In most states, a master's degree in school counseling is required for licensing in the profession. These programs, such as the Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Counseling or Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary and Secondary School Counseling, focus on research, and students typically spend time learning to gather, interpret and conceptualize contemporary research in fields like child development, education and psychology. An internship or other type of supervised field experience is required, and most of these programs take about two years to complete. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree, some research experience, and aptitudes in psychology, behavioral science, or statistics.
Master's Degree in Elementary Counseling
Coursework in this field is largely didactic and combines theory from psychology and education. Some programs require students to participate in field observations to graduate. Common courses that are likely to appear in the curriculum include:
- Child development
- Counseling techniques
- Parent-teacher relations
- Behavioral disorders and treatment
- Research methodologies
- Applied statistics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of school counselors will increase 12% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster-than-average growth compared to most U.S. careers. The mean annual salary for educational, guidance, vocational and school counselors was $56,490 in May 2015, as reported by the BLS.
Prospective students interested in educational counseling can choose from either a Master of Arts in School Counseling or Master of Education in Elementary and Secondary School Counseling. These degrees will allow students to learn essential topics on child development, educational techniques, behavioral disorders, and effective parent-teacher communication.