School Counseling Graduate Programs
A school counselor assists students with planning their education, mediates and advises them with problems, and links students and teachers. School counselors may work with individual students, small groups, or whole classes at a time. They may assist teachers in understanding specific students’ problems. An excellent school counselor can make a student’s school life less stressful and assist them in planning for college or post-high school life.
School counseling graduate programs tend to look for candidates who are caring and nurturing. School counselors will need to listen patiently and be able to build relationships. Most school counselors will have to make a strong effort to meet with all of their students. For most states, there is no maximum number of students that can be assigned to one school counselor. Outgoing people will be able to succeed the most as school counselors. School counselors will also need outstanding memories. They will have to remember personal details about hundreds of students. Time management will be critical. With so many students to see, an organized schedule with appointments is key so students will not be left out.
Most school counselors will need at least a master’s degree to be licensed and certified. Counseling majors may be under different departments at institutions. Typically counseling majors will be in the education or psychology departments. School counseling graduate programs usually require 48 to 60 hours of graduate study and a varying amount of experience in a clinical setting.
Every state and the District of Columbia has laws to regulate school counselors. A license will have different requirements depending on what education level a school counselor wishes to work at and whether they are specialized. Additional licensing requirements will apply to specialized counselors. However, common requirements for a school counselors’ license are:
- A master’s degree in counseling, marriage, or family therapy
- 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised experience in a clinical setting after receiving a master’s degree
- A passing score on a state examination
- Strict devotion to an ethical code of conduct
Additional requirements may vary by state. School counseling graduate programs will be able to prepare a school counselor for their state of employment and counseling specialty. License renewal almost always requires that school counselors submit new education credits. Some states also require seminars or workshops be attended. School counselors may have to undergo a background check, depending upon what age students they will be working with.
Depending upon a school counselor’s specialty, certifications can increase the chances of a promotion and raise. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) offers certifications in addiction, clinical mental health, and school counseling. All are invaluable to a school counselor who may face students with each of the issues. Passing the NBCC’s national examination may allow school counselors to skip a state examination in some states.