The School Counselor provides an important and sometimes overlooked role in guiding students. School Counselors must be able to counsel students in all areas, regardless of the type of problem they are having. They are also responsible for aiding students in high school by giving advice about what they should pursue in college and where they should attend. Oftentimes they are a primary decision maker in what recreational activities take place at a school, as well.
School Counselors must be available to the entire student body. This often includes hundreds of students. They must be able to understand a multitude of issues that a student may be going through and be able to talk to the student about it and provide help. These areas may range from difficulty with grades to serious problems at home. Nothing is off-limits if a student needs to talk about something, and School Counselors must often be prepared to be the only person the student has to talk to about his or her issues. School Counselors work inside of schools and usually have their own office. Their hours are school hours, and generally only vary a small amount based on the age of the students. An elementary school counselor may start and end work a bit later than a middle or high school counselor. The hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Many guidance counselors also stay at school after hours to meet with students. They report to the school principal.
School Counseling tends to require more in terms of obtaining the job than a typical school teacher. They must have a 4-year teaching degree, but they must also have covered psychology and sociology, as well. They must also have counseling certification.
School Counselors may find their job to be very gratifying. They can be the sole person to help a child who is going through tough times. They may also play a huge role in having a student accepted into a college, so they can impact a child's life well beyond their time at that school.
School Counselor Tasks
- Intervene in dangerous, challenging, or stressful situations to provide a peaceful, safe environment.
- Listen to students and enable them to connect with support services, teachers, parents, and others.
- Consult with parents or teachers on appropriate strategies, communication methods, and obstacles.
- Communicate with students, identify obstacles to progress, and work together to overcome them.
- Identify and communicate special needs and mental health challenges.