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School Counselor: Career and Education Facts

School counselors help young people with their academic or social problems. To learn more about the job responsibilities and educational and training requirements for this career, read on.

What You Need to Know

School counseling is an expanding field that encompasses a variety of duties. As a school counselor, you may work with individual students or groups to help them overcome behavioral problems, develop study skills and meet career or academic goals.

Programs School Counseling Graduate Certificate, Bachelor of Science in Counseling, Master of Arts in School Counseling
Courses Counseling Ethics and Theories, School Counseling, Group Counseling, Counseling Practicum
Salary $55,410 (Median annual wage for educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Chicago State University, University of Detroit Mercy, Dallas Baptist University

What Job Duties Do School Counselors Have?

As a school counselor, your responsibilities will vary based on the educational level of the students with whom you interact. School counselors help younger students by evaluating their developmental, social and educational needs. At the high school level, you may focus more on vocational and career planning.

At any level of counseling, you can help students cope with abusive family or social situations, special needs or drug problems. You may counsel students individually or in a group setting.

What Education Do I Need?

According to the BLS, most states require school counselors to earn a master's degree in counseling or school counseling and complete one year of internship experience to become licensed. Some states may also require you to complete a teacher training bachelor's degree program or have up to two years of teaching experience. Bachelor's programs in general counseling are rare, but you might be able to find a Bachelor of Science in Counseling degree program.

What About Master's Degrees?

A graduate option allows applicants with a master's degree in counseling to become licensed school counselors if they complete a postmaster's certificate program in school counseling. A Master of Arts in Education in School Counseling or Counseling (K-12 School Counseling Emphasis) might be two available degree options. Additionally, you could enroll in a Graduate Certificate in Counselor Education program.

Are Any of These Programs Available Online?

Some master's degree or postmaster's graduate certificate programs in school counseling are available online. These program formats can help you schedule courses around prior personal or professional obligations, like teaching or counseling in another field. Courses, examinations and lectures can be completed over the Internet. However, you will still need to complete internship requirements in an elementary, middle or high school setting.