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School counselors provide an increasingly vital role on campus these days. Not only can school counselors offer indispensable career and coursework guidance, more and more they are asked to help seriously at-risk students to succeed in the classroom and in life. . According to federal statistics, there has never been a greater need for trained school counselors. If you have the strong desire to help people, you might consider training now for work in this demanding, satisfying field.
School counselors evaluate students' abilities, interests, and personality characteristics with the goal of providing guidance in the classroom. On one hand, they help students prepare for college entrance testing, advise them on technical careers, or help them receive special education. School counselors also may be called upon to administer tests, conduct one-on-one psychological counseling and assessment sessions, or work with families of students with behavioral problems.
Most counselors work on a standard, school-year calendar, with a 2-3 month vacation each year. Others are called to work on a full-time annual schedule, depending upon the school district. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselors held approximately 526,000 positions in 2002.
Preparing for the School Counseling Field
Licensing and certification for school counselors can vary from state to state. However, all require licensing and the completion of some graduate course work in counseling, teaching or psychology. Most states require the completion of a master’s degree. Depending upon your district, you may need both counseling and teaching certificates and in-classroom experience.
School counselor degree programs in colleges and universities usually are found in departments of psychology or education. In some states and districts a bachelor’s degree may qualify you to work as a school counseling aide, social service worker, or rehabilitation aide.