Do I Need a License to Be a High School Guidance Counselor?
Have you ever had a high school guidance counselor that helped you in a time of need? Do you want to be there for students who are confused or just need some help? If you answered yes to these questions, read on to learn more about becoming a high school guidance counselor, including licensure and education requirements. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
High School Guidance Counselor License
In order to be a high school guidance counselor, you'll need state licensure or certification. You'll also have to meet your state's minimum education requirements or those set by an employer. If you're working for a public school, you might be required to have a teaching certificate in addition to a separate counseling certificate or endorsement.
Licensing and certification requirements are determined by each state and can include an examination, teaching experience and exposure to school counseling. The majority of states also require you to pass a criminal background check. To maintain your license, you could need to complete continuing education.
As a high school guidance counselor, you'll meet with students in classroom settings or during private office sessions to help them determine career and educational paths. Academic assistance you might offer includes suggesting schools, meeting admission requirements, passing entrance exams, organizing financial aid and choosing a college major. You could perform mock interviews and review the results of career examination tests with students to determine the best help to offer.
You could also act as a confidential counselor to students who visit you. You might help them with personal, social or behavioral problems that are bothering them. This is done in a preventive manner to help students enhance their growth. By helping them with life skills, you could provide much-needed help before any serious problems worsen. In some cases, you'll provide special services and awareness sessions with students about drug prevention, safe sex or domestic abuse.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that school counselors were expected to see faster-than-average growth in comparison to other occupations (www.bls.gov). From 2008-2018, the total job growth for counselors was expected to be 14%. The average salary as of May 2010 for elementary and secondary school counselors was $62,310. States that paid over the national average included New Jersey, Alaska, Maryland, California and New York.
In order to become a high school guidance counselor, most states require a master's degree to qualify for licensing. Some allow you to enter the field with a bachelor's degree and sufficient education, experience or a teaching license. Several schools offer school counseling programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Other areas you might consider focusing on include career counseling, student affairs or college counseling.
Classes you take might include topics in student assessment, social and cultural diversity, career development and human growth. While you're enrolled in a graduate program, you're expected to participate in a minimum number of supervised counseling hours. In many cases, this internship period could fulfill the experience requirement for state licensure.
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