How to Become a Guidance Counselor: All You Need to Know

A Guidance Counselor serves as an administrative staff member who has a hands-on role with students outside of the classroom. Guidance Counselors work with students dealing with stress from school, social pressures, and/or family life in order to improve their classroom performance and overall wellness. Guidance Counselors also assist with post-secondary school planning and work one-on-one with students to do so. School guidance counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed, personally and professionally. Counselors in elementary and secondary schools help students overcome obstacles that may inhibit their learning.

7 Steps to becoming guidance counselor

It's not enough to have a simple understanding of how to become a guidance counselor. You need to understand all aspects of it in more detail. The following steps will help you to have a better understanding of the position.

Step 1: Understand guidance counselor description and responsibilities

1. Guidance Counselor Responsibilities:

  • Conduct individual and group counseling sessions to advise and assist students with academic and vocational development.
  • Evaluate students' attributes and assist them in realizing their objectives.
  • Develop and implement counseling strategies with contemporary methods of mentoring.
  • Identify behavioral problems and act appropriately to remedy the situation.
  • Pay attention to social and cultural differences in all student matters.
  • Assess the development of students and highlight the sense of accomplishment.
  • Complete evaluations, analyze results and provide purposeful feedback.
  • Cooperate with parents, academic staff and external partners.
  • Arrange and schedule orientation programs and internships.
  • Advertise facilities and study programs to potential students.
  • Implement and facilitate educational and training workshops for academic staff. Develop and carry out communications to the company's senior stakeholders, company staff, and internal and external project teams

2. Guidance Counselor Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Counseling or related (essential).
  • Two years of work experience as a counselor in an academic environment.
  • Analytical thinker with strong problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Motivational leader who displays sound judgment and attention to detail.
  • Detail-oriented with excellent time-management skills.
  • Confident interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • Perceptive intuition and decision-making skills.
  • Remarkable professionalism and solid work ethic.
  • Intermediate IT skills.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a guidance counselor

Before you want to be a guidance counselor, you should first understand whether it is worth being a guidance counselor for you, because it will bring you both advantages and disadvantages.

There are several benefits that being a guidance counselor you can get:

1. School Schedule

One of the biggest job perks of being a school counselor is getting summers off. You also get to be around the fun and energy of a school. Does office work sounds boring? A school can never be.

2. Loving What You Do

If you're cut out to be a school counselor, then you're going to love your job. Every day, you'll be making a lasting difference in students' lives–watching for signs of problems at home, evaluating their academic needs, and teaching the students about topics like bullying. Every day, you get to go home having done something meaningful.

3. Making a Difference

Someone has to be there for these kids. If it's not you, it's going to be someone else–but it might be someone else who isn't as good at the job. If you don't want your future to be all about money, and you want it to be about helping people who need love and care, then becoming a school counselor could be the perfect job for you. You might see some kids never get help, and never change, but you will often be the deciding factor in a troubled student in turning around and realizing a completely different life.

In the same way, the career of guidance counselors may be bothering you in the following ways:

1. Lengthy Degree

Becoming a school counselor takes a great deal of time. You have to be sure you really want it before you proceed because it doesn't just take a bachelor's degree; it also requires a master's degree at least. Even after your schooling is done, you'll need to work under supervision for at least a year, more likely two, to be certified and finally work on your own. While not automatically a con, the length of training may be too much for some.

2. High-Pressure Job

Teachers are starting to report more and more job pressure. Schools are no longer the calm, respectful places we saw in 1950s television shows. (If they ever were.) TV reality or not, dealing with students is getting harder. Some students' home lives might be rough, and the internet has made bullying an even worse problem. Being a school counselor will not spare you when it comes to pressure and even high stakes at your job.

3. Low Median Salary

While some school counselors might make around $90,000 a year, the lowest salary is around $32,000. The median is only $53,660, which isn't much when you factor in how long you were in school. If you want to work as a school counselor, money can't be your top priority.

If you add up all the disadvantages listed above, you will realize that it can be extremely stressful to be a guidance counselor.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for guidance counselor

1. UCL

2. Harvard University

3. Stanford University

4. University of Oxford

5. University of Cambridge

6. University of Hong Kong

7. University of Toronto

8. University of California, Berkeley

9. Columbia University

10. UCLA

11. University of Michigan

12. University of Sydney

13. University of British Columbia

14. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)

15. University of Melbourne

16. Monash University

17. University of Wisconsin-Madison

18. Michigan State University

19. University of Queensland

20. The Educational University of Hong Kong

Step 4: Go through College

For guidance counselors, it's very important to have a college diploma, which is the foundation for you to enter this professional field. Therefore, receiving professional education in university can help you acquire relevant knowledge about guidance and improve your own strength. Many professional colleges offer students high-quality and comprehensive courses. Studying at university is very important to become a guidance counselor and it is very useful for your future.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

In college, you can not only learn professional guidance knowledge through classes and teachers, but also take advantage of your spare time in college to carry out part-time activities, which can help you gain more specific professional experience, in-depth understanding of the specific work of guidance, as well as experience the various feelings and Influence, which provides a reference for your career choice in the future. Any experience you have in the industry in which you want to consult will make you a more competitive job candidate, even if it wasn't a consulting position. You can search for relevant part-time guidance counselor interns through some special part-time websites and you can also learn about relevant part-time information through the employment service center of the school.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for guidance counselor

As a guidance counselor, you'll need to be:

Trustworthy: Maintain the confidentiality of students, parents, and teachers unless something needs to be brought to the attention of the authorities.

Perceptive: Understand what's really going on to find a solution.

Objective: Be nonjudgmental so that a fair determination can be made that is not based on hearsay or bias.

Truthful: Be honest with students, teachers, and parents to gain their trust in order to determine the problem and appropriate solution.

A problem-solver: Be able to properly handle difficult situations, such as a student dealing with domestic abuse, addiction, or a criminal environment.

Ethical: Seek the proper intervention, for example, if the student is suspected of having committed a crime such as theft or drug abuse.

Step 7: find relevant guidance counselor jobs, and apply it

Where can you find relevant guidance counselor jobs? If you're ready to become a guidance counselor, now we provide you with a website where you can research for the job you want, you can click on it:

Important Tools for a guidance counselor

Ability to solve problems is very important for guidance counselor. It can help guidance counselors develop smoothly and overcome many problems. Meanwhile, the network is also very helpful for guidance counselors and can help marketing activities go smoothly.

Develop your career path

School counselors help students make decisions that affect their personal and academic development. Sometimes they provide drug- and alcohol-abuse rehabilitation or conflict-resolution sessions. Often called guidance counselors, they can be found in both public and private schools, working with classroom teachers, school psychologists, school nurses, parents, and community groups. They meet with students individually or in group sessions. Counselors who works in junior and senior high schools help students choose courses that will affect their later careers. Those who plan to learn trades, for instance, may need technical classes. If students wish to attend college, counselors advise them on both their academic and extracurricular activities. They also provide students with scholarship information, training manuals, and college catalogs. Counselors in elementary schools work mainly with students who disrupt classrooms or have physical handicaps. They also counsel students who get into trouble in the community.