School counselor requirements: Have you been wondering about what you might require or be required of in the art of being a school counselor? Have you considered the requirements? Search no more as I will be giving you answers to your questions and also guiding you too.
Let’s see, first, what is school counseling? School counseling is the art of improving students behaviors and helping students grow mentally as you help them achieve their goals. This, school counseling involves helping students improve and maintain constant attendance, improve their mental capacity and grow their social life in line with their ambitions.
Who’s a school counselor? Here is who a school counselor is; a school counselor is one who is directly in charge of helping the students achieve their goals, grow their mental capacity, guide the students’ social lifestyle and help them improve on their academics. They are practically the future builders and shapers of the students. Hence, a school counselor can’t be an average human nor a mediocre, employment isn’t and shouldn’t be given to a “can cope” counselor rather, only competent personnel are employed. In fact, only a minimum of master’s degree is required. That’s how it should be everywhere.
But what does becoming a school counselor entails? You want to know right? Worry no more as your desired answers will be given today as you journey forward on this masterpiece of information with a huge embodiment of knowledge to be tapped from. Anyways, let’s get down to bring business.
Your major requirements as a school counselor with:
- 1 Getting a first degree (Bachelor’s degree in Counseling).
- 2 Get your master’s degree in school counseling
- 3 Go for your internship experience for certification/licensure requirements
- 4 Get professional certification or license
- 5 Elementary or Basic School level (Primary school)
- 6 Key Listener
- 7 Great interpersonal relationship or communication skills
- 8 Help in special cases
- 9 Great Observer
- 10 Skill development ability
Getting a first degree (Bachelor’s degree in Counseling).
Every high demanding profession will always require a minimum of Bachelor’s degree for consideration, so is counseling too. Especially school counseling which entails you be charged with the duty of nurturing the future of young generations that will all be committed into your hands. You have to get down with your Bachelor’s degree so you can have full insight into what you will be signing up for or what you’re getting into. Along the way, you might even get to discover that it’s not your line and you could switch. Don’t think because you have been able to prescribe a solution for one or two students during your high school days that you’re going to become a great school counselor. No! A school counselor or counseling requires more than that. And all of these and what you’re to expect as a school counselor is what your experience while doing your Bachelor will teach you. During your 4 years stint of pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you’re expected to pursue it in areas such as counseling, education, or psychology.
Getting a bachelor’s degree in counseling is more advisable as it gives you the opportunity to explore other counseling fields. Social sciences courses relating to this field and other psychological courses too can give you leverage to know more on counseling and probably help you in pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling. But going for a bachelor’s degree in Counseling is the best option amongst all other options. While on this course.
Get your master’s degree in school counseling
You’re done and dusted with your Bachelor’s degree right? You think you’re good to go? No! I’m sorry to spill up the bad news, you’ve just started. Most states place a minimum requirement of Masters in school counseling for their school counselors. So, this tells you directly that your next line of action is gunning for a master’s degree in this particular field (School counseling) since there are many fields of counseling once you get to the master’s level. Specialization sets in, you choose which field you desire to focus on and since you’re aiming at becoming a school counselor then, your area of concentration should be that (school counseling). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for a school counselor is expected to increase by 13% between 2016 to 2026. You can’t compete in the Market if all you can bring to the table is a bachelor’s degree. You have to possess a minimum of master’s degree to stand a chance in this market. Your masters can be done online and physically (on campus). Which means you have a flexible schedule and plan to choose from. I’m sure can’t be inconvenient. Once you’ve met the requirements of your desired school.
Talking about schools where you can get your master’s done, some of them are:
- North Carolina University
- University of Denver
- New York University
- Bradley University
- Texas State University
These are just a few of the hundreds of universities we have out there who offer this course at the masters level.
You will get to do projects that will boost your knowledge about school counseling and you will also be involved in some great researches to also help boost and broaden your knowledge.
Go for your internship experience for certification/licensure requirements
Now, before you get done with your masters the next big step in your internship (internship is a period during which one works under a person, an organization and companies to gain experience of that particular field), in school under a certified or licensed school counselor. This internship is meant to equip you with all needed or some needed experience for postgraduate employment as it allows you to dive deep into your work with students. It’s more or less like a student training program aimed at equipping you with handy skills and experience, also serves as an on-field practice and helps you feel the art of counseling beforehand.
