Educational Counselor

Being a counselor in a school environment is a potentially rewarding and challenging career. Students at all grade levels need access to counseling to help them work through personal issues, adapt their behavior, or find careers and colleges that suit their particular needs and skills. School counselors provide help and advice to students and work with teachers and parents to find solutions to problems.

In order to become a school counselor, a license in counseling is required. Generally, this will require those that want to pursue this career to not only complete undergraduate education but a master’s degree program as well. Courses in child development, conflict resolution, and career counseling are not always required, but can be a great asset to a resume. Counselors must also get certification in counseling from the state they work in and some schools will want counselors to have both teaching and counseling certifications as well as some experience in the classroom.

School counselors help students with a wide range of issues. They provide help and guidance for students with social, behavioral and personal issues as well as give students some direction in choosing higher education, finding scholarships and considering careers. Duties of counselors will vary depending on the grade level that they choose to work at, with primary school counselors dealing frequently with developmental issues and secondary counselors dealing with career assistance and college preparation. Counselors will be expected to learn about the personalities and abilities of their students to help best determine what careers they would be suited to and what help they might need to meet educational goals or resolve personal issues. Counselors will be expected to work in conjunction with parents, social workers, administrators and other teachers to provide the best assistance and advice possible.

Those who are best suited for a career in counseling will have great listening skills and will be able to draw out additional information by asking pointed and insightful questions. Counselors should be able to maintain a level head in stressful situations, be patient, well organized, sensitive, and employ creative problem solving skills. Those who will excel most at the job will be outgoing and enjoy working with and talking to a variety of people. Superior communication skills are a must for those entering the counseling field, as is a desire to help students succeed, no matter what their current problems or situation may be.

Many of the people who go into counseling choose to work at schools and educational institutions. These positions are in demand, and the number of opportunities, as well as the type of salaries that accompany them, will vary depending on location, experience and academic qualifications.

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