Education and Careers
School kids need guidance and support, especially when it comes to dealing with academic, personal, parental and societal pressures. Helping them reach their potential is the goal of every good school counselor, and they do that by being caring, patient and flexible.
What They Do
School counselors help students at all levels, from elementary school to college. They act as advocates for students’ well-being and are a valuable resource for their educational advancement. Counselors help students with issues such as bullying, dealing with disabilities, low self-esteem, poor academic performance and relationship problems. They refer students to a school psychologist for further treatment if necessary.
In addition, they evaluate students’ abilities, interests and personalities to help them develop academic and career goals. They also administer aptitude tests and show students different paths to success.
Skills You Need
Learn which personality traits and professional skills you’ll need to be a successful school counselor.
You should have…
- Excellent communication skills
- Goal-setting skills
- High ethical standards
- Clear boundaries
- Good mediation skills
How to Become a School Counselor
Licensing and certification guidelines for school counselors vary by state. Make sure to check the guidelines in your state before you start your studies.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
Earn an undergraduate degree in teacher ed or psychology. You’ll also need a master’s degree in school counseling or a related degree.
Earn a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree in counseling will teach you about academic and career development, counseling, and working with parents, teachers and school staff.
Supervised Work Experience
Most master’s degrees require you to get work experience in an internship or practicum. Ask about this before applying to programs.
Apply for Licensure in Your State
Public school counselors must have a state-issued license. This credential may be called a certification, a license or an endorsement, depending on state requirements.
Compared to other counselors, school counselors make a good living. But salaries do vary a lot based on location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. The median salary for School and Career Counselors is $54,560, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
School & Career Counselors
Marriage & Family Therapists
Mental Health Counselor
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Employment of school counselors is expected to grow 11 percent through 2026. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Here are some other fields you might like if school counseling isn’t exactly what you’re looking for:
Related School Counseling Reading
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