A school counselor is a person who provides guidance expertise and services at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary level. In the United States licensure requirements as regards school counselors vary. Most states require that one has a school counseling masters in order to be a recognized school counselor for that state.
A masters in this field can enable you to enter an interesting and rewarding profession. Many people prefer to take their program online because of the convenience, e.g., you don’t have to leave work, you can study in the comfort of your own home, you don’t have to travel. This page provides more details of both online and on campus programs, lists suitable schools for these programs, and outlines the career prospects after graduation.
What do you study?
In general the program will provide you with the educational background and the necessary professional preparation in being able to provide counsel services to children and adolescents in the educational and social spheres. By taking these courses, one will also be exposed to classes and training on the psychological development of children, how to counsel multicultural adolescents and children as well as theories and applications. Hands on experiences are provided through the attendance of seminars and supervised experience at participating local schools.
Should you be interested in taking up a school counseling masters degree, there are necessary prerequisites. All graduate schools do require you to have finished an undergraduate degree. Some graduate schools are more specific, requiring an undergraduate degree in education, counseling or child psychology. Depending on experience and exposure, most if not all require candidates to complete a GRE examination and submit their respective transcripts.
Once you are admitted, coursework focuses on the both theoretical and practical aspects of counseling provision. Counseling courses and subjects provided provided cover techniques, theories, how to counsel groups, developmental psychology, basics for both individuals and schools, curriculum organization and how to administer counseling programs.
Gaining and earning the final masters degree in this field may sometimes require a final thesis, project or long paper. Depending on the university one is enrolled with, some students gain their degrees by only submitting a portfolio prior to their graduation. Thus requirements may differ across schools and campuses.
What are the career prospects with a school counseling masters?
Once you have completed your graduate requirements and finally hold that graduate degree in your hand, what can you expect in terms of school counseling jobs and salary? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data of 2008, counselors held about 665,500 positions, with an expected job growth for this field of14% before 2018. This is basically a faster demand than most jobs currently offered. Median annual incomes are not bad either, with the median annual salary for a school counselor in 2008 ranging around USD 57,800 or roughly USD 4,816 a month.
Thus with the expected double digit demand for counselor related jobs, and the apparently attractive salary structure, it is quite practical and recommended to get more training in this field as regards a masters degree. One must remember however that state regulations for licensure, acceptance and placements differ so you needs to do a bit of research and forecasting on where you wants to be once you finish the degree. All in all, a career in school counseling is well worth it.
List of schools and programs
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