What does a Guidance Counselor do?

Median Pay $55,410
Growth Rate 13%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

Guidance counselors assist students to overcome their personal challenges and academic development. They may play many roles at a school such as a place a student can turn if having problems at home, a resource teachers can use if they feel a student is struggling and could use the support of a guidance counselor to talk to. They may help students understand and overcome their behavioral or social problems as well.

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How to Become a Guidance Counselor

school guidance counselor

Typically, a guidance counselor requires a master’s degree in school counseling, educational psychology, or a related field. This degree covers working with parents, community organizations, school staff, and fostering academic development. These programs also teach you how to use data to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs.

An internship is usually required for you to gain experience. Public school counselors need state-issued credentials to practice and depending on the state, this may be called either an endorsement or license.

Job Description of a Guidance Counselor

Guidance counselors work with parents, administrators, and teachers to help students achieve success. They may also teaches school staff and students about problem areas such as drug abuse and bullying as well as planning for the future after graduation. They must also report suspected cases of student neglect or abuse to the proper authorities.

Guidance counselors also have direct contact with students. They also work on social and academic matters to ensure students have the resources necessary to be successful. In addition many times they are responsible for the implementation, training of staff, and administration of mandated state wide standardized testing within the school district they reside in. Guidance counselors work full time hours and during the week. They primarily work in an office setting at the school they work at.

Guidance Counselor Career Video Transcript

Supporting success through the lifespan, school and career counselors help individuals navigate their school years from grade school to graduation, college or training, or throughout their lifelong employment experience. From elementary through high school, school counselors work with students and their families, school staff, and the community to create an environment that promotes academic success and positive social interaction. They help students deal with personal issues that affect their school experience, and provide crisis intervention when needed.

School counselors keep detailed records to meet laws and district policies, and help students with disabilities get accommodations. They also help ensure students take all required classes and plan for college or careers after graduation. Career counselors help clients explore career options and teach them the process of searching for a job. They administer career assessments, teach individuals and groups how to write a résumé, interview for jobs, and resolve workplace issues.

Career counselors work in colleges, non-profit organizations, government employment services, and in private practice. Most school and career counselors work full time; those who work in schools may have summers off. School counselors typically need a master’s degree in school counseling, and a state license or certification. Some states require teaching credentials as well. Career counselor positions often require a master’s degree in counseling with a focus on career development. Some states require licensure.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, School and Career Counselors.

National Center for O*NET Development. 21-1012.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.