7 Facts About School Counseling Schools and Careers

school-counseling-common-questionsSchool counselors help kids through one of the most dynamic and potentially challenging times in their lives.

But before you consider going into this career, get answers to some of your questions about returning to school and all of your educational options.

We’ve got information regarding online education to earn your degree, the different careers you can pursue, how to get financial aid, and much more.

Can I go to school online?

There are an abundance of schools offering online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in school counseling and psychology.

You can even earn a PhD in school counseling or school psychology online. If you want to take advantage of federal financial aid resources for your online courses, you should make sure to choose a school and program that are accredited.

What careers can I pursue with a degree in school counseling?

School counselors can work in a number of environments, including schools for grades K-12, secondary schools and higher educational institutions, including state and private colleges and universities. You’ll listen to students’ concerns and advise them on their educational journey. You’ll also assist them with social and emotional problems, and help them find treatment if necessary. School counselors do much more than that, for example, organizing drug and alcohol prevention programs and managing relationships between parents, faculty and students.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Applying for financial aid begins with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for governmental aid. Scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans are other options to consider as well.

What type of accreditation should I look for in a psychology school?

Accreditation for school counseling programs can come from a few organizations. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) give their seal of approval for master’s degree programs.

The Higher Learning Commission, which is divided into six regional associations, provides institutional accreditation to colleges and universities.

What steps do I need to take to become licensed?

Most states require a master’s degree and two years of practical experience for school counseling licensure. In some jurisdictions, a teaching certificate is also necessary. Once you’ve fulfilled the requirements, you’ll be given a state-issued license (sometimes referred to as an endorsement or certification).

What continuing education requirements should I expect throughout my career?

License renewal often hinges on the completion of continuing education requirements. Most states require school counselors to renew their license every five years by completing a certain number of CE hours. For example, Colorado requires six semester hours of college credit or 90 clock hours of professional development. Your state regulatory board can provide you with a list of approved courses.

Is it better to work for myself in private practice or an institution in the school counseling field?

In the case of school counselors, it’s not really a question of which is better, since the majority of school counselors work as part of the staff at elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, universities and health care and social assistance facilities. However, if you’re interested in more schooling and running your own practice, consider the school psychologist career path.

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