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What Does A School Counselor Do?


In today’s modern world of schooling and education, many roles are not teacher-based roles but are still vitally important to the effective running of a school.

From governors to janitors, modern schools employ skilled workers from many different sectors, and perhaps one of the most underappreciated job roles in a school setting is that of the humble school counselor.

However, school counselors are a vital addition to the everyday staff of a school because they provide support and guidance to pupils and help to escalate behavior that may have become disruptive or dangerous by speaking with pupils and guiding them to make better decisions.

What Do School Counselors Do?

School counselors serve as a valuable resource to both teachers and pupils in schools.

The obvious first port of call for those seeking guidance, school counselors can provide vital support to pupils and help them with many different issues such as mental health, lack of motivation at school, and other issues that impact their ability to learn.

School counselors can also be valuable tools for teachers to reach out to students and receive feedback from those directly connected with the pupil’s living experience. Finally, school counselors also serve as an invaluable resource should a pupil suffer from any kind of mental health problem.

School Counseling: A Job For The Future

School counselors are a valuable resource for modern education, providing support to pupils and teachers alike. With the right training, school counseling can provide a rewarding career with many different opportunities for growth.

Once a school counselor has been offered a permanent position in a setting such as a school, they will typically be provided with initial training before being able to begin helping pupils in an official capacity.

School counseling is still something that is considered relatively new to many countries around the world, and many governments have yet to see the benefit in hiring professional school counselors or even providing them with sufficient funding.

School Psychologist vs School Counselor

School counselors are not to be confused with psychologists who deal more directly with mental health issues.

Although school counselors are often trained in some psychology, they are primarily tasked with providing support to pupils and communicating with parents of those pupils who require extra help.

The Job Of A School Psychologist

The role of a psychologist in school is to identify those pupils who require extra support with their education and provide them with the help they need to succeed.

School psychologists can assist those pupils struggling to perform well academically and also help those with issues such as social anxiety, autism, and other types of mental illness.

A psychologist in school is not principally tasked with communicating with parents and providing guidance to parents but rather focusing on the pupil’s education.

School Counseling Training Requirements

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a school counselor after college, there are certain qualifications you will need to meet before applying for a job at a local school or university setting.

Most employers of qualified school counselors will require that applicants have at least one master’s degree in the relevant field. This will normally be supplemented by an additional level of training carried out on the job once hired by the institution.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a School Counselor?

Although legislation regarding this can vary widely from state to state, the majority of employers of school counselors will require the completion of a master’s degree in counseling or psychology. The nature of these degrees varies depending on your preference and specialty area.

For example, you may choose to specialize in an area such as school counseling, youth counseling, child counseling, or even family therapy.

What Are The Requirements For School Counseling Degrees?

The first step towards becoming a school counselor is to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

This can lead to an advanced degree should you wish to go down this path, but it will at least provide you with the foundation you need for college admission.

How to Become a School Counselor

The second step towards becoming a school counselor is to complete an accredited degree, where this is possible.

Most higher education institutions will require applicants to have completed at least three years of college work before they are eligible for admission.

After successfully graduating from college, you need to make sure that you are ready for the application process by completing an accredited internship or volunteering with a university.  This will provide you with the know-how and experience required by most employers of school counselors.

Finding A Job As A School Counselor

The third step towards becoming a school counselor is to get your foot in the door of special institutions of higher education, where you can begin work on gaining further qualifications.

For example, some organizations will allow prospective candidates to take part in an internship with the organization’s clients before being granted access to higher education institutions where they may end up working once qualified.

How Much do School Counselors Make?

The average annual salary for school counseling positions nationally is $61,000.

This salary can be much higher in states like California, where the salary averages at $78,250, or Maryland, where average school counselor salaries are around $70,380.

Job Outlook for School Counselors

The job outlook for counselors, in general, is very good, with a growth rate. However, growth for school counselors is even higher. 

However, as discussed earlier, this figure will vary depending on your specialization and which state you live in.  For example, you may not be able to go into public schools as a school counselor without holding a certain level of qualification.

School Counselor Soft Skills

Not all skills and qualifications can be taught at college and tested in exams, and this is especially true for soft skills. Those in the school counseling role are in charge of finding out what is happening in the minds of their pupils, whether that be in finding out why they are struggling with a subject or talking to them about what they’re feeling when they’re not doing well at school.

Some soft skills that show great potential for success are adaptability, patience, empathy, leadership qualities, and creativity. The ability to adapt well is especially important for someone working with children because it means you can change your approach according to their age group.

Adaptability, Empathy, and Leadership

Adaptability can be gained by attending training courses so you can learn how to work with different types of children. 

Empathy is also something you can learn at school, although this isn’t so much about understanding their emotions as it is about understanding the reasons behind their emotions. 

You need to be able to use this skill when trying to find out what is causing your pupil’s problems and determining how best to help them overcome them.

Being a leader also shows potential for success because leaders are excellent at inspiring others.  This makes it easier for children to follow them around and make them more willing to do well in school, which could lead to other aspects of life such as getting into university.

Ability to Work on Your Own and as a Team Player

School counselors tend to work on their own more often than they work as team players.  This also depends on what type of school counselor you are.  At some schools, you may be asked to talk with students individually about their issues.  At other schools, you will be expected to sit down with students and discuss their concerns more openly among the group.

This hints at the fact that professionals in this field need a good level of self-awareness because they need to know when best to communicate with individuals and when best to communicate with groups.


There are many things to consider when deciding if you want to become a school counselor. Many people choose to become counselors because they want to help kids, but not everybody can do this.  The next step is figuring out what position you want. If you are unsure of anything, go ahead and look at the positions available on any job board and see what the requirements and day-to-day activities are.

The next step is finding an online course that will teach the general knowledge required for school counseling positions.  This is so that you can decide if there is enough of an overlap between your current job and your desired job or if it will require major changes in what you do for them.

If you don’t do this, you may end up having the wrong qualifications and the wrong attitude. It’s better to make sure you are ready to make a move before taking a step towards becoming a school counselor.

This is an exciting role for the right person, but there are no guarantees that you will like it. However, the satisfaction of helping someone while at the same time gaining experience for yourself makes up for all of the hard work you put into getting your training and job qualifications.

School counselors often have a lot of things on their plate, so they need to manage their workload effectively.

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