Do I Need a Master’s Degree to Be a School Counselor?

| Staff Writers

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A career as a school counselor can be rewarding both professionally and personally. School counselors play an important role in helping students handle the problems and issues in their lives. An individual who decides to pursue a career as a school counselor will want to know whether he or she needs to earn a master’s degree to work in this field. The following provides an answer to that question and offers some additional information on this interesting career.

Does a School Counselor Need a Master’s Degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers online visitors several facts about the occupation of school counselor. The BLS states that an individual does need a Master’s degree in order to join this profession. The ideal educational path for a future school counselor is to earn a bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology, then earn a master’s degree in professional counseling. Of course, a student earning a master’s degree must complete a certain number of practicum hours. During his or her practicum hours, a student counsels a person under the supervision of a professional. These hours give a student the opportunity to put his or her counseling skills to work. The professional offers constructive criticism to the student that will prove helpful when he or she begins work in a school.

Why is a Master’s Degree Necessary for the Work of a School Counselor?

A school counselor must have an advanced level of training and knowledge to deal with students who are facing serious problems. For instance, a school counselor may encounter students with alcohol or drug problems. School counselors also work with students dealing with physical or emotional abuse in their families. Divorce, self-esteem challenges and eating disorders are other issues that a school counselor talks with students about. The practicum hours are especially important in giving school counselors the specific skills they need to be effective in their sessions with students.

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What Types of Schools Do School Counselors Work In?

A school counselor can work in any type of school. They are necessary in elementary, middle and high schools. They work in public schools as well as private ones. Depending on the size of a school’s student population, there may be more than one school counselor available to talk with students.

Do School Counselors Perform Other Types of Counseling?

Yes. Along with helping students address personal problems, school counselors can help students with their future career goals. For example, a high school counselor may advise a student on which colleges to apply to in order to become a veterinarian. A school counselor may also advise a student on when to take standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT. A school counselor has useful resources with information on colleges and universities for students to utilize.

Finally, a school counselor must have an advanced level of education in order to help each student with his or her unique issues. A well-educated, dedicated school counselor plays a valuable role in any school!

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