Published on June 7, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs for school counseling in Arizona.

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What is School Counseling?

Whether you are considering a career as a school counselor or are just looking for a degree that will help you advance your professional development into school administration or another related educational field, there are many schools and degree programs to choose from. School counseling programs are designed to prepare you for the role of a school counselor but can also help you move into administration in the long run. In these programs, you'll learn to assess students, implement student development programs, and advocate for student success.

You'll also learn to work with a variety of diverse student populations. Many schools include internships in their degree programs. Practicums can be a vital component of the curriculum as they help you bridge theory and practice. You may also learn to advocate for student success and social justice.

Graduates of these programs are ready to work in a variety of areas including counseling, education administration, college recruiting, and community agencies. The job outlook for school counselors is expected to be much stronger than average, and salaries can be competitive, especially in city centers.

Typically, aspiring counselors must have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Arizona requires that school counselors have a master's degree. In addition, you'll want to make sure that the program's curriculum meets state licensure standards.

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Online School Counseling Education in Arizona

Educators who focus on social/emotional development may earn the title school counselors. They can work with teachers, parents, and administrators to promote the social and academic success of all students through extra planning for their education and/or linking them to needed resources. They work with students to set realistic goals and find solutions to problems and they are well-known for their ability to empathize with students.

Counselors can be found in elementary, middle, and high schools. They can offer group and individual counseling sessions, though that is often not their main focus. A typical counseling session for these specialists may include skill building and problem-solving, as well as an academic check-in. It may also include a discussion about a topic of interest to the student. such as bullying or problems at home. It is common for counselors to consult with teachers on curriculum that covers peer pressure and other topics of interest.

A comprehensive school counseling program focuses on addressing the social/emotional needs of all students. It teaches skills and knowledge that will aid in their academic and career success. These programs also teach counselors in this capacity how to actively link students, school, home, and community through program outreach and reporting of dangers a child might be facing in the home.

Online Associate Degree in School Counseling (AS)

An associate degree in can provide aspiring students with an overview of the field of education and insight into whether the field is really for them. However, those who graduate with an associate degree may not be prepared to work as teachers, much less ready to work as counselors in a school setting. In fact, there are no associate degrees that focus on school counseling specifically. Arizona requires those who wish to work as school counselors earn at least a master’s degree in the field. Only then can they begin to help children, teenagers, and young adults succeed as school counselors.

Even so, two-year degree programs in education can typically provide a comprehensive curriculum that prepares graduates for many aspects of school counseling including academic advising, career exploration and guidance, social services referrals, and crisis intervention. Or you can earn a degree in psychology, counseling, or another related field. Students enrolled in these types of associate degree programs may learn how to recognize student needs and intervene when necessary. Those in education may learn how to create educational plans for students, develop relationships with faculty members and other professionals, manage a caseload of students within the school system, implement district policies regarding student behavior management strategies, and collaborate with parents or guardians of their assigned students.

By earning this degree, you will gain a better understanding of the education system as a whole and be able to decide if you want to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education, school counseling, or another field altogether.

Online Bachelors Degree in School Counseling (BS)

A bachelor's degree in either counseling or education is an excellent choice for students who want to make a difference in the lives of young people. School counselors provide vital support, both academically and emotionally, to their students. However, there are few, if any, degrees at this level in school counseling specifically. Because those who wish to work in school counseling will need to earn a master’s and have experience in education, those earning a bachelor’s can earn an education degree with a plan to gain experience and a master’s in the future or you can earn a bachelor’s degree in counseling, psychology, or another related field such as social work.

Education programs typically require students to complete core classes in psychology, sociology, and human development. They also require practicum or field experience prior to graduation. Once enrolled as a teacher, aspiring student counselors can begin taking courses for their master’s program that will also meet the requirements for continuing education to maintain their teaching license. These can include courses in classroom management theory and practice, clinical assessment techniques, and child abuse prevention methods, among others. You may need to gain a few years of experience before you are able to move into a master’s in school counseling.

Online Masters Degree in School Counseling (MA or MC)

A master's degree in school counseling can open up a world of opportunity for individuals looking to help guide young people on their educational journey. It will allow you to fill an important role in the public education system, offering support, assistance and direction for students as they progress through high school and beyond. You can also find roles with this degree in private institutions. School counselors work with teachers, administrators, and community members to provide the best learning environment possible for those in their charge. Pursuing a master's degree in this field can lead to becoming a licensed school counselor or pursuing other roles related to student success.

School counseling colleges offer degree programs that prepare graduates to enter this highly rewarding profession. Master's degrees cover topics such as educational psychology, guidance techniques, program planning and evaluation, career development, and therapy techniques.

