Five Traits of a Good School Counselor
School counselors – historically known as guidance counselors – play an important role in schools, helping students of all ages navigate a range of challenges and experiences. While becoming a school counselor requires training and education, such as earning a master’s in school counseling, it also helps to have strong interpersonal skills to succeed in school counseling.
If you’re thinking of pursuing your MS in School Counseling and want to find out how to become a counselor and thrive in the field, learn more about this rewarding line of work.
Markers of a Great School Counselor
School counseling is not for everyone, and it takes someone with several important attributes to effectively guide students through the challenges they may face both at school and at home. Before you begin working toward your master’s in school counseling, you may want to first consider whether you have the following abilities and characteristics:
- Communication. A big part of being a school counselor is listening to students, and then responding thoughtfully and effectively. While you may be able to develop these skills through training, if you’re the person who friends and family turn to in tough times, you may already have the strong communication skills you’ll need to work with students.
- Empathy. School counselors help students dealing with bullying, disputes with friends, problems at home, and so much more. To do this effectively, you must be able to empathize with what your students are going through and channel this into a compassionate response.
- Friendliness. Students won’t want to share their problems with a school counselor who is perceived as being distant and cold. A warm and inviting demeanor is key to working with students, as well as their teachers and parents.
- Understanding of diversity. Whether a student has problems at school or at home, a school counselor must consider how that student’s socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity may come into play. A school counselor must be able to listen to and help students from all walks of life.
- Knowing when to act. Unfortunately, school counselors at times have to help students dealing with neglect, abuse, risky behavior, or other dangerous circumstances. Being able to recognize a harmful or potentially life-threatening situation and taking the steps to help remove students from these situations is a key skill for any school counselor.
Get Started on Your Master’s Degree
If you’re interested in a career helping children and adolescents, Walden University’s MS in School Counseling program may be a good choice to earn your advanced degree. Walden’s school counseling program offers the flexibility of online learning along with in-person residences and field experience, for a well-rounded master’s program tailored for today’s school counselors. Choose the general school counseling program or one of three specializations designed to meet a range of educational and professional goals. There is also an accelerated track option for students who want to complete their master’s degree sooner.
If you would like to broaden your career options further, you may wish to consider earning Walden’s MS Dual Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling degree. Upon successful graduation, you will have earned two degrees from an accredited program and be able to pursue licensure or certification as both a mental health counselor and a school counselor.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a CACREP-accredited MS in School Counseling degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your master’s degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
The MS in School Counseling program is offered by Walden University, an institution accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which is a requirement to practice as a school counselor in some states. The MS in School Counseling program meets the standards for school counseling licensure or certification and is a state-approved program in Minnesota and Ohio. The MS in School Counseling program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which may also be a requirement to become licensed or certified as a school counselor in some states. In addition, some states require school counselors to have an existing teaching license or certification, and teaching experience, in order to be eligible for a school counseling certification/license.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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