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What is School Counseling?

School counseling is an important profession that helps students of all ages to achieve their goals, both academically and personally. Achieving the necessary qualifications to become a professional school counselor requires dedication and determination. Fortunately, there are many college programs available that will allow individuals to pursue a career in this field.

Students interested in pursuing school counseling or clinical mental health counseling as a career can enroll in various colleges offering degree programs specifically designed for this purpose. These courses usually include instruction on topics such as child psychology, counseling theory and practice, human development, ethics, family dynamics, diversity awareness, and other related subjects. In addition to these core areas of study, prospective school counselors may also choose from elective classes such as assessment strategies or educational technology. Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students will be awarded with an accredited degree in school counseling which can open potential opportunities and advancement within the field.

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Online School Counseling Education in Hawaii

School counselors provide comprehensive guidance office services that support the whole student in learning. This means that they are responsible for helping students with developmental issues, career or college planning, developing social skills and effective problem-solving skills, understanding different cultures and beliefs, etc.

Additionally, school counselors specialize in areas such as college planning or social-emotional development. As an example, a college planning specialist might help families and students learn how to apply to colleges and how to write an effective application essay, and a social-emotional development specialist might help families strengthen positive relationships.

Having a school counselor is essential for providing helpful guidance during turbulent times like adolescence. School counselors have the opportunity not only recognize potential problems but also to encourage and equip young people towards self-improvement and success in life. As an advocate for each student’s growth within the educational setting, they serve an integral role in enabling them to reach their full potential.

Online Associate Degree in Counseling (AS)

When considering becoming a school counselor, an associate degree in counseling is a good choice for those who aren’t positive that they are interested in this field, or for those who want to save some money at the beginning of their education by transferring credits from an associate program into a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree program is typically a two-year program that can be completed online or at an accredited college. This type of degree allows students to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of psychology and counseling while also beginning to develop the skills needed to become effective counselors in various educational settings. However, it’s important to note that you will not be able to work as a teacher or school counselor with only an associate degree; you will need much more education to gain licensure in the field.

An associate degree program provides a foundation in theories, techniques, and approaches used by professional counselors. Students learn how to create meaningful relationships with children, adolescents, and adults while exploring best practices for working with diverse populations. The curriculum may also cover principles of guidance and intervention strategies, along with ethical standards for practice and research methods used by professional counselors.

Online Bachelors Degree in School Counseling (BS)

A bachelors in school counseling is an excellent way to prepare yourself for a career in this field. With the right education and training, you can help children and adolescents in elementary, middle, and high schools with their mental health needs. Whether you are interested in becoming a guidance counselor or working as an academic advisor, there are plenty of options available when it comes to school counseling colleges and degree programs.

School counseling degrees typically combine both theoretical instruction and practical application. Courses may cover topics such as educational psychology, research methods, multicultural issues in education, child development theory, human behavior theory, educational assessment techniques, and more. You should also gain hands-on experience through practicums that allow you to work directly with students under the supervision of experienced professionals. This type of comprehensive training provides graduates with the skills necessary for successful careers, though you’ll also need to ensure that you earn licensure in the field.

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Online Masters Degree in School Counseling (MA or MC)

A master’s in school counseling can finally open doors to a career as a school counselor. School counselors help students and their families within the school system by providing resources and advice with regard to issues such as academics, behavioral health, social capabilities, college selection, and career planning. People who pursue this type of degree typically have an interest in helping children reach their highest potential and improving student outcomes within the educational setting.

A master’s degree in counseling requires a great deal of educational preparation that includes courses in psychology, sociology, education, counseling theory, and practice. In addition to coursework requirements for graduation, most programs require students to complete an internship or supervised practicum that allows them to gain hands-on experience working with children in a school setting.

Online PhD Degree in School Counseling (PhD)

A PhD in School Counseling can open the door to a wide range of career opportunities, from working as a school counselor and administrator to serving as an educational consultant. Earning a doctorate degree in this field provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify challenges faced by children, adolescents, and adults within educational settings, as well as how to develop evidence-based interventions that promote student success. For those looking to pursue a career in school counseling, there are many colleges and universities that offer doctoral degrees in the field.

Students enrolled in these programs will learn advanced theories of counseling, child development, multiculturalism, research methods, and assessment techniques related to counseling practices. They will also gain experience through their practicum experience working directly with students under the supervision of an academic adviser or faculty member. Graduates of these programs often go on to work in academic roles, teaching the next generation of school counselors, or they might find themselves performing research or setting policy in school-focused settings.

Online School Counseling Certifications

School Counseling Certifications are an important part of a career in the field of school counseling. While becoming a licensed mental health counselor or school counselor allows individuals to work in educational settings, helping students achieve academic and personal success, certifications may allow you to work with specific populations or with certain grade levels. In Hawaii, there are many colleges and degree programs that offer certification for those looking to enter or get ahead in this competitive field, and you can focus on various specialties such as marriage and family counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and more.

Institutions provide a variety of courses designed to give individuals the necessary skills to work as professional counselors in schools, but they may also offer the chance to gain endorsements or certifications. Topics covered may include psychology, education law, student development, assessment techniques, and more. By completing these courses, potential school counselors can gain valuable knowledge that will help them succeed in their profession. Additionally, they will be able to take advantage of networking opportunities with other professionals within the state who have gone through similar training or hold similar certifications.

