A school counselor is essential to the academic and developmental success of a student. He or she collaborates with students to ensure that their needs are met and that they can excel in their studies on the way to their future career. Counselors also assist students with social, behavioral and emotional issues.
A school counselor provides guidance to students to help them succeed academically and socially. He or she works with the student through one-on-one conversations and aptitude testing to determine how their abilities and interests can be applied toward a future education and career path. The counselor assists students with cultivating effective skills, such as productive study habits, time management and organization. They also help students with social and behavioral issues.
The school counselor’s duties may slightly vary depending on the age of students. In an elementary school, a counselor may work with a student’s parents on their child’s weaknesses, strengths and behavioral issues. A counselor also collaborates with teachers and administrators to make sure the curriculum helps a student’s academic and developmental demands. In middle schools, counselors ensure students’ academic and social success. High school counselors prepare students for planned careers and help them plan for life post-graduation.
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School and Career Counselor Salary
Salaries can differ depending on where a counselor is employed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median annual wage for school and career counselors was $54,560 as of 2016. Counselors in elementary and secondary schools earned a median wage of $62,100 per year, while those at junior colleges and other post-secondary institutions earned a median salary of $48,500. The BLS projects that employment for school counselors will grow 13 percent through 2026, almost twice as fast as the national average for all occupations.
For prospective school counselors, a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field is required in almost every state. The graduate program teaches counselors how to work with students, parents and staff members to help promote academic development. Counselors at public schools need to have a state-issued license, which usually requires a master’s degree, an internship or a completed supervised practicum and passing an exam. Prior teaching experience might also be necessary in order to acquire a certification or license.
An online master’s in school counseling from Campbellsville University teaches future school counselors how to help students with career, emotional, and social challenges. Program topics include group counseling, substance abuse, cultural competency and college readiness taught by faculty who have real-world experience in guidance counseling. The fully online program allows students to complete a degree while maintaining their personal and professional schedules.