Perhaps the idea of working with children who face emotional obstacles interests you. Maybe you want to help kids with difficulties and wonder, “How do I become an elementary school counselor?” With this career field, there are only a few specialized undergraduate degrees that are applicable, so it is a good idea to decide early on that you want to pursue a job in this career field.
Day in the Life of an Elementary School Counselor
The typical day for an elementary school counselor is filled with appointments from children who may be causing disruptions in school, receiving poor grades or facing the loss of a loved one in their families. Teachers may also have meetings scheduled with an elementary school counselor to discuss issues that they see with particular students in the classroom. Elementary school counselors face the difficulty of analyzing a student’s success in academics, family and in the school community. The counselor may be given the responsibility of designing a program that can help encourage the success of a student. The counselor may also work with the parents of a child to ensure that his or her homework is completed in a timely fashion every week.
In the more drastic situations that an elementary school counselor deals with, he or she may even need to contact the authorities in order to resolve an issue with child abuse. The counselor may also be interviewed by lawyers who are involved in creating custody agreements for a child. If you decide to become an elementary school counselor, be prepared to be involved in important decisions that affect the lives of young children.
These days, a majority of elementary school counselors have a master’s degree in child psychology, sociology or a related subject. The typical person pursues an undergraduate degree in psychology or education. You should try to gain an internship with a school or participate in a counseling program in college to become familiar with this area. Supervised counseling internships can provide you with a great opportunity to get involved in the community and decide whether this career path is right for you. Some people find that this career is much more intense than they anticipated, so it is a good idea to get as much experience as you can. To become an elementary school counselor, you should be prepared to be a role model for parents and children in the community.
Salary & Job Opportunities
Most people who decide to become an elementary school counselor do not do it for the money. The salary that an elementary school counselor earns will depend on the quality of the school that he or she works at. For counselors working in low-income school districts, the average income is about $29,000. For those working in middle-class areas, the salary is about $51,000 a year. If you become an elementary school counselor for a prestigious private school, then your salary may be as high as $80,000 a year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that this field will grow by 14 percent in the upcoming years.
When you are an elementary school counselor, you have the power to make profound change in the life of a troubled student. You may be able to help a young child get out of an abusive situation. You may be able to help children get back on the right track in school and become more confident in their abilities. While this is a demanding career, it is often a highly rewarding career for the people who choose to enter this profession.