What Is the Role of a School Guidance Counselor?

The role of a school guidance counselor is to work with students and parents to help guide students' academic, behavioral and social growth. Individuals in this field work in elementary, middle and high schools. This article will tell you more about the role of school guidance counselors. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Role of School Guidance Counselors

School guidance counselors work with students in kindergarten through 12th grade to help solve personal, social and academic problems. Counselors identify problems, such as alcohol and substance abuse, family violence or problems between students. In response, they use a variety of counseling methods and conflict resolution skills to resolve these problems. Counselors also help students find their appropriate educational path and help them stick to it.

At the middle school and high school levels, school guidance counselors work with students to determine and achieve their post-high school goals. These counselors help choose high school classes that prepare students for their post-graduation plans. They also help students apply to colleges or trade schools by advising them about admission requirements and financial aid.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Pay (2014) $53,370
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 12% growth
Similar Occupations Teachers, psychologists, human resources/labor relations specialists
Key Skills Interpersonal, listening, speaking skills; compassion

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

A master's degree in education counseling is necessary to become a school guidance counselor. These degree programs typically take 2-3 years to complete and include classroom instruction and practical experience working with real students. The programs culminate in several months of supervised fieldwork in a real school. You can learn the skills to become a school guidance counselor by taking graduate courses in:

  • Counseling Processes
  • Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Career Development for Students

Licensure Requirements

Counselors in public schools typically need to be licensed. While requirements can vary from state to state, aspiring counselors usually need to complete a master's program, a practicum and an exam to obtain a license. In some states, roughly 1-2 years of teaching experience are required as well.

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