Master's and doctoral degree programs in school counseling emphasize assessment, intervention and guidance techniques. They also require the completion of a thesis or dissertation research project, as well as practical experience. Graduate courses in school counseling explore various specialty areas, such as developmental psychology and child psychology.
Candidates for the master's program will need to have earned an appropriate bachelor's degree, and may also need to pass the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Doctoral candidates will need to possess an appropriate master's degree.
Master's Degrees in School Counseling
A master's degree in school counseling might involve the study of numerous subjects like sociology, psychology research and community health. Classes leading toward school counseling master's degrees cover an array of topics in human biology and statistics. Other courses may include:
- School counseling ethics
- Basic counseling skills
- School counselors assessment procedures
- School law
- Career counseling
Doctoral Degrees in School Counseling
Graduate doctoral education in counseling provides students with comprehensive knowledge of various mental health techniques and therapies. Many graduate counseling doctoral programs generally have candidates complete coursework in the first two years. Students earning a Doctor of Philosophy or a Doctor of Education in School Counseling are required to produce a research dissertation approved by faculty members.
A doctoral degree in counseling might include courses in multicultural studies, mental health consultation and professional ethics. Students may also take courses in:
- Counseling techniques
- Guidance counseling
- Values clarification
- Family counseling
- Intervention consultation
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that jobs for school and career counselors would increase 8% from 2014-2024, which is just as fast as average for all careers. BLS data also showed that educational, school, vocational and guidance counselors (including elementary school counselors) made a yearly median salary of $53,660 as of 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Depending on the jurisdiction, professional practice as an elementary school counselor might require specialized certification or licensure. Gaining certification usually involves guided counseling sessions in training programs and an examination.
Elementary school counselors play a vital role in assisting students with their individual educational and personal needs. A master's or doctoral degree provides a gateway into these positions, by providing a broad background in ethics, school law, career counseling, and child development.