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What is School Counseling?

School counseling is a vital aspect of the education system and, to become a professional school counselor, one must earn an appropriate degree from an accredited institution. There are many colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in school counseling, though you’ll probably want to be sure that you attend a school in the state where you plan to work. This is because each state decides their own requirements for counselors of all kinds, including school counselors. Bachelor's degrees in education or psychology can provide an excellent foundation for those who wish to pursue careers as school counselors, while master's degrees can help individuals gain advanced knowledge, skills, and the licensure required to do the job.

For those interested in pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling, top-rated institutions in Louisiana include those within and outside of the Louisiana System. These include Louisiana Tech University - Ruston, Southeastern Louisiana University, Louisiana State University, Northwestern State University, Southern University, Loyola University in Louisiana, and more in cities like Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and all over the state.

While earning a degree is crucial for becoming a professional school counselor, it’s not the only requirement. Most states require individuals to obtain licensure or certification before practicing as counselors. Therefore it is essential to research state-specific requirements before choosing any program for pursuing higher education.

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Online School Counseling Education in Louisiana

School counselors are professionals who work in educational institutions to support students' academic, social, and emotional development. They work collaboratively with teachers, parents, and other stakeholders to design and implement programs that enhance students' learning experiences. A school counselor's role is multifaceted as they help students navigate the complexities of school life while also providing them with the necessary tools to succeed academically.

To become a school counselor, you will need a degree from an accredited college or university in counseling or a related field. Some schools may require additional certification or licensure. School counseling programs typically involve coursework in psychology, human development, research methods, and career planning. Students also participate in supervised internships where they gain practical experience working with K-12 students.

The importance of school counselors cannot be overstated as they play a crucial role in helping children reach their full potential. As such, schools are increasingly investing in school counseling programs to ensure that students receive the support they need to thrive both inside and outside of the classroom. If you have a passion for helping children succeed and are interested in pursuing a career as a school counselor, there are many degree programs available that can help you achieve your goals.

Online Associate Degree in School Counseling (AS)

Earning an associate degree in school counseling is a great starting point for those who aren’t yet sure if they are interested in pursuing a career as a school counselor. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer associate degree programs that provide students with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to work in this field, but they also include general education courses. Students who complete an associate degree can go on to become paraprofessional counselors or continue their education by transferring credits to pursue a bachelor's degree. However, if the associate degree doesn’t convince you that school counseling if for you, you can always shift your focus elsewhere during your bachelor’s degree program.

School counseling programs typically cover topics such as human development, psychology, communication, ethics, and counseling techniques. Students may also participate in practicum experiences where they can gain hands-on experience working with students under the supervision of licensed counselors. Graduates of these programs will not yet be able to find employment opportunities as school counselors, though they may find other roles in in public and private K-12 schools, community centers, and youth organizations.

While earning an associate degree in school counseling is not always necessary to work as a school counselor, it can provide individuals with a competitive edge when applying for jobs or furthering their education. It's important for aspiring school counselors to research various program options and accreditation requirements before selecting a program that suits their needs and goals.

Online Bachelors Degree in School Counseling (BA or BS)

For those who aspire to become school counselors, earning a bachelor's degree in counseling is usually the best first step toward achieving their professional goals. A degree program in school counseling provides students with the essential skills and knowledge needed to work effectively as a counselor within a school setting, though you’ll need a master’s degree for full licensure. The curriculum usually includes courses in psychology, counseling theories and techniques, child development, ethics and legal issues in counseling, family counseling, as well as assessment and evaluation. Additionally, students may take courses that prepare them for specific tasks, such as college readiness planning or helping students with special needs.

There aren’t many colleges that offer degrees in school counseling at the bachelor’s level because you need a master’s to work as a school counselor. However, you should be able to find a program focused on psychology, counseling, social work, or another related field that will help you gain entry to a school counseling master’s program. These programs may aim to provide students with practical experience through internships or practicums where they can observe experienced counselors at work or participate directly in counseling activities under supervision. Graduates of these programs are not only equipped with theoretical knowledge but also have practical experience working with children and adolescents, which is necessary for success in this field.

Overall, obtaining a bachelor's degree in counseling or psychology is an excellent way for individuals interested in working within schools to gain the foundational knowledge needed to make an impact on children's lives through guidance and support. By attending one of these programs, aspiring school counselors will have access to professionals who can help them develop their skills while providing valuable mentoring opportunities that prepare them for success throughout their careers.

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Online Masters Degree in School Counseling (MA, MS or MC)

School counseling is a rewarding career that requires specialized training and education. Pursuing a master's degree in school counseling is the only way to gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and licensure to be successful in the field. There are many colleges and universities that offer degree programs in school counseling, each with their unique curriculum and requirements. You may also choose to focus on another field when you begin your graduate program such as clinical mental health counseling, counselor education, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, community counseling, and other options within the counseling profession.

When selecting a school counseling program, it’s essential to research various colleges' offerings thoroughly. The coursework should prepare graduates for licensure and include courses on human development, ethical considerations, assessment techniques, and intervention strategies for students facing social-emotional challenges. Additionally, one may want to consider programs that provide hands-on experience through internships or practicums.

