School counseling is becoming more important as the years go on. It seems our world gets more dangerous, faster-paced and higher stress with every day. Kids are particularly susceptible to the pressures of modern society, and they need someone to help guide them through these difficult times. From anti-bullying education to suicide prevention to teaching coping mechanisms for trauma, to simply helping kids pick the right courses, school counselors are there through it all.
Every teacher makes a difference, but school counselors are there when kids are having troubles and need someone to provide help and guidance to get through tough times. This field requires specialized education and expertise, but is a rewarding career where you’ll make a difference in someone’s life every day. Learn about becoming a school counselor, the training required to get there, and why this field is one of the most important in our educational system.
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What Is a School Counselor?
School counseling is an educational field that combines teaching and education with knowledge and training in psychology. They may work with a number of students during the course of a year in school, and offer help with problems ranging from scheduling classes to bullying to substance abuse to depression and trauma.
A school counselor has to be compassionate, caring, and genuinely sensitive to the needs and well-being of the kids with whom they deal. Even when surrounded by peers, kids can feel very isolated and alone, not to mention overwhelmed by the pressures of their daily lives. School counselors are there to help guide them through the murky waters of their formative years.
Duties of a School Counselor
School counselors have a job where no two days are exactly the same. They can provide a wide range of different duties. Their first priority on a given day is the students. Their job is to keep every student’s best interests in mind and guide them as needed.
They can serve as career coaches, helping to identify a student’s strengths, talents and interests and guide them to choose courses that will enrich and enhance those interests and talents. This can eventually lead the student into an ideal and fulfilling career.
Counselors can help with mental and emotional health problems, from behavioral issues to learning disabilities, to depression, anxiety, trauma and drug abuse. They can refer students to higher-level counseling and therapy if needed, and consult with parents about any behavioral concerns that might exist.
They can help to train, advise and guide teachers in dealing with problem students, or to find solutions to special educational needs. They can provide guidance in disciplinary action when necessary.
School administrators often turn to counselors when evaluating, revising or creating new school policies that will affect students as well.
Becoming a Counselor
Becoming a school counselor can be done in multiple ways. Some mental health agencies provide licensed professional counselors or therapists to serve in this capacity as outside contractors. Many schools have their own counselors who are also licensed teachers with a certification in special education.
Your best bet is to review your state’s individual requirements for becoming a counselor. Start by checking out our teacher education pages, and review the path to school counseling today.