You have made the decision to pursue a career in school counseling. School counselors are a necessity in every school district. In many schools, the counselor is responsible for hundreds of students. School counselors are compassionate and caring people. They give students the mental tools that they need to resolve their issues. At times, the profession can be challenging. Nevertheless, most school counselors are happy with their career. The path to becoming a school counselor is laid out for you step by step in this guide.
What Characteristics Do You Need To Be a School Counselor?
To be a good school counselor, you need to love your job. School counselors need innate skills. Fortunately, these skills can be learned if you do not already possess them. You can learn these skills by reading books about character development.
1. Good Listening Skills
A large portion of your day will be spent listening attentively to young people. You will also interact with parents, teachers and administrators. Listen and ask questions. Always let the student know that you care about their problems.
2. Good Observational Skills
You must be keenly observant. You will have to make accurate assessments. Your students will need your guidance when they are choosing a college and a career. You will need to report your assessments to parents and administrators.
3. Good Communication Skills
You need to have great communication skills. You will be expected to communicate your thoughts and ideas in an effective manner. You will speak with students about the importance of making good choices.
4. Appreciate Diversity
Your students will come from diverse backgrounds. You should know how to put aside cultural biases when you are listening to your students. Students need to know that success is possible regardless of their current circumstances.
5. Be Kind
School counselors need to have an approachable demeanor. Students need to trust their school counselor. Students are stressed, and they need someone to listen to their problems.
6. Laugh and Share Stories
Sometimes, laughter is needed to gain a student’s trust. You should be able to offer anecdotes from your own life experiences. Your stories will help your students be more open during their counseling sessions. You will gain more information for your assessments. Laughter will also make your days better when you are stressed.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree
You need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a field that is related to school counseling. Common degrees are psychology, education and social work. A bachelor’s in psychology will give you an understanding of human development. The degree will also help you hone your research skills. An education degree will teach you many things that you need to know about child development. A degree in social work will give you an overview of many important fields. You will learn about education, psychology and sociology.
A Master’s Degree in School Counseling
When you have your bachelor’s degree, you should enroll in a master’s degree program. You will balance your coursework with research and an internship. You will learn about development, ethics, legalities and interventions. Most degree programs can be completed in two years. Some programs require more credits. You will meet the criteria for the National Counselor Examination after you graduate. You will be tested on your mathematics and literacy skills.
Applying for Your School Counseling Certification
When you pass your exams, you can apply for your professional certification. The process varies according to where you live. You may need to submit your test scores, transcripts and pay a fee. The process can be complex in some states. Make sure your university has knowledgeable advisors. You will need guidance when you are completing your degree program.
Lastly, you can start searching for school counseling job opportunities. An accredited program will help you prepare for your job search. The staff should give you detailed career advice and networking opportunities. You will be equipped with the right qualifications when you start looking for a job. You should be able to find a great job when you have experienced professionals guiding you.