As a key member of a middle school or high school’s faculty and advisement staff, the guidance counselor plays a key role with assisting students in achieving their educational goals. Guidance counselors assist students in choosing appropriate class scheduling, and they must be familiar with any academic tracks and prerequisites a school system has in place. They should be able to assess individual students using test scores, reports, and one-on-one conversations to best assist the needs of each pupil.
Guidance counselors also assess behavioral or social problems that individual pupils may be experiencing that affect their studies, other students, and teachers. They must be aware of indicators and cues related to the student and be able to use these to assess the child's needs regarding further counseling or even medical care. Counselors make recommendations to parents and/or guardians, as well as to the school’s administration, regarding the management of students in crisis for the benefit and safety of all pupils in the school.
To work as a guidance counselor, an individual must typically possess a bachelor's degree in education, psychology, or sociology from an accredited institution. Most states and districts also require state-issued certification in addition to this education requirement. Guidance counselors typically work weekdays during school hours, although a typical day extends to a few hours before and after classes take place.
Guidance Counselor Tasks
- Observe and evaluate children during classroom and play activities.
- Maintain student records as required by law, district and administrative regulations.
- Help students to understand and deal with social, behavioral and personal problems.
- Evaluate student abilities, interest and talents to develop academic and career goals.
- Coordinate special need services.