School counselors are a crucial part of today’s educational leadership team and they offer relevant assistance to all students whether they are in elementary, middle or high school. Nowadays school counselors do not just sit in their offices handing out college applications, meeting with the troublesome students in the school or making changes to the schedule for students who want to drop classes. School counselors today are essential members of the education team. They provide assistance to students in the areas of career development, social/ personal development, academic achievement; they make sure today’s students become the well-adjusted and productive adults that the future needs.
School counselors should spend a good amount of their time in contact with and in direct service to the students. Their duties are primarily focused on the delivery of the complete program overall through guidance curriculum, responsive services and individual student planning. A substantial amount of their time is also dedicated to indirect services known as system support. Schools need to reassign or eliminate some inappropriate program tasks if they can in order for school counselors to concentrate on the prevention needs that their programs entail.
School counselor’s duties
Typically, a school counselor’s job involves the following:
- Referring parents and students to external resources outside the school for any extra support
- Identify and report any possible cases of abuse or neglect
- Teaching classes on topics such as careers after graduation, planning for college, drug abuse or bullying
- Developing strategies with parents, administrators and teachers to help the students succeed
- Evaluating the students’ interests and abilities through interviews and aptitude tests
- Helping students set up realistic career and academic goals and developing a plan to attain them
- Working with students to develop skills such as effective study habits, time management and organization.
- Providing small group counseling and individual counseling based on the students’ needs
- Helping the students understand and get through behavioral or social problems through individual counseling and group counseling
Most school counselors are required to have a master’s degree in school counseling or any other related field. School counseling programs teach their students about adopting academic development, performing individual and group counseling and working in coordination with the school staff, the teachers as well as the parents. Such programs at times require their students to gain their experience through practicum or an internship.
In order to practice, school counselors must have approved credentials which can be called endorsements, licenses or certificates based on the jurisdiction. Most places will need a criminal background check involved in the credentialing process.
School counselors work in public and private schools at every level. They usually have private offices which enable them to have confidential conversations with the students. They typically work full time and when school is not in session they have their summers off.