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What is School Counseling?

School counseling is an important profession that helps children find the necessary resources they need to succeed in life. With the right degree program, aspiring school counselors can gain the skills and knowledge they need to aid students of all ages. There are a variety of college programs available for individuals looking to pursue a career in school counseling.

These programs provide students with the opportunity to learn about different aspects of school counseling such as individual and group therapy, educational assessments, conflict resolution techniques, and more. Depending on the institution and degree type chosen, student may also be able to specialize in areas, such as substance abuse counseling or working with special needs children. Programs range from undergraduate certificates all the way up to doctoral degrees, so there are options for any level of education desired.

Prospective students should research accredited schools carefully when deciding which college or university best suits their needs. In this article, we'll look at the responsibilities of a school counselor and what it takes to become one. Counseling students interested in attending a program in school or clinical mental health counseling might want to consider schools in Idaho such as Idaho State University Pocatello, Boise State University, Northwest Nazarene University, and more options all across the state.

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Online School Counseling Education in Idaho

A school counselor is a professional in the education system who is specially trained to offer advice, guidance, and counseling services to students. School counselors are important members of the school community and they play a vital role in helping students meet their educational goals. They provide a safe and respectful learning environment where students can work through issues that may be impeding their academic progress.

School counselors work closely with teachers, administrators, parents, and other support staff to create an integrated educational experience for each student in the school. Their primary goal is to maximize student potential by providing social-emotional-academic counseling and support so that each student can reach his or her highest personal level of success both academically and socially.

The role of a school counselor includes working with individuals from pre-K through 12th grade to help them identify strengths, set realistic goals, develop effective problem-solving skills, practice responsible decision making, build healthy relationships with adults and peers, and more. They also work with students in times of crisis, helping manage grief after a death or health issue as well as responding when needed during bullying incidents or extreme stressors. Additionally they may provide career counseling when it comes time for students to decide on college majors or paths after high school graduation.

Online Associate Degree in School Counseling (AS)

An associate degree in counseling is a great option for students who are looking to jumpstart their education and aren’t yet sure if they will go the whole way in the field of school counseling. This type of degree program provides students with foundational knowledge and skills in the field, but they need more education to actually work as counselors in a K-12 educational setting. Students who pursue an associate degree will get a better understanding of the field as a whole and be able to make the decision of whether or not to stick with it into a bachelor’s or master’s with that knowledge under their belt. If they choose to shift into a different field in their bachelor’s, they will already have finished their general education courses and may be able to start their new degree as juniors rather than freshmen.

In order for prospective school counselors to receive an associate degree, they must complete at least 60 credits of coursework which should include classes such as human growth and development, learning theory and research methods, group dynamics, family systems intervention techniques, and professional ethics. Through these courses, students will gain an understanding of the theories behind counseling practice while also developing important skills like analysis, communication, and problem solving. However, every school counselor needs a master’s degree to work in a school setting, so it will take more time for them to be ready for full licensure and employment.

Online Bachelors Degree in School Counseling (BS)

A bachelor's degree in counseling is necessary for those wishing to pursue a career in the field. Whether it be as a counselor or administrator, acquiring a bachelor’s degree in school counseling can begin to prepare you for many opportunities. Students who are interested in earning their bachelor’s degree can find programs offered at colleges and universities across the United States. Many schools offer online courses that allow students to take classes from anywhere and at their own pace.

A bachelor's degree in school counseling provides students with the knowledge necessary to become successful professionals as they learn about psychological theories, guidance strategies, assessment techniques, and more. With this degree, graduates will be nearly ready to provide advisement and counseling services on topics such as academic problems, social issues, behavior management, and career planning for K-12 students. However, it’s important to remember that you will need to earn a master’s in order to gain licensure as a school counselor.

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Online Masters Degree in School Counseling (MA or MC)

A master's in school counseling is the ideal choice for those looking to pursue a career as a school counselor or administrator in an educational environment. With an emphasis on educational psychology, human growth and development, research methods, and other related topics, this degree program offers students the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge in the field of school counseling. Earning a master's degree can provide aspiring counselors with the necessary skills to lead successful careers helping children and young adults through difficult times.

Schools offering master's degrees in school counseling must meet accreditation standards set by regional or national organizations such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This ensures that students are receiving quality education from qualified instructors who understand their particular field of study. Many universities also offer additional certifications that may be required for licensure or certification within certain states. Additionally, students may be required to participate in internships or practicums so they can gain experience working with children or adolescents while they pursue their PhD. This is necessary to ensure that the student is ready for licensure upon graduation.

