Counselors don't just work with people who are experiencing problems. They help young people with normal developmental tasks like choosing a career and putting together an academic and vocational road map.
Part of the task of a School Counselor is conducting assessments and evaluations. The school counselor asks where an individual's strengths lay, and in what setting that individual is most likely to be successful. Part of the task is disseminating information. School Counselors develop programs and facilitate workshops. Still another part of the task, especially at the secondary level, is that of advocate. School Counselors know that just because no one in the student's family has ever been to college, it doesn't mean she or he can't!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted 19% growth in jobs for School Counselors over the course of the 2010 to 2020 decade. The greatest job growth -- 34% -- should be at colleges and universities. Rehabilitation services should see 30% increase in demand for career counselors; an increasing number of professionals in the field do work primarily with individuals with disabilities. Schools, meanwhile, will see more modest 8% growth. There will always be school children... and a new generation of hopes and dreams.
There is more than one pathway into the field. Begin by thinking about your target population.
Click Here to find School Counselor Licensure/Certification requirements specific to your state.
Capella University offers three online CACREP- accredited master's programs: School Counseling (Also Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.
NYU Steinhardt's online MA in Counseling and Guidance, Counseling@NYU, prepares aspiring school counselors to become transformative leaders and critical resources for pre-K-12 students in public and private schools across the country. Request information.
If you plan to work with teenagers in a public school setting, you will eventually need licensing through your state's department of education. If you want to work entirely in this setting, you might opt for a master’s in school counseling. Your program may be K-12, but you’ll have opportunities to tailor it to the secondary level. The most important thing is that you put in your internship hours in an appropriate setting.
You might also opt for a professional counseling program that has a school counseling focus. Programs that have a combined focus are generally 60 semester hours or more.
Many states require a licensing exam. This could be the Praxis, NTE, or a state exam. You’ll want to be familiar with your state board from the very beginning. You can help yourself stay current all along the way by becoming a member of the American School Counselor Association.
Are you more interested in working in a university setting or a social service one? In some settings, you may not need a license. That doesn’t mean your career won’t be enhanced by having one. If you enroll in a CACREP-accredited school counseling program, you may be eligible for licensing as a professional counselor. (The requirements do, however, vary from state to state.) CACREP-accredited career counseling programs are at least 48 semester hours.
Think you may want to go into private practice? In this case, you will likely be licensed by your state's professional counseling board. You'll want to make sure the program meets curricular guidelines and will qualify you to sit for the licensing exam.
There are options to combine school and mental health counseling. You may want to do a search on the CACREP site.
After graduation, you'll pursue any required licenses and any additional credentials that will increase your employment options. Many states require the National Counselor Examination for credentialing as a Licensed Professional Counselor.
The National Board for Certified Counselors offers the National Certified School Counselor credential. You must also hold the National Certified Counselor credential, but you can apply for both simultaneously provided you meet all requirements.
If you're going for state licensure as a professional counselor, you'll need to work under supervision, generally for at least two years. If you’re only pursuing a school counseling license, you probably won’t need to do this.