If you have a knack for communicating with a variety of individuals, even in the most difficult of situations, then a career as a school counseling may be the perfect fit for you! It is important to understand that in many states it is required for school counselors to have at least a bachelor's degree in order to be able to practice their profession. However, if being a school counselor is your ultimate career goal, then there is definitely a degree program that you can pursue, which will serve as a stepping stone to your career potential
Of course, the first thing you must do is obtain your high school diploma, or the equivalent. Once you have selected the college or university that you plan to attend, you will probably be required to submit a copy of your high school diploma, a copy of your ACT scores, and a couple of letters of recommendation that can speak to your academic abilities as well as your value and character.
Although there are no other prerequisites, you will have a better chance at success if you have a thorough understanding of social science courses, communication courses, and English course work. Since there are no bachelor's degree programs that are specifically designed for prospective school counselors, you will probably want to pursue your Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in psychology.
While this is not the sole educational avenue to pursue in order to become a school counselor, it is by far the most common choice of students. As previously mentioned, to be particularly geared towards a career as a counselor within a school setting a student would need to complete an additional degree program after completing their Bachelor of Science degree. This four year bachelors degree is intended to provide students with a general overview of human identity as well as human behavior.
There is also a significant amount of course work that focuses on students learning about theories as they relate to human personalities, clinical counseling basics, and abnormal psychology. Before you can begin working on concentrated courses relative to school counseling, you will need to successfully complete a number of general education courses. Specific concentrated course work that you will likely have to complete is: abnormal psychology, social psychology, general psychology, theories of personality, research methodology, philosophy of psychology, probability and statistics, and psychology and counseling.
After completing your bachelor's degree in psychology, which will allow you to be a school counselor, you will be able to seek employment at a school or a university. Keep in mind, as a school counselor you will be expected to work the same hours and the same schedule as all other school employees. It will be crucial that you can consistently stay tuned in to possible signs and behaviors that a student is dealing with behavioral disorders or psychological disorders. The symptoms that a child exhibits can often lead to a school counselor being able to design specific therapeutic plans that will help address the issues that child is dealing with.
Education – The first step in becoming a school counselor is to start the process of researching schools that offer Bachelor’s Degree in School Counseling. When looking at schools it is important to look at things such as tuition, program length, class size, scholarships as well as location of the campus. Many schools these days offer degree programs completely online where some even offer a hybrid program which mixes campus and online.
Licensing – Depending on your state you will be required to become licensed. This is typically a teacher’s license but follow up with your state first before enrolling in any school. Often school counselors are also teachers that have actual classes to teach.
Job Search – When you graduate you’ll want to start looking for a career. Start with your location high schools and middle schools. As mentioned sometimes school counselors take on other duties at the school. A good way into a school is to look for other job openings not related to school counseling.
- Research Counseling and Methods
- Theories of Personality
- Human Behavior
- Introduction to Mental Health
- Career Guidance K-12
- Human Services and Management
Perhaps the hardest transition for a student is the one between those coming in from middle school into high school. Your job will be to help get them on the right track and prepare them for college. As a counselor you’ll need to learn to deal with emotional issues with the students. Often these issues are related to relationships they form in high school and other issues is the pressure to succeed.