What Type of Degree Do I Need to Become a School Counselor?

There are plenty of reasons to become a school counselor. Maybe you’re interested in helping less fortunate children succeed in school, combating school bullying, or making sure kids have access to the resources they need. Maybe you’re interested in setting high school students on the path to success in college and beyond. If you’re wondering what type of degree you need to become a school counselor, you might be surprised to learn that there are several different routes to starting your career. But in almost all cases, you will need to complete a master’s degree to get hired, so be prepared.

Bachelor Degree Options for Counselors

Several different undergraduate majors provide a strong foundation for future school counselors, and your choice may depend on what kind of career you’re interested in. School counseling is the goal for some psychology majors, as well students who study early childhood education. If you are focused on working with the less fortunate, you may find that majoring in social work is a good fit for you. School counselors undertake many different roles and tasks in their job, so some may have different backgrounds than others.

Obtaining a Master’s Degree

There are still a few states where a job training program may qualify you for school counseling jobs, but the best option is always to go to graduate school. Most counselors obtain their master’s degree in school counseling, or in counseling with an emphasis on educational counseling. To work in a school or university, you need a rigorous course load that includes different approaches to academic and social issues faced by young people. A master’s degree will also prepare you to get your state license or certification, which is required everywhere in the U.S. Many programs are geared towards licensure, which usually requires a certain number of credits and experience as a teacher or in a related apprenticeship.

Getting a PhD

School counselors are like many academic careers in that enrolling in continuing education classes and keeping up with advancements in the field is the norm. This may lead school counselors to pursue their PhD. While you can have a successful career as a school counselor without one, there are doctorate programs in counseling and school psychology available for professionals who want to take their knowledge one step further. The median income for a counseling or school psychologist with a doctorate degree is around $67,000 per year, but that comes with a wide variation depending on the area of the country and the type of school you work for.

The old-fashioned idea of a guidance counselor is long gone, and now school counseling is a popular and fast-growing career choice. When you’re thinking about a career as a counselor, it’s wise to look into the requirements for your state, which are provided by the American School Counselor Association. That will help you decide on the right academic programs to help you become a leader in this important field.

Find the right school for you at The Top Masters in Counseling.