What Is the Role of a School Guidance Counselor?

The role of guidance counselors in schools 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 explores guidance counselor duties and responsibilities and the requirements to become one. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Guidance Counselor Job Description

Guidance or school counselors assist students with their educational, career, and social needs - often developing a thorough understanding of an individual through interviews and aptitude assessments. They typically work in collaboration with parents, teachers, and administrators to ensure a student's academic success. Counseling sessions generally take place individually, but can also be provided in small groups.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Pay (2018) $56,310
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% 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 (supervised by a licensed professional school counselor) and an exam to obtain a license. A criminal background check will also likely be required. In some states, roughly 1-2 years of teaching experience are required as well.

School Counselor Duties and Responsibilities

School guidance counselors work with students from kindergarten to grade 12 to help solve personal, social and academic problems. Both elementary school counselors and high school 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.

The role of a guidance counselor in high schools is to work with students to achieve their post-high school goals, in addition to working through any social and academic problems. 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.

Skills Needed to Acquire the Role of a School Guidance Counselor

As their profession is largely people-focused, school guidance counselors must have a high level of compassion and empathy when dealing with students, especially those undergoing touch or stressful situations. They must also possess excellent interpersonal skills, as they will typically encounter people of all backgrounds and personalities. As much of their work involves helping others, they must also have sharp communication and listening skills in order to identify the needs of an individual.

Guidance counselors are also required to be highly analytical, as they may regularly perform assessments to determine the skills and academic levels of students. They must then be able to interpret this information in order to match student abilities and interests to potential careers.

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

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • 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

  • Colorado Christian University

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

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

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

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »