional knowledge and is designed to ensure candidates demonstrate the proper pedagogical knowledge to effectively teach students in Florida.

In order to take the FTCE, one must complete a bachelor's degree from a Florida, state-approved teacher preparation program. After passing all three portions of the FTCE, if candidates wish to become a guidance counselor, they must obtain the FTCE passing score on the School Counseling PK-12 exam. This is a computer-based test consisting of approximately 100-multiple choice questions. The FTCE Guidance & Counseling PK-12 (018) exam covers content in ten different FTCE competencies that primarily measures how well a candidate can demonstrate knowledge of programs, interventions, assessment, ethical and legal considerations, advisement of students, etc.

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

Florida School Counselor Certification Exam Competencies and Skills

The FTCE School Counseling PK-12 exam covers several competencies and requires a number of skills. The test measures the knowledge of:

  1. Counseling
  2. Programs and mediations for addressing current concerns in schools
  3. Assessment in encouraging student success
  4. Career development and postsecondary opportunities
  5. Consultation, collaboration, and coordination
  6. Professional, ethical, and legal considerations
  7. Student appraisal and advisement
  8. Development and evaluation of exemplary comprehensive school counseling programs
  9. Technology and digital citizenship
  10. Cultural competence for school counselors

Knowledge of Counseling (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Apply evidence-based counseling theories in schools (such as cognitive behavioral, person centered, family system, choice, Adlerian, etc.)
  • Know how to adjust counseling techniques to meet the needs of diverse populations.
  • Analyze the ways in which identity, personality, learning, and human development theories are closely related to counseling theories.
  • Possess the ability to determine criteria for choosing proper modes of counseling interventions for individuals, small groups, and classroom settings.
  • Analyze therapeutic factors, processes, and procedures in counseling groups.
  • Apply listening, responding, and leadership skills for leading small and large groups.

Knowledge of programs and interventions for addressing current issues in schools (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Apply evidence-based strategies that encourage academic, career, and social-emotional student aptitudes.
  • Implement principles and practices of crisis planning and response (such as responses to a death, violent acts, trauma, etc.).
  • Evaluate and apply preventative programs and proper interventions to address high-risk student behaviors with a comprehensive school counseling program.
  • Apply principles and practices of peer helper programs.
  • Interpret the components and themes that make up the ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs and how these elements contribute to an effective comprehensive school counseling program.

Knowledge of assessment in promoting student success (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Apply basic measurement ideas (such as validity, norming, reliability etc.) in school counseling settings.
  • Analyze factors that impact student performance and influence test results and ways to address these factors in a comprehensive school counseling program.
  • Analyze major tasks, strengths, and limitations of various standardized and non-standardized assessments.
  • Apply effective methods of gathering and synthesizing data from different sources for a comprehensive assessment of a student and proper methods for explaining data to others.
  • Apply procedures for the ethical and responsible use of formal and informal evaluation results from different sources to improve student educational results.

Knowledge of career development and postsecondary opportunities (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Analyze principles of important career development theories and resources, including evaluations.
  • Apply school counseling strategies and activities that address the readiness of students for college and their careers regarding decision-making approaches for students in different stages of career development.
  • Apply procedures of formal and informal career evaluations and data-driven approaches for assessing the college and career readiness of students.
  • Apply proper college and career readiness counseling modalities and school-wide approaches across levels that encourage lifelong learning and career success.
  • Compare and contrast resources that provide students with precise information about postsecondary career and technical education options and opportunities for financial assistance.
  • Apply counseling interventions to address the barriers diverse populations face.

Knowledge of constitution, collaboration, and coordination (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Analyze pieces crucial to a school-based consultation model.
  • Apply strategies, procedures, and processes for working with stakeholders and using data, resources, and technology to encourage equity, success, and well-being for students.
  • Apply proper procedures and follow-up methods for student transitions.
  • Apply methods for communicating with stakeholders to explain the advantages of a comprehensive school counseling program.
  • Apply methods for accessing school and community resources to make proper in-school and out-of-school referrals.
  • Apply effective methods and skills for communicating with stakeholders.