Online PhD Degree in School Counseling (PhD)

Pursuing a PhD in school counseling is an excellent way to advance your career as a licensed counselor. With this degree, you will be qualified to fill positions of higher responsibility and influence. You may have the opportunity to lead initiatives in research and development, teach at the college level, shape national policy, or become an administrator within an educational setting.

Whether you are looking for online programs or traditional on-campus universities, there are several options to choose from when pursuing a doctoral degree in school counseling. Before selecting a college program, it’s important to consider what type of academic and professional support each institution offers its students, as well as if they offer any specialized concentrations, such as clinical mental health counseling or college counseling and advising. Additionally, it’s important that the curriculum aligns with your future goals so that you gain the necessary knowledge and skills needed for success upon graduation.

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Online School Counseling Certifications

Online counseling certifications offer aspiring professionals the opportunity to pursue a successful career in the mental health field. It can provide you greater access to an incredibly rewarding profession that can make a real difference in the lives of children, adolescents, and adults alike. Those who wish to become certified school counselors must typically secure a degree from an accredited college or university, as well as passing specialized exams and completing additional courses.

Licensure requirements in school counseling typically consist of two parts: an academic component, which involves completing coursework related to mental health assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning and ongoing therapeutic interventions; and a clinical component that requires students to demonstrate their competency in applying their knowledge through supervised clinical experience. Upon successful completion of both components, students are eligible for licensure as a professional school counselor by the respective state board of education.

When it comes to certifications in counseling, you might take courses offered by the American Psychological Association (APA) and then pass an exam to prove that you know all the components required to earn said certification. These certifications can help you expand your knowledge by teaching you new therapy techniques and provide you with continuing education credits.

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Become a School Counselor in Arizona

Becoming a school counselor can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. School counselors work with students, teachers, and parents to create an environment that is conducive to learning and can help students overcome learning issues or traumatic events. It takes dedication and commitment to obtaining the necessary qualifications and degrees in order to become a school counselor. Here are some steps on how you can become a school counselor.

  • Step 1: Complete an accredited college program, both undergraduate and graduate

    For those looking to pursue a career in school counseling, accredited college programs are not only the best way to gain the necessary knowledge and training, they are the only way to gain full licensure as a teacher and then as a school counselor. An accredited college program ensures that students receive a quality education that meets national and state standards for their field of study. Completing an accredited program is a requirement for those who wish to become certified or licensed professionals in the field of education and school counseling. The most common way to obtain licensure as an educator is through an undergraduate program. The most common way to obtain a degree in school counseling is through a graduate-level college program. Students must complete courses within areas such as child development, psychology, sociology, human growth and development, social work practice, and ethics. Graduate programs may also include courses related specifically to school counseling issues and practices as well as clinical practicums which provide hands-on experience in the field.

  • Step 2: Gaining experience through internships or practicums

    Internships and practicums are an integral part of the school counseling field; they are usually called student teaching experiences. By taking on these experiences, students can gain invaluable insight into the career they are hoping to pursue. Through internships or practicums, individuals can develop critical skills that will help them succeed in their chosen profession and make them more appealing to potential employers. Internships and practicum positions allow students to get a taste of what it’s like to work as a school counselor before they graduate from their program. They obtain hands-on experience in the areas of student assessment, crisis intervention, individual counseling, group counseling, and other aspects related to mental health services. Interns also learn about relevant laws and policies related to working in schools, as well as ethical considerations for counselors. Students gain the ability to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings while being supervised by experienced professionals.

  • Step 3: Join a professional organization

    Joining a professional organization is an important step for any aspiring school counselor. Professional organizations provide an array of resources to help school counselors stay on top of the latest developments in their field, as well as offering opportunities for networking and career growth. Joining a professional organization allows school counselors to access the best continuing education programs and research materials available so that they can stay up to date with their profession. It also provides them with support from colleagues who may be facing similar challenges or have useful advice to offer. Professional organizations also provide members with access to exclusive job postings, which gives them an edge when looking for employment opportunities or advancing their careers. In addition, joining a professional organization offers students enrolled in school counseling college programs the chance to get involved in activities such as conferences and events that can enhance both personal and professional development.

  • Step 4: Keep up with new advancements in the school counseling

    As the world of education continues to evolve, school counselors must stay ahead of the game by staying up to date on new advancements in their field. School counseling is an ever-evolving profession that requires counselors to continually educate themselves about best practices, technology, and research in order to provide students with the best support possible. To help school counselors keep up with these changes, colleges and universities may offer various courses dedicated to providing training and resources needed for success. Professional organizations also offer courses with an aim toward keeping professionals in their ranks informed and helping them to maintain their licensure or certifications. With a deeper understanding of new developments in school counseling, professionals will be better equipped to help young people navigate both academic and personal challenges they face while attending school. Through their studies, they can gain insight into areas such as crisis management, effective communication, and conflict resolution. School counselors also learn valuable skills such as data collection analysis and development of individual learning plans tailored for each student’s needs.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in School Counseling?

