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School counselors (referred to as “guidance counselors” in the past), help every student improve academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning. School counselors in the 21st century are highly trained educators in pre K-12 settings who uphold ethical and professional standards to design, implement and manage comprehensive, developmental, results-based school counseling programs that promote and enhance student success.
The responsibilities of school counselors have increased tremendously over the years. School counselors are an integral part of the whole school community working to help children, teachers and other school personnel and parents. School counselors help children face challenges, tough classes, peer pressure, friendship problems, depression and more – all that can be roadblocks to future success.
Program SpecialistCounseling Services
What Do School Counselors Do?
School counselors address the academic and developmental needs of all students, not just those in need, by collaborating with students, parents, school staff and the community. School counseling programs exhibit the following characteristics:
Foundational mission and goals
School counselors design, implement, and maintain guidance programs that align with the educational mission and philosophies of their schools and school districts. These programs help every student develop competencies in academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning.
School counselors follow a comprehensive guidance curriculum to work with students in individual, small group and classroom settings. School counselors help students create an academic plan for their education to prepare for successful careers after graduation and help students develop the necessary skills, such as organizational, time-management skills and study skills. School counselors also help students overcome obstacles that may form barriers to learning by helping students respond to issues such as divorce or death in their family, as well as developmental issues typical in childhood and adolescence.
School counselors manage their programs just as teachers manage their curriculum. They collaborate with teachers and other educators to ensure that the school counseling program helps fulfill the mission of the school by setting annual goals and putting mechanisms in place to facilitate the successful and effective delivery of the school.
School counselors hold their programs accountable for student achievement by monitoring student progress to ensure that the school counseling program meets its desired goals and objectives. School counselors collect, analyze and present statistics about grades, test scores, attendance and disciplinary records, and other information to make data based and data-driven decisions about the school counseling program.
School Counselor Qualifications
School counselors are certified or licensed professionals who possess a master’s degree or higher in school counseling, or a substantial equivalent, meet the state certification/licensure standards and abide by the laws of the states in which they are employed. School counselors are required by most public school systems to successfully complete advanced-degree coursework in the following topics:
◦Social and Cultural foundations
◦Testing and assessment
◦Research and program evaluation