There are so many jobs that allow you to give back and have a true impact on society. These can be some of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you’ll find, and they take a certain type of person to excel in the position. Along with the proper training, skills and experience, there also needs to be a passion for the work you’re doing and the ability to keep your goal in mind at all times, no matter how tough things get.
One job that allows you to give back in a big way is that of a school counselor. Whether you’re working with young children or teens, this is the kind of job that allows you to offer help, guidance and support to kids who need it. But what can you expect in this job?
Here we’ll peel back the layers of a school counselor, taking a look at the kind of education and training you need to get the job, what your day-to-day responsibilities look like, and even the job market. This can help you to determine if it’s the right path for you.
How to Become a School Counselor?
First things first, how do you become a school counselor? In general, you’ll need a Master’s degree in school counseling, along with credentials issued by the state. You may even need to be licensed, depending on the state.
The school counselor program can take the form of a Master of Science in Education School Counseling. This program focuses on all the foundations and fundamentals needed in the job, as well as understanding the classroom, diversity of students, the different needs of students, definitions of abnormal disorders, common issues students face, and so much more. It’s an in-depth program that will ensure graduates are well-rounded and prepared for any challenge they meet.
What Responsibilities Does the Job Have?
What makes this such an interesting job is that school counselors exist at every level – elementary, middle and high school. They are there to help every student in a wide array of capacities. Some of the core ways in which a counselor helps students include:
- Helping them to work through their emotions
- Helping students to better their interpersonal skills with actionable tips and techniques
- Helping students to plan for their career future
- Helping students to put together strategies that will allow them to be successful in their studies
In some instances, you may only work with students a couple of times. In other instances, it may be often and ongoing. School counselors may also need to refer to long-term support if needed. It will also be part of your job to collaborate with others which can include the student’s family, their teacher(s), school administration and even the community. The end goal is always the same: helping the student to achieve and ensure they have all the emotional and academic support needed. Student advocacy needs to be something you’re passionate about as you’ll be fighting for them each day.
Will You Have an Impact on a Student’s Life?
Maybe you’re asking yourself how big of an impact you can have in the lives of students? For some, the impact may be profound. Those are big shoes to step into so you need to be prepared and willing to take on that role. Students will grow up and they may remember you for the rest of their lives, and they’ll remember how much help you gave them and how that support changed their lives and their path.
How is the Job Outlook for a School Counselor?
No matter how passionate you may be about a job, reality has to set in. You need to know that after your schooling and training, there will be job opportunities available to you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps school and career counselors/advisors together in its summary and the good news is that this is a field enjoying faster than average growth. Jobs are expected to grow by 11% between 2020-2030. This translates to real opportunities for you as a graduate with a Master of Science in Education School Counseling. So, what’s the reason for this growth? Much of it is attributed to an aging workforce that will be retiring over the next few years or those who transfer to a different industry or job.
How Much Money Do School Counselors Make?
You may also be curious about what kind of salary you can expect as a school counselor. Again, the BLS offers insight into this, posting a median pay of $58,120 in 2020. Keep in mind that this will fluctuate depending on the state you work in, and even the school board. The highest paying industry is elementary and secondary schools (private, local and state).
Are There Any Specific Traits That Can Help You Be Successful?
Sometimes there are specific personality traits that can help you to be more successful in a job, or that will make you better suited for it. In terms of a school counselor, there are a few that can help. These include:
- Excellent communication skills – listening, speaking and writing
- An open and welcoming personality
- You can show empathy with ease
- You can read and assess situations well
- You are patient
- You have strong decision-making skills – you will know when it’s time to act and elevate an issue to the next level
- You embrace diversity, understanding that every student’s background will be different
- You have excellent organizational skills
- You can multitask with ease
Even if you don’t have all of these traits, many of them can be learned and improved upon so you can take the initiative in that regard.
Solidifying Your Path as a School Counselor
If you want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, to give back to your community, and to work in a job where you feel fulfilled and satisfied, it can be well worth looking into the career of a school counselor. With the option to work with all ages of students, this can be an exciting job to embrace.