School Counseling Degree
A school counseling degree will teach professionals how to guide students through their formative years. A school counselor provides advice to students about possible careers. They assist students with applying to a university or vocational school. School counselors also listen and help students with personal issues that they’re facing.
A prospective school counselor should have an excellent memory for faces and names. A school counselor needs to be able to keep notes about students and remember their personal details. They should be able to communicate well with students. A school counselor may need to keep up with fashion and cultural trends to be able to relate to some students.
Although the requirements for school counselors vary by state, a master’s degree is typically the minimum needed for employment. Some coursework that can be helpful for a school counselor include:
- Career counseling
- Child development
- Child psychology
- Interpersonal communication
After graduating and receiving a school counseling degree, a professional will need a license to practice. Because of the school setting, some states require that school counselors hold both a counseling license and a teaching certificate. Teaching experience may also be required. The common requirements for a school counseling license consist of:
- Master’s degree in counseling
- A supervised internship of at least 2 years or 3,000 hours in a clinical facility
- Passing a written examination
- Passing an ethical examination
A license usually must be renewed on a periodic basis. School counselors will need to submit evidence of continuing education in order for their license renewal to be approved. Proof of continuing education can consist of things such as a college transcript or attending a seminar about school counseling.
A background check, drug test, or both may be employment requirements in certain school districts. School counselors may have to undergo this kind of test on a regular schedule as a condition of employment. Private schools tend to be able to set much more stringent hiring requirements than public schools.
In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) data for 2008, school counselors held about 275,800 jobs in the United States. Most were employed in high schools and universities, but more elementary and middle schools are adding additional school counselors. A small number of school counselors are providing consultant services or working in a private company.
Positions for school counselors are predicted to grow roughly 14 percent from 2008 to 2018. This is slightly higher than average when compared to all other occupations. Rural school systems will see the highest demand for school counselors as fewer professionals are willing to relocate into rural locations.
School counselors who can speak more than one language will be in demand. More students are speaking a language other than English as their primary language. Multi-lingual students are increasing as immigration and globalization grow. Providing multicultural students with appropriate career planning and personal counseling services will be crucial.
The average salary for school counselors was $51,050 in May of 2008. Extra compensation for school counselors usually consisted of days off and health insurance. School counselors did not work summers and holidays in most school districts as well. Some school counselors belonged to teacher or educational support staff unions. A union member typically earned slightly more in salary than a non-union member.
Some school counselors may need to take a second job during the summer. Those who worked at colleges and universities also had considerable time off during holidays.
As school counseling continues to evolve, professionals must add additional skills. The BLS believes that school counselors will need more education and training to succeed in the future. School counselors are increasingly providing more substantial counseling services to students instead of primarily helping them plan their careers. Issues such as substance abuse and suicide are being highlighted as subjects for school counselors to assist with. School counselors will need to provide more mental health services while still maintaining their career planning assistance in the future.
A school counseling degree will provide professionals with the tools to be responsible for hundreds or even thousands of students. Not all professionals can handle the tremendous responsibility. But for those who are able, school counseling can challenge a professional with each new student who comes in.