What Are the Requirements to Be a College Counselor?
College counselors help students with personal, social and academic issues. Continue reading to find out about training requirements, program coursework and online options.
What Requirements Will I Face to Become a College Counselor?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), every state has different requirements for college counselors; but a common denominator is that you need to obtain either a license or certification. A master's degree is usually necessary, but depending on your state, you may be able to work as a college counselor with some graduate-level education or other continuing education credits, states the BLS. Aspiring college counselors should be trustworthy, command respect and have a desire to reach out to others.
To be accepted into a master's degree program in college counseling or postsecondary counseling, you have to meet minimum undergraduate GPA requirements. Most schools also ask applicants for letters of recommendation, an essay and a resume. Some schools will evaluate your paid or volunteer work in related areas, and you may have to interview with admissions staff to be accepted. These programs are often offered by a university's education department.
|Career Requirements||Certification or license, master's degree typically required in counseling|
|Common Courses||Life development, psychology, group therapy, ethics and law|
|Course Format||On campus, blended, or online|
|Accreditation||Programs accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||8% growth (for school and career counselors)*|
|Median Salary (2020)||$58,120 (for school and career counselors)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics'
What Courses Will I Take?
As a college counseling master's degree student, you learn about theoretical and practical issues in post-secondary counseling. You discuss ethics and law, student affairs, multiculturalism and life development - often as part of your core counseling requirements. You also learn about conflict resolution, psychology, academic advising and group therapy. Often, internships, at least one practicum and seminars are a required component of the program. You probably also have to complete a research-related thesis.
Can I Pursue Online Options?
You can find online master's degree programs for college counseling. These are often offered by for-profit schools, though some not-for-profit programs allow for online learning, blended options or flexible schedules. You might be required to spend some time on campus or in internships, but most of your classes are conducted via the Internet. These in-person experiences provide you with the client contact and supervision that is necessary for licensure as a college counselor.
What Else Should I Know?
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredits college counseling programs that meet its educational standards. CACREP provides a list of accredited campus-based and online programs around the U.S. You can learn about your state's college counseling licensure requirements through the American Counseling Association.