School counseling careers revolve around the position of school guidance counselor. Working in this capacity, a professional guides youth in their academic, career and social developments. The guidance counselor understands how these work together for the good of the student and is often an integral part of the education experience.
Whether organizing career fairs, finding students summer jobs or internships, or acting as a middle man for teacher-student conflict, the guidance counselor works to develop an environment that suits the mental and physical well-being of the student.
School counseling careers are primarily at the grade school and secondary school levels, though many also work in continuing education at colleges and universities or trade schools. Another part of this professional’s responsibility is in guiding students toward grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid to help manage expenses beyond the secondary level.
Our Lady of the Lake University’s online Master of Arts in Counseling program features a curriculum aligned with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) Standards. Their MA in School Counseling teaches you to help students of all ages get the most out of their education by assessing and finding solutions to common behavioral and learning problems, promoting psychological health and implementing effective career development planning. Read our full review.
What Does a School Counselor Do?
The school counselor works with a child’s education in mind, but understands the emotional component to the learning process. If there are problems at home, it is the counselor’s job to be mindful of those issues and act as an intermediary between the student and educator. It is also important that a counselor raises awareness regarding alcohol and drug abuse, so that their subjects can make better life choices during the formative years.
School counseling career professionals are also responsible for developing academic schedules and working with special needs students to formulate realistic and responsible goals for the rest of their enrollment and beyond.
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Careers in School Counseling
Salaries for school counselors may vary greatly depending on the state and even the school district within that state. The job outlook is steady with 14% growth projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008-2018. The BLS also reports a median annual income of $51,050. The low-to-high registered at $38,740 and $65,360 per year. The work environment is primarily in elementary, middle and secondary schools, which will vary depending on location, student data and funding.
Obtaining a School Counseling Degree
To get involved with a school counseling career, you must first and foremost care for children and be willing to work as an advocate for them at all costs. With the proper mindset, you may then pursue a bachelor’s degree. Most specialize in areas of education or sociology in order to become familiar with the education system and the classroom dynamic.
Many states even require a teaching certificate and classroom experience before they will consider offering a position. Most states require completion of a master’s degree program. Candidates usually opt for the Master of Education in Counseling. Check with your state’s department of education for specific requirements.