How to Become a School Counselor
Are you the person your friends always turn to for advice? Are you caring and understanding, but at the same time also a strong leader? Are you looking for a job where you can work closely with young people and achieve good results? If this sounds like you, then you might like to become a school counselor.
A school counselor provides students with a range of services and advice. They might speak to them about issues they have at school or home, provide information about careers, or put them in contact with other health care professionals.
A good school counselor is a natural leader who is respected, but also trustworthy. Your students will need to feel that they can trust you with very personal information, and also feel that you will be able to provide them with answers.
When you become a school counselor, you can look forward to a very rewarding career. You'll have the rare opportunity to do a job that contributes to your community, and helps young people to deal with adversity and be their best.
Education Requirements to Become a School Counselor
To become a school counselor, you will first need to attain a four year bachelor's degree in education or psychology. After completing this degree you will need to enroll in a master's qualification in counseling, or school counseling.
It's important to note that these are general requirements, and the rules within your state could vary. Before you decide on a college program, you should check what the laws in your state require. The American School Counselor Association website is a good source of information regarding education and state licensure requirements. The state specific requirements are listed there.
College is a good time to start getting some work experience. You might like to get an administrative job at a counselor's or psychologist's office, or complete an internship over your summer vacation. You could also do some volunteer work for a counseling hotline or a similar job. This will look great on your resume and also prepare you for your work in the future.
School Counselor Job Description
A school counselor provides assistance and advice to students on a range of issues. Some students may wish to talk about problems in their family; others may have problems with drugs, or birth control. The list is endless. Many simply want life advice about their careers, or how to meet their goals better.
While many students see a counselor voluntarily, others are referred there by teachers. This may be for disciplinary reasons, or for problems with academic performance. Often a teacher may suspect a student is facing some personal issues, and suggest that they speak to the school counselor about it.
Here are some of the daily tasks you might complete once you become a school counselor:
- Meeting with students
- Setting appointments and meetings
- Communicating with parents
- Referring students to other specialists
- Giving students information and advice
- Developing plans for students to meet their goals
School Counselor Salary and Career Path
Most school counselors will work in high schools or colleges and will usually start their career in this kind of position. Others may have worked in different areas of counseling before deciding to work for schools.
Many school counselors will stay in this position for the duration of their career. Others will move on to supervisory roles within the education system. Some may becomes school teachers, or social researchers.
Similar roles that a counselor may move on to later in their career could include:
- Social Worker
- School Teacher
- Occupational Therapist
- Human Resources Manager
- Sociology Researcher
The median wage for a qualified counselor is around $50,000 a year. Those working in schools or colleges earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year.
If you would like a career where you will be working closely with young people and helping them to be their best, then you might like to become a school counselor. There are good employment prospects available, as well as a secure salary for those with the right qualifications. While this job may be challenging at times, making a positive contribution to the success and happiness of young people can be very rewarding.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics