Do I Have What It Takes To Be a School Counselor?
School counselors can have a profound impact on the lives of students. The critical role they play in helping determine the success or failure of children and young adults makes this a demanding, but extremely rewarding, job. Answer these questions to gauge the likelihood of satisfaction and success with this career:
|Are you a good listener?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong communication skills?||Yes or No|
|Are you open-minded?||Yes or No|
|Do you consider yourself personable?||Yes or No|
|Do you manage your time well?||Yes or No|
|Are you flexible?||Yes or No|
|Do you value taking care of yourself?||Yes or No|
|Is making a difference important to you?||Yes or No|
|Do you have an aptitude for math?||Yes or No|
|Are you observant?||Yes or No|
Why Do My Answers To These Questions Matter?
Are you a good listener?
In order to counsel, one must first listen. In this job, you will spend a great deal of time listening to students, along with their teachers and parents. Careful listening provides the information needed to assess and properly advise others.
Do you have strong communication skills?
Because school counselors are constantly interacting with a variety of people, they need exceptional verbal and written communication skills. These are required to, for example, clearly express guidance to students and compile reports for faculty and administrators.
Are you open-minded?
School counselors encounter students with a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. If you choose this career, you should be genuinely accepting, understanding, empathetic and nonjudgmental.
Do you consider yourself personable?
To effectively counsel and advocate for students, school counselors must be gifted at forming trusting relationships with them. Successful professionals in this field are naturally friendly, engaging, and have a good sense of humor.
Do you manage your time well?
A typical day for a school counselor includes advising students, assessing test results, meeting with faculty and parents, and maintaining records. Given the variety and volume of responsibilities, exceptional time management skills are critical.
Are you flexible?
Because school counselors wear many different hats, they must be extremely adaptable. When, for example, a student has a crisis that needs addressing, or a concerned parent requires your attention, you will need to be flexible in altering your plans and schedule.
Do you value taking care of yourself?
A career in school counseling means a work life dedicated to taking care of others. To balance this and remain effective at your job, you will need to be vigilant about making time to take care of your own emotional and physical wellbeing.
Is making a difference important to you?
Successful school counselors approach their jobs with an innate desire to make a difference in the lives of others. They are not deterred by failure, and maintain confidence in the importance of their work throughout their careers.
Do you have an aptitude for math?
School counselors are responsible for evaluating tests, generating statistical information about student performance, and maintaining databases of this information for their schools. To complete these tasks, you will need strong math skills.
Are you observant?
In assessing and advising students, observing their actions is just as critical as listening to their words. You should be adept at detecting their non-verbal communication cues, changes in physical appearance, and academic performance.
What Else Do I Need to Consider?
If you answered affirmatively to most of these questions, you're on the mark in considering this career. To become a school counselor, you will need to be dedicated to learning. To start, you will likely need at least a master's degree in a major such as school counseling and, to work in a public school, a license or other credential from your state. Throughout your career, you will need to remain dedicated to continuing education in order to stay abreast of important research and advancements in education, counseling and child development.