How to Become a School Counselor

Mar 5, 2018 by

If you’re a highly altruistic person, you may have trouble settling into just any career. Jobs that are fine for 80% of the population could leave you miserable. Instead of being able to take just any job, you have an almost-physical need to help people. If that’s the case, you might want to consider a degree in psychology. A BA in psychology opens up a wide range of options in psychology research, psychotherapy, and many different forms of counseling. If, on top of wanting to help people, you also have a heart for young people–then a future in school counseling might be for you.

What a Day of School Counseling Looks Like

The duties of a school counselor are typically two-fold. On the one hand, they focus on the emotional and psychological needs of their students. They may counsel students alone or in groups, they may plan an event to teach students about bullying or other school problems, or they may watch students for signs of abuse at home. They conduct meetings with parents and try to make sure that students do well emotionally. On the other side of their duties are academic evaluations–they also give students aptitude tests and try to recognize learning disabilities or special classroom needs. If they’re a high school counselor, they’ll also help students prepare for college and help them decide what degree they might wish to pursue.

What It Pays

The salary of a school counselor can vary quite a bit, depending on area and experience. The median is somewhere around $56,000 a year, while some of the highest salaries include $90,000, and some of the lowest salaries are around $33,000. If you want to know what school counselors make in your area, you can do some quick research online.

What It Takes to Get a Degree

It’s not possible to get a job as a school counselor without a master’s degree. For a job that might pay less than $40,000 a year, that’s a lot of time and money to invest in a career. For many, online degrees in psychology are becoming increasingly popular. Not only is online tuition often cheaper, but self-paced courses can help cut some of that time away. If you’re interested in school counselor online degrees, you can start doing research on what a degree in school counseling might cost you. Plus, if you already have your BA, you could get the necessary credit for a master’s in under two years, even if your BA isn’t in psychology. Even after you get your degree, you still have to work under supervision for two years before you’re able to get a job on your own. Becoming a school counselor is a massive time commitment, but the reward of helping kids every day is well-worth it. There’s a reason many school counselors report that they love their job. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding. If you think a future in school counseling is right for you, start taking a look at next steps.

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