Become a School Counselor in Hawaii

A career as a school counselor is a great way to make a difference in children's lives. By providing resources and support, school counselors help students develop academically, socially, and emotionally. The following steps will help you become a school counselor.

  • Step 1: Complete an Undergraduate Degree Program in Counseling:

    The first step is to earn a bachelor's degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or sociology from an accredited university. As a graduate of this program, you will gain theoretical knowledge about human development, learning theories, developmental psychology, and crisis intervention.

  • Step 2: Earn Admission into and Complete a Graduate Degree Program in School Counseling:

    You should apply for admission to a graduate-level program in school counseling after completing your undergraduate degree program in counseling or psychology. Coursework should be accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). For hands-on experience in school counseling, make sure your graduate program also includes an internship requirement.

  • Step 3: Pass Licensing Exams and Earn Professional Credentials

    Before practicing as a professional counselor, most states require licensure, which involves passing licensing exams such as the National Certified Counselor Exam (NCC) and others specific to each state. The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) offers additional credentials beyond just licensure through their certifications.

  • Step 4: Gain Experience through Mentoring Programs or Internships

    Schools counselor mentoring programs provide real-world experience with established school counselors who can teach valuable core competencies on how to be successful working directly with students in K-12 schools. The opportunity to interact with experienced teachers and learn their techniques will prove invaluable when you pursue permanent positions in the future.

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

A bachelor's degree in school counseling can open up a variety of career opportunities across the educational spectrum. Those who graduate from counseling or mental health counseling programs in Hawaii will be well prepared for many roles, but they will not be able to work as school counselors until they earn a master’s degree in an appropriate field. Those with graduate degrees can work as school counselors, academic advisors, or other student services professionals. With knowledge of the latest counseling techniques and an understanding of the legal issues that face today’s schools, graduates from these programs are well equipped to work effectively with students ranging from elementary school-age children to college-age adults.

Those with a bachelor’s degree may also find employment opportunities in education institutions, though not as a teacher or counselor, or outside of traditional schooling. They could use their expertise to help students make their way into college or work in a business field that can use the knowledge they’ve gained, such as a human resources department.

Potential Careers for School Counseling Graduates

  • School Counselor:

    School counselors provide support and guidance to students in educational settings. Their goal is to help students navigate the various challenges they face in school as individuals, groups, and entire classes.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A master's degree in school counseling or a related field is required
    • Licensed or certified as a counselor by a state
    • Ability to assess individual students and understand group dynamics
    • Excellent communication skills, both verbally and in writing

    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 Hawaii is $68,560
  • Social and Community Services Manager:

    A social and community services manager is responsible for overseeing the planning, organizing, and managing of social services programs in a community. They will be in charge of ensuring that the programs are designed to meet the needs of the community and its residents.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in social work or related field
    • At least 5 years of experience in social services management
    • Knowledge of local regulations and laws relevant to social services

    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 educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors in Hawaii is $70,770
  • Behavioral Disorder Counselor:

    A behavioral disorder counselor can provide individual, family, and group counseling services to individuals with behavioral disorders. They aim to help their clients either control negative behaviors or give them techniques to help them cope with behavioral disorders.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in mental health counseling, psychology or related field
    • At least 1 year of experience working with individuals with behavioral disorders
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Knowledge of evidence-based practices for treating behavioral disorders
    • Ability to maintain professional boundaries with clients

    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 Hawaii is $61,410
  • Caseworker:

    Caseworkers are responsible for providing case management services to individuals and families in need. They conduct assessments, develop plans of action, provide resources and referrals, monitor progress and outcomes, and maintain case records.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in Social Work or a related field
    • Knowledge of social services systems, community resources, and best practices
    • Ability to work with diverse populations in challenging situations
    • Excellent communication skills and ability to build relationships with clients
    • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

    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 Hawaii is $61,790
  • Mental Health Counselor:

    A mental health technician works collaboratively with mental health professionals to provide care and support to individuals with mental illnesses. They are responsible for providing direct patient care through observation, assessment, therapeutic interventions, and the development of individualized treatment plans.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • High School diploma or equivalent
    • Previous experience in a mental health setting preferred
    • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
    • Compassionate, understanding, and patient demeanor

    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 Hawaii is $45,660
  • Addiction Counselor:

    A substance abuse counselor will provide effective counseling and treatment to individuals and groups suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, mental health counseling, or related field
    • State licensure or certification
    • Knowledge of evidence-based treatments for substance abuse disorders
    • Ability to maintain professional boundaries with patients
    • Excellent communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills

    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 Hawaii is $61,410
  • Postsecondary Psychology Teacher:

    A postsecondary psychology teacher is responsible for creating curricula and teaching postsecondary-level psychology courses to college students. They may also participate in psychology research.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, mental health counseling, or related field
    • Master’s degree or higher preferred
    • Previous experience teaching at the postsecondary level
    • Familiarity with various educational technology tools
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for psychology teachers, postsecondary in the US in 2021 was $88,390
    • The mean annual wage for psychology teachers, postsecondary in Hawaii is $92,990

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