A bachelor's degree in a related field is required for program admission; other requirements may include experience working with youth. Applicants may also have to submit all transcripts, a professional resume and GRE examination scores.
M.Ed. programs often include internships or hands-on, supervised practicum experiences in which students counsel students at local schools. Seminars are also quite common, and many programs require that students complete a thesis project, paper, or professional portfolio before graduation. Students also might be required to take school counseling subject assessment exams.
Most states require at least a master's degree in counseling in order to obtain licensure and work as a school counselor. Some master's degree programs are available online, but may require field experience or supervised practicums.
Masters in Education with a School Counseling Concentration
School counseling programs focus on theoretical and practical aspects of counseling. Counselors consider the needs, interests and influences in students' lives. Along with a field practicum, some common course topics include:
- Human growth
- Group counseling
- Family counseling
- Assessment techniques
- Special education
- Counseling theories
- Appraisal techniques
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of school and career counselors is expected to increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that education, guidance, school and vocational counselors earned a median annual salary of $53,660 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education and Licensure
Every state has its own requirements and procedures for school counselor licensure. Most states require that individuals complete a master's degree in school counseling at an accredited educational institution, according to the BLS. Some expect counselors to be certified as both a teacher and a counselor or have teaching experience. Many states also have qualifying examinations that lead to licensure.
Maintenance of licensure might require continuing education coursework. Post-master's certificate programs in school counseling are available both online and on-campus, and doctoral programs in counseling or counselor education with a specialization in school counseling can be found at several universities across the country.
Students can seek master's degree programs in school counseling for training and instruction in the counseling of students at various age levels. Most states require school counselors to have completed one of these programs before attaining licensure and starting their careers.