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Highschool Counselor


How to Become a Highschool Counselor
Highschool Counselor Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Highschool Counselor
Highschool Counselor Salary
Influential Professional Highschool Counselors
Leading Organizations for Highschool Counselors
Top Cities for Highschool Counselor Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Highschool Counselor

High school counselors are certified educators trained in school counseling. This training gives counselors a mental health perspective to understand and respond to the diverse academic, social, and career development needs of today's student population. Programs for future school counselors generally include classes on helping relationships, group work, assessment, research and program evaluation, knowledge and requirements for school counselors, contextual dimensions of school counseling, and foundations of school counseling.

Certification or licensing standards vary by state but generally require a masters' degree or higher in school counseling. Accredited school counseling programs require aspiring high school counselors to have 600 internship hours under a school counselor who has a masters' degree or higher.

What does a Highschool Counselor do?

High school counselors provide practical guidance engaging all members of a school community in the implementation of programs designed to help students achieve success and prepare for life after high school. They accomplish this mission, in part, by creating and delivering a counseling program that includes classroom guidance and individual student planning. Practically speaking this means that high school counselors develop and deliver structured lessons designed to help students master desired competencies, set goals, and develop plans for the future. Much time is spent helping students track their progress toward graduation requirements and preparing for options after high school. High school counselors offer advice regarding college majors and financial aid. In addition, they help students with resume writing, job hunting, interview skills, and career planning.

Effective high school counselors also work with students and communities to both prevent problems and intervene where problems have already occurred. In this responsive service role, high school counselors have several options depending on the individual circumstances. These may include counseling individuals or groups, consulting with parents and other educators, referring individuals to other services, facilitating peer helping, or acting as a resource for further information.

An additional responsibility essential to the role of a high school counselor is to provide systematic support to the overall school community. In this capacity, school counselors engage in management activities that benefit the total school program. This includes professional development and consultation and collaboration with other educators inside and outside of their school building.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Highschool Counselor?

High school counselors must be nurturing and caring individuals who can develop a rapport with adolescents. School counselors must have interpersonal skills to work with both the students and other adults in the community. High school counselors are expected to collaborate and consult with parents, teachers, and administrators on a variety of topics.

It is also important for high school counselors to be organized and informed. The roles of a high school counselor are many and varied and often require decisive action and good communication with others in the both the school setting and the larger community.

How much does a Highschool Counselor make?

School counselors are presently paid the highest overall salary out of all the counseling fields. In addition, high school counselors can supplement their income by working in other settings during the summer. Median annual earnings for educational, vocational, and school counselors in 2006 were $53,750. The middle fifty percent earned between $36,120 and $60,990.

Prospective high school counselors should find a favorable market because employment opportunities are expected to grow faster than graduation rates from school counseling programs. Demand for certified/licensed high school counselors is projected to grow due to increased enrollment in secondary schools and increased involvement of school professionals in crisis and preventive counseling.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Jesse B. Davis is considered the first principal in the United States to provide a systematic high school counseling program. In 1907 his program was supported by English teachers who used their lessons and writing assignments to help students avoid behavioral problems and develop character. Students also shared career interests in weekly reports and related these interests to their school's curriculum.

Frank Parsons is remembered as the "Father of Vocational Guidance". In 1908, he developed the Bureau of Vocational Guidance to assist students in the transition from school to work. He was known for his interest in helping others make career decisions and helped to create the first counselor certification program in the United States. This plan was eventually implemented by Harvard University as the first college based counselor education program.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

High school counselors are supported by two major organizations in the United States: the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). NACAC was founded in 1937 and is based in Alexandria, Virginia. More than 10,000 professionals claim membership in this organization that is committed to promoting high professional standards that foster ethical and social responsibility. As its name indicates, this group places a strong emphasis on serving students as they make choices regarding the transition from high school to post-secondary education.

Also based in Alexandria, Virginia and founded in 1952, ASCA currently has more than 24,000 members. They work to increase the influence and expand the image of counselors and support counselors as they guide students toward becoming responsible, contributing members of society. This international organization provides professional development, publications, research, and advocacy.

What are the top cities for Highschool Counselor jobs?

High school counselors are of course employed in all fifty states with larger concentrations of positions available in larger metropolitan areas with more high schools. At the present time, Yuba City, California employs the highest concentration of high school counselors. Currently, top cities for aspiring high school counselors to find work are Lexington, Kentucky, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Denver, Colorado, Chicago, Illinois, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

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