How to Become a High School Guidance Counselor

How to become a High School Guidance CounselorPursuing a career in education is admirable in itself, but one that addresses the often fluctuating behaviors and emotions of high school students is additionally impressive, yet challenging at the same time. High school guidance counselors deal with a range of issues among their teenage students, from requests for help in choosing courses or colleges, to dealing with bullying, bad grades, or problems at home that affect success at school. High school guidance counselors fulfill a vital complementary, companion role to their teaching colleagues.

High school students in grades 9 to 12 are typically in the 15- to 18-year age range. They have their contrasting interests as slightly older children at odds with fast approaching adulthood that will require them to make decisions that have the potential to be life-changing. High school students are at a crossroads and that is exactly where high school guidance counselors play such an essential role, to guide students into the most appropriate decisions that will positively influence their lives currently and in the future.

$53,380
Master's Degree
None
None
281,400
19%
53,400
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The minimum degree for entry-level high school guidance counselor jobs is a master’s degree, plus 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Guidance counselors working in public schools must have the appropriate state-issued credentials, which may be a certification, a license, or an endorsement, depending on the individual state’s requirements. Most private schools required licensed guidance counselors. A background check is typically part of the process for obtaining credentials, as is passing a state-issued exam. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 19 percent job growth for school guidance counselors between 2013 and 2020, about as fast as average among other industries.

How to Become a High School Guidance Counselor

In order to become a high school guidance counselor, you will need a minimum of a master’s degree, usually in school counseling or a related field, as your primary responsibility will be to engage in individual and group counseling with students. You will also need to provide academic and career counseling. Guidance counselors also need to possess valuable skills or attributes such as compassion, listening, speaking, and effectively dealing with a diverse group of people.

Your college courses will teach you how to promote academic development; effective listening and communication skills; people skills to interact with students, parents, and other school professionals; and counseling techniques. You will usually also need to accumulate 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.

After earning your degree, you will typically need to first pass a background check, and then pass a state-issued exam. You must also commit to completing continuing education credits annually. You can learn about your state’s regulating boards and specific requirements at the National Board for Certified Counselors.

How Online Education Can Help

The demands on adult learners are undeniable. Between relationship or family obligations, and likely already holding down a job, pursuing a degree that can lead to a new career may seem impossible. The flexible and convenient nature of online education, however, allows you to meet your other obligations in life even while you pursue your degree in high school guidance counseling.

Even online education guidance counseling degree programs require you to complete a large number of supervised clinical hours, varying from 2,000 to 3,000 hours. Check with an administrator for high schools in your area, as well as with the director of your school program to ascertain how you can fulfill your supervised clinical hours as required for the degree.

In addition to already having your bachelor’s degree credits transferred toward your master’s degree, a typical courseload for a high school guidance counselor degree might include such courses such as the following:

  • Counseling and guidance for students
  • Ethical and legal issues for school counselors
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Developmental school counseling and student services
  • Career development and life planning
  • Counseling and advocating among diverse populations
  • School counseling clinical

Here at Web College Search, we can guide you into selecting the right school program for your needs. Simply fill out our convenient sign-up form so you can receive complete information about the school/s of interest to you. Make sure you also fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and then apply to the school/s with high school guidance counselor degrees. Make sure to also bookmark our site and come back often to glean more information from our valuable articles and other resources as you continue your own educational journey that will eventually lead you to help high school students begin their own college journeys.

Considerations for a Career as a High School Guidance Counselor

According to May 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 237,500 guidance counselors were employed nationwide. The median annual wage was $53,610, but annual wages ranged from a low of $31,920 to a high of $86,680.

The job outlook for high school guidance counselors from 2013 to 2020 varies, but the BLS predicts a 19 percent increase in job openings, especially in those areas where student enrollment is expected to increase. This translates to a rise from 2012 figures of 237,500 to about 334,800 guidance counselors employed by 2020.

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