What Careers are in Educational Counseling?

Whether you want to counsel the youngest children or work with returning adult students, you can find rewarding careers in educational counseling. Educational counselors are certified differently depending upon their state department of education, and they also need different types of continuing education depending upon their specialties. Counselors working in the profession have identified the requirements for education, certification and job opportunities, as well as how to search for job openings on the American School Counselor Organization’s website.

Elementary and Middle School Counselors

Elementary and middle school counselors are regarded as vitally-important members of each school’s education team. They are professional educators who also provide a mental health perspective in delivering programs and services that aid all students to achieve success. Elementary school counselors work directly with students, families and teachers to meet their diverse educational, social and mental and physical health needs. They also participate as part of the school guidance team, working on goal-setting, curriculum, and multi-cultural and diversity initiatives. They provide individual and group counseling for students and families, and also refer students and parents to community resources. They also engage in conflict resolution, and help students and the entire school improve peer relationships and social skills. Elementary and middle school counselors must possess a master’s degree, as well as additional certification and training.

Secondary or High School Counselors

Also requiring a master’s degree and additional certification, high school careers in educational counseling require a familiarity with college admissions, technical schools and certificate programs, vocational programs, and the needs of maturing adolescents. Issues including substance abuse, sexual activity and family functioning impact the daily work of secondary or high school counselors. These counselors also interact with school and district administrators, faculty, and parents on a school-wide level, including needs assessments and academic support interventions. The days of simply reviewing a student’s grades and recommending a college or trade school are gone. Now, secondary-level educational counselors help in school-to-work transition programs, communicate with family and community members, and provide referrals to a broad range of social and community support services.

College and Technical School Counselors

People who work in college, technical, or other post-secondary school educational counseling roles need to be familiar with the needs of a broad range of students, from the traditional student who has just completed high school to adult returning students who may be parents or grandparents. Other specialized needs include individuals who require special services or accommodations, or returning veterans needing support to maximize the benefits of their education. At times, post-secondary level counselors may possess a doctoral degree in psychology or other terminal degree. They provide assistance in curriculum planning, matriculation, and a broad range of other individual and group services. They also serve as valuable members of institutional teams to develop and implement curriculum and campus-wide programs in mental and physical health, diversity, and community involvement.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Child Psychologist?

Whether you choose to work as a counselor at an elementary school, or counseling veterans as part of a returning education program at a local community college, you are choosing a career in a much-needed field. You will provide education, therapy, and community services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the job outlook for careers in educational counseling, showing thousands of jobs needed in this field over the next decade.