That makes the work of a school counselor a sort of hybrid of the type of work you’d expect from a therapist, life coach, and academic advisor. The result is a rewarding and engaging career that offers both variety and the chance to work with children.

How to Become a School Counselor

As you might expect, training for such a varied and complex set of tasks is not easy. School counselors have difficult and complex jobs, and they work closely with children, both of which suggests that they must be highly trained and qualified. And that is indeed the case: becoming a school counselor, while certainly an attainable goal, is something that requires real commitment.

To be a school counselor, you have to become certified by the state in which you’ll work. Different states have different certification requirements, but all demanded training and academic courses, and the reality of hiring may sometimes push the de facto requirements even higher than those officially mandated by the state.

For starters, you will absolutely need a bachelor’s degree. A smart move is too major in something related to school counseling — psychology, for instance, or education. From there, you’ll want to pursue a master’s in school counseling. The good news is that there are several online programs that can help you get the credits needed to start a career in counseling. These programs even offer students an online learning self-assessment to ensure the program is a right fit.

Beyond that, there are Ph.D. programs in school counseling that you should consider. A Ph.D. is not always necessary, but it can help make you more attractive to potential employers. Remember, in this day and age, school counselors are among the most qualified and important2 members of a school’s staff.

If you think school counseling is the right career for you, now is the time to start evaluating your academic and career plans to see if you’re on the right track. Speak to the advisors that you yourself rely on, and consider reaching out to school counselors to ask about their backgrounds, experiences, and advice for those that would follow in their footsteps. If you work hard and chart your path wisely, you may find that a career as a school counselor awaits. There are a lot of wonderful and fascinating ways to make a living in our world. But if you ask a school counselor, there are none that match the rewarding and engaging world of school counseling. Sure, they’re a bit biased, but it’s possible that you, too, are destined for a rewarding career as a school counselor. But to understand exactly what that entails and how to put yourself on track to succeed in this area, you’ll first need to learn a bit more about school counseling and its necessary qualifications.

What Is a School Counselor?

School counselors wear several different hats, which can lead to some confusion about what, exactly, a school counselor does. Does a school counselor help students with emotional issues? Does a school counselor help students find rewarding careers of their own? Is a school counselor a type of academic advisor? In a way, the answer to all of these questions is, “Yes.”

School counselors are an integral part of the administrative team at schools of all levels. Their work overlaps and supports that of everyone from teachers to disciplinarians. The school counselor’s job is to help students with just about every aspect of their school lives, including the broad areas of personal and social development, academics, and career planning.

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