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Obtaining Your Master's in School Counseling

written by: sundicowser•edited by: Beth Taylor•updated: 4/9/2010

School counseling offers many rewards. Here is a guideline for preparing for a school counseling career.

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    A career in school counseling provides many rewards. You are able to help students, teachers, and parents navigate through the ups and downs of the educational terrain. To begin your journey toward becoming a school counselor, you must first arm yourself with a Master’s degree in school counseling from an accredited institution.

    To be a school counselor, you must first have your Bachelor’s degree in any field. From there you must obtain a Master’s degree from an accredited School Counseling program. There are various ways to earn your school counseling degree. There are online programs such as those offered by the University of Massachusetts, University of West Alabama, and Kaplan University, and many state schools that offer excellent programs in school counseling. Most programs take two years to complete full-time. Two websites that offer more information about schools that offer school counseling programs are www.schoolcounselor.org and www.counseling.org.

    Responsibilities vary according to whether you are an elementary, middle or high school counselor. High school counselors work more on academic and vocational counseling. They offer aptitude tests, help students create resumes, apply for scholarships, stay on track for graduation, etc. If you want to help students figure out their best options for their life post high school, then high school counseling would be a good fit. Elementary school counselors do more classroom observations and class presentations on character education, and assessing academic and social problems in students.

    As a school counselor, regardless of grade level, your responsibility includes helping students reach academic achievement, and aid in personal/social and career development. The means by doing this includes individual meetings with students and students and parents and group and individual counseling sessions. Lessons on various areas of personal/social and career development that are presented to students in classrooms. Meetings with teachers to help struggling students and assess their needs.

    As a school counselor you must develop and implement a curriculum to assist in maximizing the success for all students. Also, be able to make referrals to outside agencies if needed for struggling students. The responsibilities for a school counselor are many and varied. The ultimate goal is to help all students become successful, well-adjusted young people.

    If you are interested in becoming a school counselor, then you are considering a very worthy profession. A great idea is to shadow a school counselor to see what their typical day is like. If you think that the career is a good fit for you, research what schools in your area or online offer a Master’s in school counseling, and try to enroll. You will then be on your way to one of the best jobs in the education field.

    Additional Resources:

    School Counselor Consultation: Skills for Working Effectively with Parents, Teachers, and Other School Personnel