When you are looking at which career path to choose, there are many things to take into account. It is key to sit down and think about these carefully before making any decision on which field to move into. Doing this is important because it helps you choose a career which is right for you and one that you will get the most from.
One thing to mull over is how rewarding any potential career could be. This is not something you can ignore because a career that you find rewarding will be something you love to do. Moving into a role you do not find rewarding though can lead to you getting bored.
When it comes to highly rewarding roles, school counseling is one which crops up regularly. This career path involves you supporting students in school settings and helping them develop emotionally into well-rounded people. It can also include you helping them with their own future career plans and academic work. Licensed school counselors work closely with students and connect with a diverse range of people to achieve the best outcomes for them.
But how you do become a school counselor and why is this career so rewarding?
How do you get into a career in school counseling?
There is no doubt that carving out a career in school counseling can be both rewarding and satisfying. But how can you break into this sector?
To begin with, it is essential to gain the relevant qualifications which equip you to work in this field. Without these behind you, you will not only be unable to work in this role and will not be attractive as a candidate to potential employers. It is therefore crucial to research high-quality courses of academic study which give you the credentials to work as a licensed school counselor.
The online school counseling programs which St Bonaventure University offers are a good illustration of this. Their affordable online MSED in school counseling has no GRE/GMAT requirements and is available to enroll in throughout the year. In addition, it offers high-class learning and teaches you everything you need to work in this career.
Why study for the qualifications you need online?
Although you could choose to study for the qualifications you need in the traditional manner, the rise of online courses (such as the one described above) is hard to ignore. But why have they become such a popular option?
Perhaps the biggest reason students are moving towards online study is the convenience it offers. This is especially true for students who hold down a full or part-time job during the day. It is also much more convenient for those who cannot commit to attending classes throughout the week or live far away from the university they wish to study at. Online courses eliminate these issues and enable you to study when you want and from the comfort of your own home.
Due to the lack of travel and other costs associated with traditional in-person study, such as buying lunch each day or accommodation costs if you need to move closer to the school campus, online courses can also be a less expensive option. When you also factor in the top-quality learning they offer, the appeal is clear.
What do courses in school counseling teach you?
Before enrolling in a course in school counseling, you might wonder what sort of things you will learn. This is only natural and something any sensible student will ask. In simple terms, all decent courses in this area will arm you with the latest knowledge to counsel young people in a school setting. This can include modules on:
- Developing strong professional foundations which help you grasp the basics of counseling in schools
- Developing greater insights into human perspectives to help improve student outcomes
- The development of a personal counseling style and philosophy to use when working in a school counseling role
In addition, you might find modules on subjects such as abnormal psychology, which teaches you about the various types of abnormal disorders and their treatments, and group counseling, which guides you through the basics of counseling groups of students.
All the best courses in school counseling will also include practical modules which enable you to gain first-hand experience working as a school counselor in the field.
What qualities do you need to be a school counselor?
While there are some key skills any freelancer must have, there are also some core qualities anyone thinking of moving into school counseling should have. Although the right qualifications are important, there is more required. But what traits does anyone working in this career need?
The first one that most people know about is having excellent listening skills. This is obviously related to the children you help but also to parents and colleagues. A major part of the job is listening, and you must be able to give your full attention to what people are saying. This not only means you pick up on key information but also have time to process what is being said, before deciding on the best course of action. It also shows people that you are taking them seriously and giving them the respect of being listened too.
The ability to make accurate assessments based on what you are told is also crucial. This is something that will be developed through study but is also something which most successful counselors have an instinct for. It is very important that you can form accurate assessments of what is being said to make the best decisions moving forward.
It is also vital for school counselors to have a good deal of patience. This is not only handy when dealing with students directly but also when handling irate parents or colleagues who do not share your views on a certain situation. By being able to remain patient, you stay in control of things and retain your sense of authority.
What other qualities do school counselors need?
It goes without saying that any good school counselor should be compassionate and needs fabulous communication skills. While being able to listen is vital, being able to communicate your own ideas or thoughts effectively is also key. This ensures that the student who has come to you for help understands your advice and that parents and colleagues can follow what you are saying.
It can also be important for school counselors to have a friendly, warm manner and a good sense of humor. This will not only help students feel comfortable bringing their issues to you but also help you when approaching those you feel might need help. A good sense of humor can often help students open up to you who wouldn’t otherwise.
Although the above is vital, the ability to retain a sense of authority and be firm when needed is also a must. This can sometimes be a tricky balance to strike, but the best school counselors are the ones who do this. By retaining this sense of authority while being approachable, you can deal with difficult situations effectively when called upon.
Why is school counseling such a rewarding career?
For many people who choose it as a career, working as a school counselor is very rewarding on a personal and professional level. But why is this?
