School Counseling in Detail
Based on what you know about counseling, you can probably gather that School Counselors can be a great emotional resource for students in school systems all over the U.S. The specific role of the School Counselor can vary depending on the school system in which they are employed, their degree level, and whether or not there is more than 1 School Counselor on staff. Generally, School Counselors may be on staff to work with students that are experiencing at-home woes, educational shortcomings, or behavior issues that may be interfering with their academic progress. When teachers or other school staff become aware or suspicious that a child may be experiencing emotional issues – whether related to or not related to school – the School Counselor can be brought in to work with that child. This type of quick intervention can help to ensure that the child has access to a supportive adult during their time of need. This can be helpful in deterring negative emotions sooner, which can benefit a student personally and educationally. School Counselors can also be great supporters of prevention programs implemented in the school system. Some School Counselors may arrange and organize support groups during times of loss, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and even community involvement programs for students with varying needs. Each of these elements can provide well-rounded and inclusive services to students in the school system. If you would like to see more specific services provided by School Counselors, take a look at the short list below.
- Student Resource for Emotional, School, or Interpersonal Conflict
- Assist Students with Problem Solving/Goal Planning
- Curriculum Planning
- College/Vocational Planning
- Behavior Intervention
- Organization of Drug/Alcohol Abuse Programs
The School Counselor Compared to the School Psychologist
One of the most common questions from upcoming students surrounds the availability of MA in School Counseling programs and MS in School Psychology programs. Each of these career fields can contribute a significant amount of services and supports to school systems in needs, with slightly different techniques. Since you have read some about what School Counseling means for upcoming professionals, you might not be surprised to learn that School Counselors may focus on these aspects of treatment while in the school system:
- 1-on-1 Counseling
- Group Counseling
- Cognitive and Emotional Development
- Education/College/Vocational Training
- Intervention Programs
School Psychologists can also be helpful resources for schools interested in providing support to their students. Some of the responsibilities of professionals in this field may intertwine with those of the School Counselor, but not totally mimic the services provided by counselors in this field. The School Psychologist may work with students that both have been identified as having potential issues, as well as those that may be struggling with issues that are interfering with their education. Psychologists can also evaluate how well supportive services are operating in terms of students success. Check out some of the duties of School Psychologists in the educational field.
- Psychological Testing
- Risk Factor Analyses
- Special Education/Assistive Services Planning
- Mental Health Support
- Program Evaluation/Efficacy Research
Coursework to Impact Your Career
If School Counseling is the career field for you, you should seek out Masters in School Counseling degree programs online or on-campus. These programs can assist you with learning all of the necessary topics required of professionals in this field and put you in touch with supervision resources for your field experience requirement. Some students considering a transition into the field of School Counseling may be interested in learning more about what their degree program may consist of. This – in theory – could be the essence of your role as a counselor in the field and can set you up for success in your field. The courses that you enroll in during your degree program should be part of a pre-approved set of courses at your chosen university. Since Masters in School Counseling degree programs require accreditation to lead to licensure, the curriculum must be thoroughly reviewed on a regular basis. The course sequence allows you to build upon knowledge in School Counseling as you move from one class to another. Our team of educational experts has reviewed some popular Masters in School Counseling programs in order to provide you with a closer look at courses found within.
- Counseling Theory in School Counseling: As a student in School Counseling degree programs, it may be necessary for you to indulge in learning about particular theories for use with your students. This course can provide thorough information about counseling theories that center on the needs of youth and adolescents, as well as the assessment of youth in the school system. While in this course, you may also touch on developmental or cognitive theories that can affect students abilities to learn effectively. Theories regarding social interaction and emotional development may also be a part of this course, since these are factors that can directly impact student success in the school system.
- Multicultural Considerations for School Counselors: Having a deep understanding of counseling theories is only half the battle for School Counseling professionals. Since educational settings can be just as diverse as society as a whole, it can be important for training counselors to learn more about diversity and cultural differences among various groups. This course may provide insight into cultural norms of different societal groups, expectations and values, and family involvement in the educational process. School Counselors should have the ability to effectively reach children regardless of their heritage or culture.
- Assessment in Counseling and Education: In school systems all over the U.S., School Counselors may be expected to administer a wide variety of psychological and education-based assessments to help students receive all necessary services. This course can outline the basis for these examinations, as well as the scoring procedure and follow-up recommendations for each one. These assessments can be used to determine whether or not students qualify for special education classes, supportive classroom services, or even advanced coursework in higher grade levels. As part of this courses requirements, students may be expected to differentiate between different assessment methods accurately.
