How do I Become a School Counselor?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2018
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A school counselor, sometimes called a guidance counselor, is a trained professional dedicated to assisting students with educational and personal development. School counselors can make a significant impact on the lives of students. Some act as liaisons between students, teachers and parents. They assist in the development of important skills that can be beneficial both in school and in the outside world. Generally, to become a school counselor an individual will need to obtain a certain degree of education, decide on the type of school he'd like to work in and apply for a job.

Typically, a bachelor's degree is the minimal amount of education required to become a school counselor. Common majors for counselors include sociology, psychology and social work. Certain schools may require a license or a certification in counseling as well. In some cases, school counselors are professional educators and may have previously worked as a teacher. It is important to understand that each region will have different requirements to become a counselor.


The duties of a school counselor may vary according to the site of employment. Elementary school counselors may assist very young children with developing early study skills that will be necessary in every level of education. In a middle school setting, a school counselor will continue to promote academic achievement, but may also help in the development of interpersonal relationships by promoting healthy social skills. Individuals choosing to become a school counselor at a high school will commonly work in a school counseling program dedicated to preparing students for college and careers. Common duties of a high school counselor can include improving test-taking skills, which are important for taking college entrance exams and assisting students with career planning.

After securing the education requirements, an individual will then need to look for open job opportunities to become a school counselor. This may include searching online, newspapers and perhaps contacting schools directly. Once an availability is found, the job will need to be applied for. Hopefully, this will lead to an interview. Commonly, the interview process will include an in-person meeting, background and credit checks and possibly a second meeting.

No two work days will generally be typical for an individual choosing this career path, as working in a school environment will likely produce unpredictable scenarios on a daily basis. Generally, a person wishing to become a school counselor will have an overall fondness of working with people and in particular, children. Good communication can also be important, as a counselor will frequently work with a wide variety of people with varying temperaments.



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