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 are highly trained educators who uphold ethical and professional standards to design, implement and manage comprehensive and developmental counseling programs that promote and enhance student success.
School counselor qualifications
School counselors are certified professionals who possess a master’s degree or higher in school counseling, meet the state certification standards and abide by the laws of the states in which they are employed. School counselors are required to successfully complete advanced-degree coursework in the following topics:
- Human growth and development
- Counseling theory
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Social and cultural foundations
- Research and program evaluation
- Academic planning
- Career development
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 district. 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 and study skills. They 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 administrators and other educators to ensure that the school counseling program helps fulfill the mission of the school district by setting annual goals.