Do not be shocked if someone working in the counseling field frowns at you for uttering the word “guidance counselor.” Apparently, you will sound so 1980. Professionals who provide students with the support and skills necessary to help them succeed in school prefer to be termed as school counselors. They role of school counselors is crucial for the success of all scholars right from elementary levels to college.
What Do School Counselors Do?
School counselors work in government agencies, career centers, colleges, and private practices. Their duties include but are not limited to:
- Offering individual counseling to students to help them understand and beat behavioral and socials problems
- Providing small group and individual counseling on the basis of the students’ needs
- Working with students to help them develop various skills such as time management, organization and efficient study habits
- Helping students set realistic career and academic goals and fabricate a plan to achieve them
- Evaluating student’s interests and abilities through individual planning, and aptitude interviews and assessments
- Collaborating with administrators, teachers and parents to enable students succeed
- Delivering classroom guidance sessions on various topics such as drug abuse, bullying and after school life
- Identifying and responding to any cases of abuse or neglect
- Referring both parents are students to various resources for additional support
School counselors take home a median annual salary of $53,610. Below is the summary of their earnings in some of the best paying cities:
El Centro, California
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Nassau, New York
The position of a school counselor requires you to have the following skills:
- Highly developed oral and written communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to think critically
- Aptitude to maintain comprehensive records
- Be organized
- High professional and ethical standards
- Compassionate and understanding
- Be able to read personalities
The entry requirement for school counselors is a bachelor’s degree in various specialties such as:
- Social work
However, degrees in any other related fields are acceptable. After completing the four-year program, candidate can pursue a specialized degree program in counselling since most states prefer candidate who have secured a master’s degree. Counselors in private practice might also be required to obtain licensure.
Training programs in counseling provide them with training on how to foster academic development, perform individual and group counseling and work closely with students, teachers, students and other school staff. Training for a master’s degree in school counseling can include a complete classroom followed by a series of internship and mentorship programs. During these programs, candidates get more experience through observation. Those aspiring to become college counselors should consider pursuing other additional courses which will not only give them more experience but also boost their employability.
The BLS predicts a 12% increase of job opportunities for school counselors by 2022. This is attributed to the increase in school enrollments in elementary, middle and high schools as well as in institutions of higher learning. A growth of these enrollments will increase the need for school counselors to offer guidance to the increasing student population.
Since there is much competition in many district schools, it is advisable to get a job placement early enough. To increase your job prospects, you should consider participating in various counseling organization while undergoing training.
If you enjoy working with children, this career is the perfect fit for you.