Do you enjoy working with children, adolescents, and young adults? Are you a great listener who’s interested in helping others achieve emotional and mental health? If so, you might have what it takes to be a school counselor. School counselors work at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges or universities. They were previously referred to as guidance counselors, but the term has since changed. They provide emotional support and behavioral guidance to students, helping them succeed in school. Some school counselors coach students on social skills, and advocate for students with special needs. Others provide case management for their students, linking them with resources both within the school and within the greater community. Some perform aptitude and personality tests.
School counselors work one-on-one with their students. They may also run groups and teach psycho-educational classes related to topics such as stress management, safe sex, drug and alcohol use, or domestic violence.
To some degree, a school counselor’s responsibilities are dictated by the school and level of education they serve. Here are three common types of careers that you might pursue if you earn a master’s in school counseling.
Elementary School Counselor
The most common responsibilities of elementary school counselor jobs include providing support for students and administering aptitude tests. Elementary school counselors might assist students in developing age-appropriate skills that foster their academic and social growth. They may observe students in the classroom to be certain they are achieving important developmental milestones; and, they may work with parents, teachers, and other staff to create a specialized plan to provide that developmentally challenged students with additional support. They are also responsible for identifying and reporting cases of abuse or neglect.
High School Counselor
The common responsibilities of individuals working in high school counselor jobs include working with students, who, as adolescents, are navigating questions of identity and future. High school counselors may help students who are struggling with personal problems or offer advice to help students plan for their futures following graduation. High school counselors may administer personality and aptitude tests, and they may also teach psychoeducational classes related to topics such as drug use and domestic violence. Like elementary school counselors, they work with family, teachers, and other staff to provide assistance to students in need of extra support. A high school counselor salary varies depending on your location, education level and more.
While the term “college counselor” is sometimes used to denote high school staff that advise and coach students on the college admissions process, “college counselors” also refer to those who provide counseling to students in colleges or universities. The typical college counselor job is heavily weighted towards counseling students individually or in groups. College counselors may also provide crisis intervention, or offer psychoeducation and programming. Some college counselors outreach students identified as “at-risk”; they may also work in conjunction with other staff and faculty to support at-risk students.