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Guidance Counsellor

A guidance counsellor is a person who works in elementary, middle, and high schools to provide career and academic assistance as well as college access to students. Today a guidance counsellor is generally referred to as a school counsellor. Guidance counsellors use various techniques to help counsel every student on an individual and group basis. They provide academic and emotional support to children and teenagers in school, and help students discover their interests and skills and determine what they want to pursue after high school.

Education

guidance councellor bAt the bare minimum, you will need a college education to become a guidance counsellor. Some recommended majors are education, sociology, psychology and communications. These will help you prepare for life as a guidance counsellor. You may also want to take classes in statistics and public speaking, and join clubs related to education or psychology. It is then strongly recommended you complete a master’s degree program. Apply for a graduate program in education or counselling. The University of Hawaii (http://hilo.hawaii.edu) and BostonCollege (http://www.bc.edu/schools/lsoe/academics/departments/cdep/graduate/macounsel.html) both offer Master of Arts in Counselling. You should take classes related to therapy and cultural diversity. You should also try to get an internship. Real world experience will benefit you tremendously going forward. You can inquire about internships at the career center at your graduate school. After you’ve completed your program, you need to get certified. To find out what credentials you will need to work in your state, contact your state commission. After you are certified, you can work as a guidance counsellor! Search educational job boards to find guidance counsellor positions.

Job Description

You will have many duties as a guidance counsellor, including the following:

  • Creating middle school class schedules (in some cases even high schools)
  • Provide direct support services to small groups, classrooms, and individual students on a 1 on 1 basis
  • Complete referrals, assessments, and home visits if necessary
  • Develop community partnerships and family outreach programs and maintain these programs
  • Complete required written reports as requested
  • At least once per week provide in-classroom services to students
  • Complete reports as required by State, Federal, and local agencies
  • Interview students with families
  • Make oral presentations of diagnostics, assessments, observations and home visits

These are just some of the many tasks you may be asked to perform as a guidance counsellor. You will often work alongside other guidance counsellors, teachers, and principals.

Pros & Cons

guidance councellor cAs a guidance counsellor, you have the chance to earn a higher than average salary. Like teachers, you also usually get summers off. Being a guidance counsellor can be a very rewarding position. You have the chance to help students succeed in both their academic and personal lives. You get to see students develop and progress over an extended period of time, and can make an impact on their lives. Many school counsellors also get their own private offices. There are some disadvantages, however. Most guidance counsellor positions require a master’s degree, which takes a while to achieve and can put you in debt due to student loans. It can be stressful to deal with troubled students, especially those that have no interest in the help you are tying to provide them. It can also be stressful dealing with difficult co-workers. Lastly, unhappy parents can cause conflicts and disagreements which can also be stressful and difficult to deal with.