Knowledge of professional, ethical, and legal considerations (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Analyze the history and foundations of school counseling.
  • Apply legal standards applicable to school counseling procedures and practices.
  • Apply professional and ethical standards and position statements of the American School Counselor Association.
  • Understand the legal rights of students and parents or guardians regarding student records.
  • Understand federal and state legislation concerning students with disabilities, undocumented students, and students who are homeless.
  • Apply approaches related to the role of a school counselor as an advocate and leader to encourage and support educational equity, inclusiveness, and student success in both the school and community.

Knowledge of student appraisal and advisement (10%

Candidates must:

  • Apply effective tactics for promoting awareness of graduation requirements, application and admission processes among educational levels, and financial resources.
  • Comprehend academic assessment data for suitable educational placement and development for all student populations.
  • Apply principles and practices for aiding all students with curriculum paths to effectively prepare for secondary and postsecondary educational or employment pathways.
  • Apply systemic practices that foster equity and access for every student.

Knowledge of the development and assessment of exemplary comprehensive school counseling programs (12%)

Candidates must:

  • Apply program evaluation strategies utilized in a comprehensive school counseling program based on the American School Counselor Association model.
  • Analyze needs assessment practices, various types of data, and their role in leading program goals and objectives for a comprehensive school counseling program.
  • Analyze the reasons, types, and basic steps of program evaluation and relevant follow-up activities, including the gathering and analysis of data related to a comprehensive school counseling program.
  • Apply strategies for advancement monitoring and for sharing program results with all stakeholders to effect systemic modification.
  • Apply effective approaches for distributing materials and resources to all stakeholders as part of a comprehensive school counseling curriculum.
  • Apply practices for recognizing and closing achievement, attendance, behavior, resource, opportunity, and informational gaps.

Knowledge of technology and digital citizenship (8%)

Candidates must:

  • Apply proper use of technology in supporting student learning and development.
  • Apply suitable use of technology for managing, storing, and reporting student data.
  • Apply proper use of technology in planning, organizing, delivering, and assessing a comprehensive school counseling program.
  • Evaluate legal, ethical, and cultural considerations of technological applications.
  • Implement strategies for educating students about proper and responsible use of technology and the principles of digital citizenship.
  • Analyze present trends in technology and the impact on learning and development.

Knowledge of cultural competence for school counselors (10%)

Candidates must:

  • Evaluate multicultural, pluralistic, and social justice difficulties when creating school counseling plans and developing program goals and purposes.
  • Explore the characteristics, needs, and concerns of culturally diverse populations.
  • Implement techniques for creating and utilizing culturally responsive curriculum and services for diverse students and families.
  • Analyze the ethical responsibility of the counselor to recognize and deal with their own biases.
  • Apply multicultural and social justice theories, inclusive strategies, and language that eradicates biases and discriminations within the school and community.
  • Apply social justice strategies for advocating against oppressive systemic obstacles and leading proposals to encourage a constructive and safe school climate for all students.

Format of the Florida School Counselor Certification Exam

The Florida school counseling PK-12 exam, required in order to receive Florida school counselor certification, is a computer-based FTCE subject area exam with approximately 100-multiple choice questions. The exam must be completed within 2 hours and 30 minutes (including any bathroom breaks the candidate needs to take). Competencies 1-7 and competency 10 consist of approximately 10% of the exam, while competency 8 is approximately 12% and competency 9 is approximately 8% of the exam.

What Are the Question Types?

The FTCE School Counselor PK-12 exam has two question types: direct questions and scenario questions.

  • Direct questions require the response that best answers the question. These questions may ask candidates what principles underline a specific theory or approach, for example.
  • Scenario questions require the candidates to examine the situation, issue, or case study. Then, candidates will answer a question, make a diagnosis, or recommend something by selecting the most accurate response.

Registration and Fees

In order for candidates to receive their Florida school counselor certification, they must complete the following in order to register for the FTCE exam:

  1. Log in to your FTCE/FELE account. First-time users will be required to create an account.
  2. Click Register for the FTCE/FELE to select a test, answer background questions, and agree to testing policies.
  3. Under Open Registrations, click Schedule to select the test site, date, and time.
  4. Review your registration and submit your payment of $150 using a credit, debit, or check card. Registration fees can be paid using a credit card (VISA, MasterCard, or American Express) or a debit or check card that shows a VISA or MasterCard logo and can be used without the entry of a personal identification number (PIN).

