How Can I Train to Be a Guidance Counselor?

Guidance counselors help students solve emotional, educational and career problems. Read on to learn more about what it takes to become a guidance counselor. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Guidance Counselor Defined

Guidance counselors advise and assist students with their personal, social and career development. Guidance counselors generally work at elementary, middle and high schools. As a guidance counselor, you'll evaluate students' interests and abilities in order to give career and academic advice. You may also offer advice when a student is having difficulty with teachers, parents or other students. Other duties could include administering aptitude tests, helping students develop better study habits and time management skills, providing behavioral counseling and educating students on topics such as bullying and drug abuse.

Important Facts About This Career

Key Skills Compassion, interpersonal communication, listening and speaking skills
Experience Teaching experience in the classroom may be required for licensure
Work Environment Most work full time in private office settings; some may have a break when school lets out for summer
Similar Occupations Teachers, career counselors, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, social workers

Educational Training

A master's degree is the minimum amount of education needed for most positions, especially those in public schools. In some cases, guidance counselors go on and earn doctoral degrees to increase their career opportunities and potential for advancement. In a guidance and counseling degree program, you'll complete classes on human growth, counseling theories, cultural diversity, social diversity, and career counseling. Other course topics include psychology, human services, and education.

Work Training

While completing your master's degree program, you'll complete work training in the form of an internship or practicum. This is done under the supervision of a trained professional, usually at a local school. The length of this training varies depending on the licensure requirements in your state and your employer. In some cases, you may need to complete up to 500 hours.

After being hired, a new employer might require you to complete an on-the-job training program. This employer-sponsored program can last weeks or months, but it is designed to familiarize you with the school. Workshops are another route you can pursue to gain more training and experience.

Licensure Requirements

To work in a public school, you'll need to become licensed in your state. Exact eligibility requirements vary by state, but you'll typically be required to pass a background check. You'll also need to meet certain coursework and experience requirements.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for school and career counselors are expected to increase by 13% from 2016 to 2026. Growing enrollment numbers are expected to drive the demand for school and career counselors in the upcoming years. In May 2018, the BLS reported that school, educational, guidance and vocational counselors had a mean annual income of $56,310.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
      • Doctor - Education: Leadership
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
      • Master of Science in Educational Psychology

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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