If you want to become a part of the academe but not directly involved with teaching and making lesson plans, a job as a school counselor might interest you.
School counseling is a dynamic profession with responsibilities ranging from career planning to preventing violence on campus. It is a well respected job that deals with students who need guidance in various aspects of life. Counselors are often considered as educators of character. Apart from textbooks and facts, there are other life aspects the students need to learn and develop for their overall individuality.
Duties and Responsibilities
A school counselor basically is in charge of ensuring the overall psychological growth of the students. Both private and public schools employ counselors.
The school counselor guides children and teens with social and career development. Counselors work with parents, teachers, nurses, psychologists, and community groups to identify the students’ developmental needs. Together they design prevention and intervention activities in order to guide students on a healthy path to adulthood.
Sometimes, they meet students individually or in groups. As for students in junior and senior high school, counselors help them decide on what course or career they want to have. Some counselors conduct aptitude tests and interviews to talk about their plans. They also provide students with scholarship information, training manuals, and college catalogs.
School counselors also serve as mediators between two students fighting. They also work with behavioral problems, which is perhaps the toughest part of their job. It is the school counselor who helps, understands, and provides solutions to children with problems.
They also contribute to preparing and formulating school policies and regulations. School counselors help improve the school administration.
Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree in psychology, education, or liberal arts is required for this job position. Since this profession deals with behavior, attitude, emotion, and the mind, it would be an advantage to have a concrete background in psychology or child psychology. There are several universities and colleges that offer certifications and master’s degrees specifically for school counseling.
All aspiring school counselors should be certified. Other states require renewing certifications every 5 years with continuing education and professional development.
Generally, school counselors should have the patience to listen to every confession. They should also be empathetic and witty to provide a suitable solution to any situation. They should be very calm and good listeners.
Working Conditions and Salary
School counselors are mostly employed by schools and universities. They have their designated offices on the school premises. They can be assigned to elementary or high school as well as college students. The responsibilities are the same at each level. However, the training is different according to development theories.
Full-time school counselors work longer hours than teachers. Usually, they are scheduled to meet with students and parents before and after school. There are part-time positions available in certain institutions. Some employers open positions that are a combination of counseling and teaching duties.
The salary varies from one institution to another. The average salary for a school counselor is $45,570 yearly. Those with more experience can receive at least $70,000 annually.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/