A bachelor's degree in education or counseling can open the door to a variety of rewarding careers. Degrees in these fields are designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge to become successful educators, counselors, or leaders in whatever their chosen career path is. With an undergraduate degree, graduates can begin making a positive impact on their communities as soon as they enter the workforce. Individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in counseling will learn how to develop relationships and provide support for those from diverse backgrounds. Those with a degree in education can learn similar things with an aim toward applying that knowledge in a classroom. In addition, they are trained on designing comprehensive educational plans that meet each student’s unique needs. They also gain experience working with administrators and teachers to create meaningful learning experiences for all students within their schools. Whatever degree you choose to earn at this level, it can help you move more confidently into the workforce in nearly any industry or field.

Potential Careers for School Counseling Graduates

  • School Counselor:

    A school counselor is responsible for providing guidance and counseling services to students in the school. They will assess student needs, provide appropriate interventions and resources, and help students build a plan for reaching their educational goals.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s Degree in Counseling or related field
    • Licensed as a School Counselor or eligible for immediate licensure in state of practice
    • Ability to develop positive relationships with students, staff, parents, and community members
    • Knowledge of current trends in student development

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for school and career counselors and advisors in the US in 2021 was $60,510
    • The mean annual wage for educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors in Arizona is $54,280.
  • Social Worker:

    A social worker provides professional support and guidance to individuals, families, and communities who are facing a range of challenges including mental health issues, relationship problems, poverty, substance abuse, and homelessness.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in Social Work or a related field
    • Knowledge of community resources and social programs
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Ability to multitask and prioritize tasks
    • Compassionate and empathetic attitude towards clients

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for social workers in the US in 2021 was $50,390
    • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in Arizona is $43,660
  • Mental Health Counselor:

    A mental health counselor is responsible for providing therapy and counseling services to individuals, families, couples and groups in order to improve mental health and wellness. They will assess client needs, develop individualized treatment plans, provide crisis intervention and referrals, and monitor progress.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in psychology or related field
    • Licensed mental health counselor (LMHC)
    • Experience providing counseling services

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2021 was $48,520
    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Arizona is $54,190
  • Guidance Counselor:

    A guidance counselor is responsible for providing advice, support, and guidance to students on a range of social and educational matters.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A Master's degree in Counseling or a related field.
    • Previous experience in school counseling or counseling/social work with children/youth preferred.
    • Knowledge of best practices and current trends in the field of school counseling

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for school and career counselors and advisors in the US in 2021 was $60,510
    • The mean annual wage for educational, guidance, and career counselors and Advisors in Arizona is $54,280
  • Behavioral Disorder Counselor:

    A behavioral disorder counselor is responsible for providing counseling and support to individuals with behavioral disorders. This role requires an understanding of the complexities of mental health issues, knowledge of evidence-based interventions, and a commitment to providing quality care.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or related field
    • Valid state license or certification as a professional counselor or social worker
    • Knowledge of evidence-based therapeutic interventions
    • Understanding of behavioral disorder diagnosis and treatments

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2021 was $48,520
    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Arizona is $54,190
  • Community Service Coordinator:

    A community service coordinator is responsible for the development and implementation of community service initiatives to benefit local communities.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in social work, public administration, or a related field
    • 5+ years of experience working in the field of community service or related field
    • Excellent communication skills both verbal and written
    • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for social and community service managers in the US in 2021 was $74,000
    • The mean annual wage for social and community service managers in Arizona is $69,700
  • Mental Health Technician:

    Mental health technicians provide direct patient care to individuals with mental illness. They assist in the development and implementation of patient treatment plans, facilitate group activities, and evaluate patient progress.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Associate degree or higher in psychology or a related field
    • Previous experience working with individuals with mental illness or disabilities is preferred
    • Knowledge of mental health principles, practices, and techniques

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for psychiatric technicians and aides in the US in 2021 was $36,230
    • The mean annual wage for psychiatric technicians in Arizona is $35,370
  • Special Education Teacher:

    A special education teacher is responsible for creating and delivering an individualized education plan (IEP) to meet the unique needs of each student with special needs.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in Special Education or related field
    • State teaching certification/license in Special Education or related field
    • Experience working with children and adolescents with special needs preferred
    • Knowledge of IEP development and implementation process

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for special education teachers in the US in 2021 was $61,820
    • The mean annual wage for special education teachers (preschool) in Arizona is $52,650. Kindergarten and elementary school special education teachers earn $54,440 and those teaching in middle school earn $52,780. Those teaching in secondary schools earn $54,780
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