Get professional certification or license
Some states or nations prefer to have qualified and licensed counselors to have qualified but uncertified or unlicensed counselors. So, put up your exam muscles and Finish up with getting licensed or certified by a regulating body in your geographical base (state of residence).
This helps you prove the fact that you’re not only qualified as a scholar of school counseling but also certified as a practicing school counselor, and this gives you an edge over others looking forward to exploring the field.
Does it all end there? No… It certainly doesn’t. How?, You may ask, but yes it doesn’t end there. It’s not enough to get the certificate and the license but do you really know the other qualities needed by a school counselor?.
Remember I said; school counselors practically have a huge impact on the students future. Just in case you don’t know how deep the role of a school counselor, I will break them down I’m bits as they’re also a key requirement for school counseling. Thus making it secondary requirements while the former is the primary requirement.
Secondary requirements for a school counselor is not what you’re thinking… I know you’re probably thinking of some credentials like Ph.D. in counseling or other certification. No, none of those. The secondary requirements have to do with your skills and task. Let me break it down further, having acquired all necessary certification and qualifications, you need to also know what your job as a school counselor would most definitely look like and your needed skills which in this case is your secondary requirement.
These skills and requirements are divided according to the level of educational system. That is; elementary or basic school level and the high school (secondary School) level.
Elementary or Basic School level (Primary school)
This is the introductory level of education to a child or children and as such should be of proper and great foundation which is the job of the school counselor and the teachers to oversee.
Their functional skills needed here is making sure that:
- Students get the best and appropriate academic, emotional, behavioral, and physical assistance as they are still young to make decisions on their own. Helping them especially
- You collaborate with teachers and other staff to make sure students are being adequately challenged academically
- You should also get engaged with students in emotional development, behavior management, and social skills learning
- High school (Secondary School)
Every child grows but not just in size but in capacity and class, at the high school level, the students are more matured and grown. Hence, requiring a more advanced technique to be nurtured.
So in doing this, you’re required to:
- Help the students understand their independence and their transition to adulthood.
- Help with student post-graduate plans such as college, course choice, trade school and workforce.
- Inculcate and imbibe into the students academic and career planning activities so as to help them make the right choice of career or profession.
- Help carry out crisis counseling and management in order to assist students in pressures of adolescent trials and frivolities.
Once you’ve gone through every process stated above and have fulfilled their request and made up for every stage, then you’re good to go. But make sure you meet all other specific requirements which is meant to be given by the state.
Further added qualities are being:
Giving an opening ear is not just enough but learning to listen calmly and being able to understand every issue presented before you is a key factor which is highly needed of you as a counselor. You have to always learn to listen to your students who probably have more than enough story to share and you have to make sure you don’t bote them nor annoy them as they share with you.
Keep calm and listen well so you can give a good interpretation and understand what I’m about to say.
Great interpersonal relationship or communication skills
You need to be able to relate easily with the students as they come nearer to you to seek guidance and mentorship, You should be able to relate with people from different areas of life in terms of background, religion and financial status (some times).
Help in special cases
Some cases may arise needing you to help nurture a special child (a child with one form of disability and this might require special skills as you must be able to manage the situation of the child or children involved. Having this extra qualifications and understanding of their situation and how to manage them is an add on to your credentials.
Your observation skill must be at its maximum as you will need to always be able to spot behavioral changes in the students or mood swings, even to the least detail of the students. Though you may not identify all students at least you should be very observant.
Skill development ability
Every child under your guidance or that will be placed under your guidance has a special gift. One of your major skill and duty needed by the school is to help the children discover their gifts and help the develop it. Breed them towards that line and a talented educated being.
All these and many more are the requirements of a school counselor and school counselor’s skills needed to be or succeed as a counselor. Get the needed certification and degrees to get very good jobs and also help improve your person.
Remember, “you can’t give what you don’t have”. If you can’t face your fears and your personal issues, how then do you want to help another person? Think of what will be at stake once you sign up for this course. The time you will need to spend with your family automatically reduces, you don’t get to live a life outside schedule except for emergencies or necessity.
That’s all you need to know about “school counselor requirements”. Be a good counselor.