If you would like to provide counseling services in an academic setting, it is crucial that you know the role of a school counselor professional before you choose this path over alternatives. School counselors are direct service professionals who works primarily with students and their parents. Counselors are vital members of academic teams who help students with more than just achieving their goals or selecting classes. The role of counselors in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and post-secondary institutions has changed quite a bit over time, but the purpose of the professional in all settings is to enhance student success. Read on, and learn more about how you will be a leader, an advocate and a collaborator when you become a school counselor.
Providing Direct Services to Students and Parents
One of the most important roles of a licensed counselor is that they provide direct services to students so they can attain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed outside of academia. While part of the counselor’s job is to help a student select classes or change their class schedule in order to complete core curriculum on track for graduation, there are other services that can be provided. They can help with individual student planning, coordination of systematic activities, crisis response counseling and group counseling, if the student is struggling with issues at home. It is the counselor’s responsibility to meet with parents and discuss plans and interventions.
Indirect Services to Parents and Students
Counselors may not always always interact with a student face-to-face when helping them improve their educational experiences. In addition to counseling a student in their office, they may also collaborate with parents and provide consultations with teachers and community members for the betterment of students. Counselors may refer students to scholarships or provide referrals for services outside of the school that students may benefit from.
Why Are School Counselors So Important in Academic Settings?
A single student might only meet with their school counselor once or twice in their student career, but there are others that really rely on the support their counselor provides. Even though they do not work in the front lines of schools, counselors do play important roles in classifying competencies, building a student’s character, preventing violence, planning future careers and helping students apply to college. The entire purpose of the licensed counselor is to ensure that the kids who attend the school will be well-adjusted and able to live as productive adults once they graduate from school. While parents are their child’s advocate at a personal level, counselors are a student’s advocate at an academic and social level.
If you would like to work in an academic setting where your role is to help students of various ages address their social, academic, and college and career planning needs, becoming a licensed counselor and educator could be right up your alley. To become a school counselor who works in primary or secondary school settings you will need to earn an advanced degree in education (please see: Top 15 Most Affordable Graduate Educational Leadership Programs) or counseling psychology. Once you earn your degree, you must test for your state license to practice. You can also benefit from earning your National Certified Counselor credential to become a more marketable professional who is trained to fulfill the role of school counselor.