The only way candidates may receive a refund is to cancel their FTCE registration at least 24 hours before the testing appointment. Cancellations must be made online and cannot be made by phone.


Candidates must score at least a 200 on the FTCE School Counselor PK-12 exam. This exam is a scale score, meaning candidates receive a raw score on the FTCE, and it is then converted to a common measure called a scale score. Scale scores allow multiple forms of a test to share a common minimum FTCE passing score. Unofficial pass/non-pass status is typically provided immediately after testing. However, onsite reporting may not be available for tests being redeveloped or revised. Official score reports are released within 4 weeks of testing.

Candidates who do not pass the FTCE School Counselor PK-12 exam must wait 31 calendar days after taking the test or after attending a score verification session before retaking; or three years after taking a test for which a candidate received a passing score. Otherwise, the score for the retake will be invalidated and no score report will be issued. Candidates must pay the FTCE retake fee of $150 per exam taken.

Dates and Locations

The Florida School Counselor certification exam is offered by appointment, all year round. Candidates may schedule their FTCE test during registration, based on available dates. Computer-based testing centers are located throughout Florida as well as nationwide. Candidates may find the FTCE testing locations via the Pearson VUE website.

Exam Policies

The FTCE Florida School Counselor PK-12 exam requires candidates to follow numerous policies. Required items/documents include two valid and unexpired forms of identification, as detailed below, printed in English. These forms of identification presented must be original (not a photocopy or digital ID) and cannot be damaged. Candidates will not be permitted to test without proper identification. If anyone is refused admission, they will not receive a refund or transfer of fees.

The first identification must be government-issued and must have a clear photograph and your signature.

Examples include:

  • Driver's license
  • State-issued identification card
  • United States military ID (with visible signature)
  • Passport
  • United States Permanent Resident card (with visible signature)

The second identification can be another form of identification listed above or one that has either a photo or a signature. Examples include:

  • Social Security card
  • Student ID
  • Work ID

The following are prohibited from the testing site:

  • Smoking and the use of all tobacco products
  • Visitors, including relatives, children, and friends
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Personal items, including cell phones, paper, wallets, food or drink, are prohibited in the testing room and must be placed into the secure storage provided:

Requesting an Alternative Arrangement

Alternative testing arrangements may be requested by a candidate with a disability and/or nursing mothers. Examinees requesting alternative testing arrangements must be certified by a licensed psychologist or physician as having a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Any documentation presented must describe the examinee's disability.

Nursing mothers who need to make arrangements for bringing specialized equipment or storage materials should follow the Alternative Testing Arrangements process detailed below to ensure prior approval:

  1. Register for the test declare the intent to request alternative testing arrangements during FTCE registration.
  2. Submit an Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form and specify the request is for accommodations for nursing mothers.
  3. If additional alternative arrangement requests are needed, include those requests on the same form.
  4. Check email for notification of resolution (usually between 1-3 weeks after the request is received).
  5. Follow the instructions provided in the notification to schedule the test appointment with any approved alternative testing arrangements.

Please note that children will not be allowed in the testing center or into the secure testing room.

How to Prepare for the Florida School Counselor Certification Exam

A proper FTCE test prep is crucial to your chances of passing. Aside from a good night's rest, eating a balanced breakfast before testing, utilizing flashcards, and utilizing this FTCE guidance and counselor PK-12 study guide, there is another strategy to consider: PQ4R, or Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite and Review.

  • Preview: Read the introduction and scan the section headings and subheadings of the chapter or article you wish to study.
  • Question: Think of specific questions you would like to find the answers to study. Write these questions down and utilize them as a guide as you read.
  • Read: Read through the selected chapter. Study any figures, tables, or graphics to help keep each piece of information in context.
  • Reflect: As you read, think about the examples and descriptions provided in the text. Thinking of examples from your own experience can be helpful to better understand and remember the content.
  • Recite: After finishing each section of the text, assess your understanding of what you have read. Attempt to answer the questions you previously wrote down.
  • Review: After finishing reading the text, you can assess your understanding by reviewing your questions for the whole chapter to help you retain and apply what you have learned.

