A counselor’s duties vary and depend upon their specialty. Often, their specialty is determined by the setting in which they work and the population they serve. Counselors assist people with a variety of problems with:

• Personal issues
Family concerns
• Education
• Mental health
• And careers

Educational, vocational and school counselors provide:

• Individuals and groups with career and educational counseling
School counselors:
• Assist students from elementary school to postsecondary education
• They work with other individuals and organizations to promote the academic, career, personal and social development of children and youth
• Help students evaluate their abilities, interests, talents, and personalities to develop appropriate academic and career goals
• They use interviews, counseling sessions, interest and aptitude assessment tests as well as other methods to evaluate and advise students
• They create career information centers and career education programs
• They often work with students who have academic and social development problems

Elementary school counselors:

• Observe children during classroom and play activities and meet with their teachers and parents to evaluate children’s strengths, problems, or special needs
• They work with teachers and administration to be sure the curriculum addresses both the academic and the developmental needs of students
• They do less vocational and academic counseling than high school counselors

High school counselors:

• Advise students about college majors, admission requirements, entrance exams, financial aid, trade or technical schools and apprenticeship programs
• They help students develop job search skills, resume writing skills and interviewing skills
• College career planning and placement counselors assist alumni or students with career development and job-hunting skills.

School counselors at all levels:

• Help students to understand and deal with social, behavioral and personal problems
• They emphasize preventive and developmental counseling to provide students with life skills to deal with problems to enhance personal, social and academic growth
• Counselors provide alcohol and drug prevention programs and conflict resolution classes
• They try to identify cases of domestic abuse and other family problems that may affect student development

Counselors interact with:

• Students individually
• In small groups
• Entire classes

To help develop and implement strategies to help students succeed, counselors consult and collaborate with:

• Parents
• Teachers
• School administrators
• School psychologists
• Medical professionals
• Social workers

Continued in Part 2

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Counselors, on the Internet

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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