What you need to know if you want to become a school counselor

By Joseph Clymer posted 04-18-2021 18:45


The job of a school counselor is a great responsibility. This position gives you the chance to guide students during their time in school and find their path in their final years when they need to start thinking about their plans for further learning. 

It isn't uncommon for students to feel immense pressure to do well in school and apply for a university or college which is suitable for them and helps them build upon a future career. With this comes a great deal of stress, and many students struggle with anxiety from an early age. For this reason, a school counselor’s responsibilities entail a large spectrum, from being able to provide school guidance and mental health help for students, to taking part in discussions with teachers and parents.

Becoming a school counselor

Before discussing the skills and traits needed to work as a school counselor, it is vital to highlight the education you need to follow to become one. 

The first step is to acquire a bachelor's degree, which will teach you fundamental subjects such as psychology in education and counseling, to more analytical ones like advanced research methods. These might seem quite the opposite. However, a school counselor will need to develop critical thinking skills as well as organizational competences. 

After completing the bachelor's degree, you will probably need to obtain a master's degree for further learning and accreditation. Moreover, in order to achieve certification in school counseling, you might need to complete a practice-based training program or internship. 

Once you have followed all the steps mentioned above and have passed your exams, you will be prepared to apply for jobs as a school counselor.

Being a school counselor

More often than not, the actual job can be more challenging than studying for it. As for job requirements, apart from having the needed credentials, a school counselor should be able to fulfill other job specifications.

Have a dialogue

Create a feeling of safe space between you and your students. Allow them to speak freely and listen carefully to their needs, fears, and desires. This way, you will develop a trustworthy relationship, and in case of emergencies, students will feel comfortable enough to come to you with any problems. 

Usually, they can be pretty reserved in regards to issues at school. Whether it involves other colleagues or they have learning difficulties, it is vital they share these thoughts. Your responsibility will be to discuss with them in a friendly yet assertive manner. And when the situation requires, it’s necessary you show authority.

Accurate assessment

You need to be able to assess your students accurately to give a correct evaluation and proper feedback. An extremely helpful tool as a school counselor is to make use of transcription services online. This way, you can keep an organized record of your confidential sessions, assess the students efficiently, and guide them in the right direction. Being able to access this information whenever needed allows you to make notes and speak to teachers or parents to take the necessary action.

This holistic approach is beneficial in providing impartial feedback, giving the right advice, or making any curriculum changes.

Be empathetic

Empathy is a highly essential skill when dealing with students. A school counselor should be able to provide psychological assistance. They might be victims of bullying or have difficulties interacting with other colleagues due to various factors, such as family problems or social anxiety. Therefore, being empathetic is critical when dealing with such delicate issues.