Most public schools are outfitted with professional, caring individuals who act as counselors for the many students who attend the school. Because students, especially young children, are constantly adjusting to the pressures at school and at home, it is important for schools to have qualified counselors available to help children deal with their changing lives. School counselors have rewarding careers, but you may be wondering, “How do I become a school counselor?”
What’s It Like to be a School Counselor?
If you hope to become a school counselor, you must first evaluate whether or not this career path is right for you. School counselors do not make as much money as professional psychiatrists, psychologists, or marriage and family therapists with their own practices. Because school counselors are considered to be government employees, their hours are often long and their pay less than desirable. The reasons why individuals decide to be school counselors have nothing to do with money or recognition. Instead, school counselors are concerned with helping children and parents through difficult life moments.
To work as a school counselor, a student must receive a Master’s degree in psychology, psychiatry, or marriage and family therapy. Dealing with the mind is a very complex and complicated field of study. It is important to receive a thorough education from an accredited institution of learning. Many schools will not accept applicants who have received their counseling education online. If you want to become a school counselor, you must be sure to select an accredited institution of learning with a reputation of matching their students with jobs upon graduation.
In addition to a Master’s degree, school counselors must receive their counseling credentials before they can begin work. Often, an accredited institution of learning will help students receive their credentials as a part of the Master’s degree program. If your school does not offer this service, you will be responsible for receiving your credentials on your own. Thankfully, most schools do not require any previous work-related experience or on-the-job training for school counselors. After an individual receives his or her degree and credentials, that person can immediately begin applying to become a school counselor.
Salary and Job Hunting
Because the job scenario for school counselors is projected to grow in the next twenty years at an above average rate, it may be easier for you to become a school counselor if you begin your education now. School counselors are finding their services needed more and more as the educational system becomes increasingly difficult for many children to cope with. A school counselor can expect to make more than $50,000 a year if hired as a salaried employee. However, some school systems only hire counselors on a part time basis. In these instances, school counselors may work at several different schools throughout the week, rotating from one school to the next to spread their services over a wider area. An hourly paid school counselor will likely make at least $25 per hour in the public school system. There is a need for private school counselors, and these counselors may be able to secure a higher salary and more consistent work hours.