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How Do I Become a Guidance Counselor?

Many people wonder, “How do I become a guidance counselor?” The answer to this question is not a difficult one. It does, however, require a bit of education and experience with children to earn the title and job.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR

The job of a guidance counselor is a very rewarding one. In a high school, a counselor wears many hats. They help new students enroll in school, assist students with course selections and graduation requirements and help students with various problems and issues that arise.

Being a new student is difficult. A guidance counselor helps the new student transition into a new school as easily as possible while providing support and assistance. The new student has enough with a changing environment, but a counselor helps them along the way.

Graduation is the most important event in many students’ lives. A counselor makes certain students are ready to graduate with the proper courses and electives necessary. Keeping up with all this information is a daunting task, but the guidance counselor has help from other counselors, teachers and administration.

A guidance counselor is trained to help students with difficult and sometimes life-altering experiences in their lives. From a death of a fellow student or close family member to helping a student with personal problems with other students, a guidance counselor is the first step in helping students with real world issues in a school setting.

WHAT IS THE EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENT

Most guidance counselors require at minimum a master’s degree in educational counseling. Many guidance counselors pursue education beyond a master’s and earn an educational specialist’s degree in counseling.

Most guidance counselors spend at least three to five years in a classroom before moving on to a counselor’s position. Many positions require some degree of educational experience in a K-12 classroom. The amount of experience necessary varies by state and local board of education.

WHAT IS THE SALARY, JOB EXPECTANCY and HOW DO I GET A POSITION

All salaries for certified teachers, counselors and principals are determined by the respective state department of education. The average median salary is approximately $50,000 a year, but this amount reflects a number of different factors such as number of years experience and level of education. Contact your state department of education for additional information on salaries for guidance counselors.

The job expectancy of guidance counselors is steady. All counselors are certified in their state to work in any level of school from an elementary to a high school. Depending on what type of school you want to work will determine your job opportunities.

Interested parties should contact local boards of education for job openings. Most counselor positions are posted towards the end of a school year, and positions are frequently filled in the summer. Some states have websites for job opportunities throughout the state. Search the state department of education website for more details, or use a search engine using key terms like “guidance counselor positions in .”

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