The first reason lies in the chance it gives you to help people. This will frequently be students who are at a low point and need support. Being able to raise their spirits, put measures in place to protect them and help improve their situation brings a real feeling of satisfaction to counselors which is very rewarding.
This role is not just about helping students who are in a difficult place or need assistance dealing with problems though. Working as a school counselor is also highly rewarding because it involves helping children reach their full potential. While this can be students who are struggling with their grades or behavior, it can also be focused on helping those who are doing well to achieve more. Although working with adults to unlock their full potential is enjoyable, there is something about doing this with kids which is incredibly satisfying.
Why else is school counseling such a rewarding job?
Of course, working in this career can also be very rewarding when kids you have helped take the time to thank you. This could be when they leave your school to further their education or coming back years later to thank you for the positive impact you had on their life. Some kids you spend a lot of time working with might even stay in touch and keep you up to date with how they are doing. If you see them achieving great things and leading a happy life, this can bring feelings of real joy.
Perhaps the last major reason this job gives back so much is that those who work in it love helping others. As noted earlier in this article, those who work as school counselors normally have certain traits and a compassionate nature. This means they will enjoy what working as a school counselor involves and get the most from it.
Why else should you think about moving into school counseling?
There is no doubt that having a real passion and love for your job is important for long-term satisfaction. But these are not the only things which makes working as a school counselor attractive.
For example, there are the job prospects in this field and the number of new opportunities which are expected to arise in it moving ahead. As student numbers in elementary, middle and high schools rise, it is also believed that the number of school counselors will rise. The US Bureau of Labor predicts an 8% increase in this role from 2019 to 2029. This projected outlook makes school counseling an appealing career to move into and one with great job security.
Training to work as a school counselor can also set you up to work in a wide range of jobs moving ahead. While working in schools as a counselor is an obvious example, you could also work as a counselor in colleges, non-profit organizations, universities and special educational facilities. This offers a great degree of flexibility to your career.
You should also consider that school counselors are well-paid, which is attractive to many people. The average salary per annum for this role in the USA is just over $58,000 and can be higher in some states and institutions.
Be prepared for the emotional side of the job
There is no doubt that working in this career can be very rewarding and make you feel great. It must also be pointed out though that this role could involve hearing about upsetting things from students at times. These could be negative situations they are facing in school or even at home. It is key to be ready for this when moving into this field and to be able to handle it.
Although you will naturally feel concerned for any student in these situations, you must be able to avoid letting it affect you emotionally. This will mean you are still able to make rational decisions to help them and also protect your own mental well-being in the long-term. The key thing to remember is that difficult situations can be sorted out for students with your help. When this happens, you will actually feel very satisfied that they are safer and that you have had a hand in making this happen.
Be prepared to work in a school setting as well
Although it might sound a little obvious, you should also be prepared to work in a school setting when moving into this career. While this might not sound like something to really think about, it is worth your attention. Schools are busy, noisy places full of kids where something is always happening.
This means you must be able to work in a setting like this and actually enjoy the lively feel they have. As a school counselor, you will not only be spending most of your time in school but also be kept very busy with plenty of students to assist. It is crucial that you enjoy this and do not let it negatively affect you. If you have never worked in a school setting before, there is no doubt that it has a very different feel to a normal office environment, and this is something to prepare yourself for.
What do school counselors do on a day-to-day basis?
While we have looked at how to get into this career, why it is so rewarding, and what else makes it an appealing role to work in, you may still be wondering what is involved with it specifically. The best way to get a handle on this is by looking at what the average school counselor might do on an average day. This makes sense as it sets out exactly the kind of tasks you might have to do each day and gives you some insight into whether you will like the role.
As you might expect, a large chunk of any day is usually taken up with student meetings. This could be students who have asked to see you or those who have been referred to you for help. During these meetings, you will need to not only listen to what the student is saying but also take notes where needed. If required, you may also need to spend time after a meeting to either decide on the best course of action moving ahead or speak to colleagues and parents about the situation. You may also need to refer students to other mental health resources, such as psychologists.
You may also spend a lot of time each day involved in other types of meetings. This could include meetings to mediate student/teacher conflicts for example or working on the school’s academic board to improve learning. Many school counselors are also heavily involved with career planning and assisting students with tasks such as college applications or developing future career goals.
As the above shows, this is a role which is interesting and rewarding, and which involves a variety of day-to-day tasks. If you like the sound of what you might be doing each day, then it could be for you!
Want a rewarding career? School counseling is a great choice!
Choosing a career that satisfies you both personally and professionally is always important. While there are many other roles that fit the bill here, school counseling is a top choice. If you like to help young people and have great listening and communication skills, it could be your dream role.In terms of feeling rewarded, there is just nothing like helping a student unlock their potential, find the right career with the best Indianapolis entry level jobs or work through a difficult period in their life.