What Are the Education Requirements to Be a School Counselor?
Are you interested in helping children and young adults cope with the stresses of their lives, reach a place of psychological balance and prepare for their futures? If so, a career as a school counselor may be right for you. Read on to find out what education and licensure it takes to become a school counselor. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
School Counselor Defined
School counselors are employed in all levels of education, from elementary schools to colleges. As a school counselor, your main responsibilities revolve around working with students to address various personal, social, mental and behavioral problems. You may also identify problems at home, such as domestic violence or drug abuse, and intervene accordingly should the situation require it. Another key element of your job, especially at the high-school and college levels, involves working with students to determine their occupational aptitudes and help them achieve their goals.
The first step towards becoming a school counselor is completing a bachelor's degree program. You most likely then need to earn a master's degree in school counseling, which sometimes includes specializations based on the age of the children you wish to counsel. Some master's degree programs require you to have a certain amount of work experience to gain admission. There are also certificate options available for those with graduate degrees in related fields, like social work, clinical psychology or education, who are looking to become school counselors.
Graduate education in school counseling consists of core-counseling and school-counseling coursework. The core counseling courses cover topics like counseling theory and methods, couple and family therapy, group therapy, testing and assessment. School-counseling courses may include childhood and adolescent counseling, learning theories and school-counseling regulations. These programs also incorporate practicums, in which students gain real-world experience counseling students in school settings.
Certification and Licensure Requirements
Licensing requirements for school counselors vary greatly from state to state. Some states do not require licensure as long as you've received certification from a state-approved school and appropriate graduate education. Other states require you to receive licensure from your state's board of education. Some states also require you to have a valid teaching license in order to work as a school counselor, which has its own set of educational requirements.
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