Online PhD Degree in School Counseling (PhD)

A PhD in school counseling is a top tier degree for aspiring professionals who want to work in the field of education, consulting, or in academic or teaching roles. With this type of advanced degree, professionals are able to provide counseling services that help students with their academic progress and personal development, or they can teach the next generation of school counselors how to do so. Some also move into administration or consulting roles within the field.

School counseling colleges and universities offer an array of courses that focus on topics such as research methodology, social and psychological analysis, educational psychology, assessment techniques, and clinical interventions. Most programs require students to complete a dissertation or thesis project as part of their studies.

Online School Counseling Certifications

Online counseling certifications are an important part of the educational landscape. They provide specialized skills and knowledge for individuals who want to work in schools as counselors and advisors. Working in this capacity requires a set of qualifications that must be met before one can apply for these positions. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is the primary organization responsible for licensing counselors in the United States. To become certified, applicants must pass two exams administered by NBCC, obtain at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience within five years, and submit three professional references from colleagues within their field.

Once licensed, school counselors are expected to maintain their licensure through continuing education requirements on a regular basis. You can help to meet these requirements by going out of your way to expand your skill set through certifications in various forms of treatment or therapy. You might learn how to use painting therapy to increase the options you can offer students at your institution and maintain your licensure at the same time.

Become a School Counselor in Idaho

School counselors are highly valued professionals who play a key role in helping students excel academically, socially, and emotionally. But what do you need to do if you want to become one? Here are some steps on how to become a school counselor.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or Psychology and a Master’s in School Counseling

    The first step towards becoming a school counselor is to earn a bachelor’s degree in education, psychology, or counseling. During your undergraduate studies, be sure to focus on topics that relate specifically to counselors, such as child and adolescent development and theories of learning. Once you finish your undergraduate degree, you’ll be able to move into an advanced degree that will teach you to work with children in a school setting.

  • Step 2: Complete Applicable State Requirements for Certification

    In order to work as a school counselor in most states, you will need to obtain licensure from the state where you plan on working. Common requirements may include completing an accredited master’s program or post-graduate program in counseling along with passing a background check and drug screening test. Some states also require aspiring counselors to complete an internship or practicum under the supervision of an experienced counselor before being eligible for certification.

  • Step 3: Get Professional Experience Working with Students

    Experience working with young people is essential for those wishing to pursue careers as school counselors. There are many volunteer opportunities available for prospective counselors looking for experience working with students, including after-school clubs and mentoring programs sponsored by local schools or organizations. It’s also important that you research different types of counseling styles during this time so that you can better prepare yourself for when it comes time to counsel students professionally as part of your job duties.

  • Step 4: Maintain Your Licensure in School Counseling

    Once you have acquired some basic experience working with young people and found a job, you’ll need to earn continuing education units (CEUs) in order to keep your license active. There are many ways to do this, but you should probably join a professional association or keep an eye on suggestions from your state licensure board in order to keep up to date with the field and keep your licensure in order.

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

A bachelor's degree in school counseling is an excellent choice for those looking to make a difference in the lives of young people, but it will not be enough to get you a job in the field. If you choose to move into another field with this degree, there are many options, but you’ll need a master’s to work as a school counselor. A master’s degree in school counseling, or even clinical mental health counseling, can provide graduates with the tools and knowledge necessary to work as counselors in schools, helping students navigate their academic and personal challenges. With this degree, graduates can look forward to a career that is both rewarding and meaningful. By studying school or mental health counseling at the graduate level, students gain an understanding of the theories and practices associated with providing mental health support for children and young adults in educational settings. Coursework focuses on topics such as developmental psychology, child development, educational assessment techniques, adolescence psychology, family dynamics, crisis management strategies, and more. Those who earn a master’s degree are prepared for entry-level positions working with pupils of all ages or for roles within other related fields such as social work or education research.