Where the MA in School Counseling Can Lead You
When you think of a School Counselor, you may get an image of a person sitting in an office at a school, talking to students about issues they are having in the classroom. This could be an accurate depiction of what a School Counselor does in 1 scenario, but there can actually be many different settings in which a School Counselor can flourish. Professionals with experience in working with school-aged children can be great resources during community planning, youth advocacy, and even educational planning at the state level. Gaining insight from professionals within this career field can be a great way to initiate programs that are relevant to the needs of actual students. Check out some of the potential career fields for graduate of the MA in School Counseling below.
- Educational Advocacy
- Law and Regulation Consultation
- State Curriculum Planning
- Private/Public Schools
- Child/Adolescent Mental Health Advocacy
- Community Planning
Earnings and Outlook for School Counselors
School Counselor – Elementary and Secondary Schools
Salary of $62,990 on average per year and an anticipated growth of 13% over the next decade (BLS).
Since School Counselors can be found in nearly all educational levels, it may be important to have a certain set of skills depending on the level you choose to work in. School Counselors working with elementary and secondary school students should have the ability to work with younger groups of children with emotional issues, apparent issues at home, and even management of behavior in the school setting. The approach to School Counseling at the elementary school level may look different than that of higher grade levels. When working with secondary school students, School Counselors may need to have skills relating to emotional issues during puberty, body development, peer pressure, and bullying.
School Counselor – Junior Colleges, Colleges, and Professional Schools
Salary of $49,150 on average per year and an anticipated growth of 13% over the next decade(BLS).
At the collegiate level, School Counselors may be required to work with students with more adult issues in their personal lives. Counselors may assist students with college or vocational training, assist them with obtaining the right type of financial aid and supportive services, and intervene when students are experiencing negative effects of transitioning into adulthood. As you can probably imagine, working in this realm of School Counseling may require that you have a diverse knowledge of college requirements, skills testing, and vocational services within your area.
School Counseling – Career Counseling
Salary of $55,410 on average per year and an anticipated growth of 13% over the next decade (BLS).
Students considering a move straight into the workforce or those that have not made a decision about what type of career to pursue may also require extensive support at the high school and junior college level. Counselors interested in assisting students within identifying strength, skills, and interests can be the leading source of support during the school/work transition. These professionals may administer skills tests to individuals that are undecided about what type of career field they would like to pursue and then find resources to help students find paths to these careers. School Counselors within this area of expertise can also be helpful resources as individuals begin to develop a plan of entry into their field of choice.
School Counseling Organizations to Know
Professional School Counselors with the desire to help students during their developmental and transitional years may require the continued support of other professionals in their field. This type of degree and license can require that professionals consistently receive continuing education over the course of their career, which can be helpful when new changes are implemented into the field. Another resource that can be invaluable to School Counselors is membership in a professional organization. Professional organizations in School Counseling can be great for intermingling with other licensed School Counselors in your area, reading through publications or new regulations relevant to your practice area, and partnering with professionals for support and advocacy. If you would like to learn more about some of the most popular organizations provided for School Counselors in the U.S., take a look at a few examples provided by our team of experts below this section.
The Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC)
The ACAC is a leading provider of support and advocacy for counselors working with youth. This organization prides itself on its focus on providing fair and equal mental health services to children, regardless of their access to insurance or financial situation. Another topic of interest with this group is the modification of current intervention techniques to the highest standard. Joining a group such as this one can allow you to enjoy the benefits of further learning in the field of counseling and supportive resources to help you learn more about your practice along the way.
The National Education Association (NEA)
There are numerous areas of focus related to the field of education. Teachers, leaders, and mental health professionals can partner together to ensure that school systems can provide well-rounded services to the students enrolled. The NEA can be a great organization for you to join in order to stay up to date with all education-related requirements for School Counselors, as well as any changes that can occur in your field. This agency can also be a lasting resource for employees of school systems all over the U.S.
The American Counseling Association (ACA)
School Counselors can take advantage of the benefits of organizations focusing specifically on the field of counseling. The ACA is one of the top counseling organizations that include counselors within a wide variety of practice settings. If you would like to learn more about changes to procedure, ethics, or counseling techniques, this is definitely an organization to consider joining. As part of your membership, you can also network with other professionals in your field and seek out advocacy services through the ACA when necessary.