Before a school counselor may legally work in the United States, he or she must obtain a master’s degree in school counseling. Those interested in becoming a school counselor are recommended to take a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Psychology.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Psychology
Schools don’t usually offer any bachelor’s degree programs specifically devised to serve the needs of prospective school counselors, as the majority of school counselors are required to complete a two-year master’s degree program in school counseling before being able to obtain certification.
Students enrolled in most graduate programs in school counseling are required to hold a baccalaureate degree in a similar field, with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology among the most recommended programs.
Students enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program in psychology are provided with a broad overview of human identity and behavior. They are also taught theories of personality, abnormal psychology, and the rudiments of clinical counseling.
Students that complete a baccalaureate degree program in psychology are provided with the practical and theoretical background needed to select a specialization in school counseling graduate programs.
Four-year universities commonly offer bachelor’s degree programs related to psychology and counseling; students are required to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to having a strong background in social science, English, and communication before they are granted admission.
Coursework is devised to provide students with various modes of understanding human behavior. Core coursework may include the following topic areas:
•Psychology and development
•Clinical counseling methods
•Theories of personality
•Psychology and counseling
•Probability and statistics
•Philosophy of psychology
Job and Wage Outlook
Those that graduate from the bachelor’s degree program in psychology and thereafter earn a master’s degree in school counseling can seek employment as professional school counselors. In 2012, there were more than 241,870 individuals employed as vocational, school, guidance, and educational counselors in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).
An at-par-with-average job growth rate of 19% has been predicted for school and career counselors over the 2010 – 2020 decade (BLS). In 2012, school counselors brought home an average annual wage of $53,610 (BLS). Higher wages were earned by those that were employed in secondary and elementary schools than those working for professional schools or junior colleges.
Continuing Education Options
Those that seek to become school counselors are required to hold a master’s degree, such as a Master of Science (M.S.) in School Counseling. Coursework in such a program is devised to combine specific classes related to the counseling of children in secondary and elementary schools.
Participation in a supervised internship at a local school is insisted upon in most school counseling graduate degree programs. State licensure must also be obtained by all school counselors, while national certification may have to be gained from the National Board for Certified Counselors or another similar agency.