Potential Careers for School Counseling Graduates

  • Academic Advisor:

    An academic advisor is a person who provides lifelong support to college students throughout their journey from freshman year to graduation. Advisors will help students select courses, develop individualized plans of study, create educational goals, complete degree requirements, explore abilities and interests, identify career options, and find opportunities for internships or research experiences. In addition to helping students with course selection and degree planning, academic advisors also provide personal mental health counseling or student affairs counseling on student life issues like roommate selection or campus activities. Academic advisors are very knowledgeable about the resources available on campus and give direction with career exploration activities such as job shadowing or informational interview programs.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in a related field
    • Knowledge of University policies and procedures
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
    • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
    • Commitment to providing excellent customer service

    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 Idaho is $52,990
  • Outpatient Therapist:

    Outpatient therapy is any form of psychotherapy that takes place in an outpatient or community-based setting such as a private clinic, therapist’s office, hospital, school, or public health facility. This is typically part of a comprehensive treatment plan and can include individual and group mental health counseling sessions, depending upon individual needs and preferences.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in psychology, mental health counseling, social work, or a related field
    • Licensure as a mental health professional (e.g., LPC, LMFT, LCSW)
    • Experience providing therapy services in an outpatient setting
    • Strong interpersonal skills and a commitment

    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 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Idaho is $53,630
  • Marriage and Family Therapist:

    This licensed professional counselor provide short-term couple and family counseling services that focus specifically on interpersonal issues such as marriage relationship problems, family counseling, parenting difficulties, group counseling, depression, stress management, substance abuse, grief counseling, or difficulties during life transitions such as divorce or blending families. They work individually with clients by creating a safe therapeutic environment in which to support their client’s self-awareness and encourage them to better cope with difficult emotions or situations. They also assess the dynamics within a couple or family unit in order to help them adjust successfully to change or manage conflict.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in marriage & family therapy from an accredited institution
    • Licensed marriage & family therapist in good standing with relevant licensing boards
    • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of people from various backgrounds
    • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists in the US in 2021 was $49,880
    • The mean annual wage marriage and family therapists in Idaho is $53,870
  • School Psychologist:

    A school psychologist is a licensed professional counselor responsible for providing psychological services to students, families, and staff within a school setting.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in psychology, school counseling program, or a related field
    • License or certification as a School Psychologist
    • Knowledge of educational psychology, developmental psychology, and child/adolescent psychopathology
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for school psychologists in the US in 2021 was $82,770
    • The mean annual wage school psychologists in Idaho is $53,760
  • Behavioral Disorder Counselor:

    A behavioral disorder counselor helps people reduce disruptive behavior, such as repetitive head banging or verbal outbursts. They are also experienced in helping clients identify triggers for these behaviors and create healthy coping strategies to minimize them. Behavioral disorder counselors are well-versed in administering interventions that aim to help clients learn how to manage emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, they may also be called upon to assist clients with making lifestyle changes that promote healthier emotional responses.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in psychology, social work, or related field of study
    • Valid state license or certification as a Behavioral Disorder Counselor
    • Knowledge of psychological assessment techniques and counseling theories

    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 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Idaho is $53,630
  • Counselor in Private Practice:

    A counselor in private practice provides individual counseling services to help people work through their mental health issues.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or a related field
    • Licensed or license-eligible as a mental health counselor
    • Knowledge of ethical guidelines for counseling practice
    • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills
    • Ability to remain objective and provide unbiased feedback

    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 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Idaho is $53,630
  • Special Education Teacher:

    Special education teachers help students who have physical or intellectual disabilities access the general curriculum to the best of their ability. They design customized instruction plans which account for each child’s individual needs, abilities, and strengths and they also perform assessments throughout the school year to measure student progress. Special education teachers also collaborate with regular classroom teachers, counselors, resource specialists, school psychologists, and other professionals who may be involved in students’ academic experiences.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in special education or related field
    • Valid state teaching license/certification in Special Education
    • Proven experience as a Special Education teacher
    • Strong understanding of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and their implementation
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for special education teachers in the US in 2021 was $61,820
    • The mean annual wage special education teachers (kindergarten and elementary) in Idaho is $48,950, those in middle school earn $41,820, and those in secondary school earn $54,520
  • College Counselor:

    College counseling is a form of academic advising that helps guide students through the college admissions process. It involves helping students choose schools that are right for them, investigating financial aid and scholarship options, understanding how grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities factor into the application decisions, writing effective essays and personal statements, navigating waitlists, attending interviews or auditions if necessary, forming relationships with mentors in the field they plan to pursue post-graduation, etc.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in education, counseling or related field
    • At least two years of experience in college admissions or counseling
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Ability to work effectively with diverse populations

    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 Idaho is $52,990

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