Florida School Counselor Certification Practice Test

Don't just study--practice! Test takers will benefit from taking FTCE test preparation courses and a FTCE Guidance & Counseling PK-12 practice test, which can be found for free online. FTCE guidance and counseling PK-12 study guides are available online as well. These practice tests are beneficial to identify a test taker's baseline knowledge, measure progress after studying, and to simulate test day, including pacing in order to answering all 100 questions in a timely manner. After completing the FTCE practice test, candidates should try focusing on the sections in which they scored the least and review any necessary material to increase their understanding in these areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the requirements to become a Florida school counselor?

    A bachelor's degree from a Florida state-approved teacher preparation program, then passing scores to the three portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE). Then, score at least a 200 on the FTCE School Counselor PK-12 exam to become a licensed Florida school counselor.

  • How do I become a certified school counselor in Florida?

    First, complete a bachelor's degree from a Florida state-approved teacher preparation program. Then, pass all three portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE). Finally, take and pass the School Counseling PK-12 exam.


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  1. Analysis of which of the following is the most reliable and accurate approach to determining student progress?

    • Correct Answer
  2. A counselor wants to share continual, automated information and insights with students, their parents, the school community, and the community in a more informal manner. Such information and insights will include important dates, details about how best to search colleges and financial aid information, study strategies, and counselor discussions of new research and ideas in the field of counseling. The counselor may consider doing which of the following?

    • Correct Answer
  3. Who should have access to information within a student information system (SIS)?

    • Correct Answer
  4. Aware of students' technological prowess, a counseling team wanting to help students keep academic information organized and manage their tasks should do which of the following?
    • Correct Answer
  5. A student was assumed to be in an altercation and was written up in a referral. After investigation, it was recognized that the student provoked some of the initial behaviors but not the altercation itself. However, the referral was still placed in the student's record. The student's parents contested the referral being in the student's records. An impartial committee refused to change the record. Which of the following would be the best course of action for the student's parents?

    • Correct Answer
  6. Which legislation prohibits the abuse of children with special needs who are living in a certified facility?

    • Correct Answer
  7. The concept of the least restrictive environment was established within which of the following?

    • Correct Answer
  8. A counselor is working with a student who recently immigrated to the United States. The student asks several times to work with a counselor who is more like her. If the request is not possible, which approach may possibly help the counselor to build a trusting relationship with the student?

    • Correct Answer
  9. Upon review of five years of standardized testing data, a counseling team has recognized that there is an achievement gap between two different groups of students. All except which of the following could be appropriate approaches the school system can take to close this gap moving forward?

    • Correct Answer
  10. A counselor is building a counseling library so that students who see her have access to different non-fiction and fiction books that may help them deal with different issues. To ensure that the counselor is avoiding cultural bias, the counselor should do which of the following?

    • Correct Answer
  11. A junior is meeting with her counselor to discuss courses she wants to take during her senior year. The student wants to take two advanced classes, one in science and one in math, because she wants to get her C-level grade average up. However, the student has never earned more than a C in any math or science course she has taken. Which of the following would be the best course of action for the counselor to take?

    • Correct Answer
  12. Behavioral modeling is an important factor of which of the following developmental theories?

    • Correct Answer
  13. Teachers and counselors are developing a behavior management plan for their students. They have opted to focus the mission statement on encouraging students to treat each other, themselves, and school staff with respect and kindness and use appropriate voice levels and language. The group then establishes five clear and direct rules along with consequences for not abiding by them. The group then creates a crisis plan in dealing with circumstances of crises. What must the group do to ensure the plan is complete?

    • Correct Answer
  14. Several students who live in foster homes have been meeting regularly as a small group. One day, one of the students spends 20 minutes conveying her frustrations and emotions about living with the foster mother. All except which of the following may be an appropriate approach for the counselor to take during the conversation?

    • Correct Answer
  15. A student has just told her male counselor about how much the death of her grandmother the previous year has been impacting her in school this year. To show empathy, the counselor should do which of the following?

    • Correct Answer