Unfortunately, there are no bachelor's degree programs specifically in school counseling. This is because school counselors must hold a master's degree in school counseling before they can gain certification to legally work in the United States. Most graduate programs in school counseling require students to have a baccalaureate degree in a similar field before they enroll. One of the most common and recommended undergraduate degree programs is a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. The only requirements for these four-year degrees is a high school diploma or GED, preferably with a strong background in communications, English, and social science courses.
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Bachelor's Degree in School Counseling Program Overview
Students enrolled in the program are given knowledge on the basics of clinical counseling, abnormal psychology and theories of personality. A Bachelor of Arts in Psychology gives students the theoretical and practical background necessary to continue on to a school counseling graduate program. Many courses in an undergraduate psychology program relate to various methods of understanding human behavior. Some core courses include:
- General psychology
- Clinical counseling methods
- Psychology and development
- Probability and statistics
- Research methodology
- Psychology and counseling
Continuing Education Options
All aspiring school counselors must earn a master's degree, such as a Master of Science in School Counseling. Such a program includes specific courses related to counseling children in elementary and secondary schools. Most graduate degree programs in school counseling also require students to complete a supervised internship experience at a local school. All school counselors must gain state licensing, and some might opt to gain national certification from an organization such as the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Students who complete a bachelor's degree program in psychology and a master's degree program in school counseling can go on to become professional school counselors. Educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors held 253,460 jobs in the United States in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). School and career counselor jobs are expected to rise 8% from 2014-2024, which is close to average (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for a school counselor in 2015 was $53,660, per BLS figures. Individuals who worked in elementary and secondary schools typically made a higher annual salary than those who worked for junior colleges or professional schools.
A bachelor's degree in psychology provides students with the foundational skills necessary to pursue a master's degree program in school psychology, which is required for the job. Graduates with a master's must become licensed in order to work as school counselors.