School Counselor Career Overview
School counselors are integral parts of the education system. These are professionals who specialize in working with individual students to help them to adjust to new courses and changes in their institutions, determine their career paths, and to deal with social and emotional difficulties. While these professionals might dedicate much time to students who have difficulties, they also meet with each individual student to discuss grades, motivation, and plans for the future. Larger schools often have several school counselors, this way each and every students can get the attention he or she deserves.
Because the role of school counselor is so important to the education system, the prospects for those interested in this role are quite good. As a matter of fact, if you are interested in becoming a school counselor, you will have to go through much preparation, but chances are that you will find success and you also will find that this is a fulfilling and rewarding position.
School Counselor Job Description
For the most part, school counselors work in specific schools. They help faculty members and administrators to make the best decisions regarding the well being of students. Perhaps more importantly, these educators work independently with students. They discuss issues such as academic development, social issues, and even issues regarding home life. In almost all cases, school counselors are there to help students to make the best decisions regarding their plans for the future and how they plan on meeting their long term goals. For example, a high school counselor might assist students in preparing for college and choosing the best schools and programs for their preferences and talents.
Some common job duties of a school counselor include:
• Meeting one-on-one with students to discuss personal issues and long term career goals
• Developing and overseeing programs to ensure a culture of respect where students are free to learn
• Consulting faculty to develop curricula that is beneficial to all students
• Meeting with parents and guardians of students to foster environments where students are urged to perform their best
• Working closely with students who might be dealing with emotional, social, and behavioral issues
• Attend seminars and conferences where concepts and initiatives regarding counseling issues are discussed.
School Counselor Education and Training
Each state in the United States has different requirement for those who would like to become school counselors. In most cases, however, it is safe to assume that you will need at least a master’s degree. Most universities with graduate education programs offer individuals the option to concentrate specifically in school counseling.
While enrolled in a program, you can plan on doing much research about case studies and statistics that can help you to gain a better understanding of which issues counselors face and which methods can be used to offset problems. At the same time, individuals who study in graduate counseling programs also get the opportunity to engage in firsthand job preparation.
School Counselor Job Requirements
Again, each state is going to have a different set of requirements for its counselors. In almost each case, however, you will have to take an exam that shows you are deeply familiar with the methods and principles that all school counselors must use in their careers. There also are a number of private organizations that provide licensure. Some states and schools will use these kinds of certifications as requirements as well.
It should be noted that private schools often are not regulated by states. Instead, they are allowed to choose their own requirements, though in most cases, these schools require that their counselors have graduate degrees in counseling or in similar disciplines. These private schools, however, might not require that their counselors have certification.
School Counselor Outlook and Earnings
The role of school counselor is incredibly important in today’s educational systems. For this reason, there always are openings around the country. Many counselors, about 15%, work part time, while the rest work full time jobs throughout the week. Since the requirements for individuals who would like to become school counselors often include high levels of education and licensure, those who are willing to take this route do end up with good positions in the schools of their choice.
School counselor salaries vary depending on location, though it is common for these education professionals to make between $35,000 and $55,000 a year.