Overall, obtaining a master's degree in school counseling can lead to fulfilling job opportunities, such as working as a guidance counselor or school psychologist. Graduates of these programs have the opportunity to make positive impacts on students' lives by providing them with support during challenging times while helping them reach their full potential academically and personally.

Online PhD Degree in School Counseling (PhD)

School counseling is a critical aspect of the education system. It involves providing support to students, enabling them to overcome personal and academic challenges that may hinder their success in school. The demand for qualified school counselors has increased significantly over the years, leading to the growth of school counseling colleges and degree programs. Pursuing a PhD in school counseling enables individuals to acquire advanced knowledge and skills needed to provide effective counseling services and to advance your career in the field.

Through a PhD program in school counseling, students can gain a deeper understanding of various aspects related to counseling within educational settings. These include theories of human development, group dynamics, career development, multiculturalism, and diversity issues, among others. Additionally, students have access to practical training opportunities aimed at equipping them with real-life experiences necessary for their future careers as school counselors.

Completing a PhD in school counseling program opens numerous job opportunities, both in public and private institutions, such as schools or private practice. Graduates are equipped with key competencies needed for effective leadership roles within educational environments, including research and administrative positions. A PhD in school counseling also provides an excellent foundation for those interested in pursuing research or teaching careers related to school counseling practices at the university level.

Online School Counseling Certifications

School counseling certifications are an important aspect of building a successful career in the field. Many colleges and universities offer specific programs to prepare students for certification exams, such as the National Counselor Examination (NCE). These programs may include coursework in counseling theories, human development, assessment and diagnosis, group counseling techniques, and research methods.

In addition to completing a graduate degree program in school counseling or a related field, candidates must also meet certain state-specific requirements to become licensed, which is different than certification but very important. This may include completing supervised experience hours or passing additional exams, and it’s important for aspiring school counselors to research their state's specific certification requirements before choosing a degree program.

Become a School Counselor in Louisiana

School counselors play a crucial role in the academic, personal, and social development of students. To become a school counselor in Louisiana, there are certain steps that you need to take. Here's a list of steps to help you achieve your goal.

  • Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

    To start your journey, you will need to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Although there is no specific major required, some fields such as education, psychology, or social work would be beneficial. A bachelor’s degree will prepare you to understand the roles and responsibilities of a school counselor and will provide a foundation for the next steps.

  • Step 2: Get a Master's Degree in School Counseling

    In Louisiana, a master's degree in school counseling or a related field is required to practice as a school counselor. The graduate program should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) to meet state licensure requirements.

  • Step 3: Complete Required Internship Hours

    Alongside completing your master's degree program, you will need to complete a minimum of 600 hours of supervised internship experience in a school counseling setting. This will give you practical experience and prepare you for your role as a school counselor.

  • Step 4: Obtain Required Certification/Licensure

    After completing your master’s degree and internship hours, you must obtain a counseling license from the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners (LPC Board). The Board requires professional counselors to take the National Counselor Examination before granting a license.

  • Step 5: Apply for School Counselor Certification

    Once you have obtained a counseling license through the LPC Board, you must apply for school counselor certification through the Louisiana Department of Education. This includes submitting transcripts, an application, and passing a background check to ensure a safe work environment for students.

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

Graduating with a bachelor's in school counseling, unfortunately, does not open as many career paths for you as you might wish. For instance, you will not be able to work as a school counselor without at least a master’s degree. You may be able to work as a school counseling assistant, a tutor or mentor, a youth program coordinator, an education support specialist, or in another field that is not relevant to your degree but shifting to another career may slow your career path somewhat. However, the only other option is to obtain a master’s degree and earn licensure in school counseling.

With a master’s, you can finally become a school counselor, which is an honorable and rewarding profession. School counselors are responsible for helping students succeed academically, socially, and personally by providing guidance on academic planning or addressing social-emotional concerns. Another option is to work as an education program coordinator. These professionals develop and implement educational programs geared toward improving student learning outcomes. They often work with teachers, administrators, and other school personnel to identify areas of need in the curriculum and create programs that address these needs.

Finally, graduates can consider pursuing further education to become mental health counselors or psychologists. Mental health counselors typically work with individuals who are struggling with emotional or psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression.

Potential Careers for School Counseling Graduates

  • Career Counselor:

    A career counselor's main responsibility is guiding individuals in exploring various career options and making well-informed decisions regarding their professional lives. They offer guidance, resources, and support services for anyone attempting to change careers or improve themselves professionally.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor of Arts or related field
    • Experience with Human Resources/ Career Counseling
    • Excellent communication/ interpersonal skills
    • Ability to provide sound advice

    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 Louisiana is $58,480
  • Mental Health Counselor:

    A mental health counselor provides compassionate and evidence-based mental health counseling to support clients in improving their overall mental health.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s Degree in Social Work, Psychology, Counseling, or related field
    • State licensure as a Mental Health Counselor or Social Worker
    • Knowledge of evidence-based interventions, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    • Understanding of diagnostic criteria for emotional disturbances and mental illnesses

    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 Louisiana is $39,970
  • Postsecondary Psychology Teacher:

    A postsecondary psychology teacher is responsible for instructing psychology courses at colleges or universities. They will create and teach curriculum, as well as maintaining contact with students in order to help them succeed in their classes.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's or PhD in Psychology or related field
    • Experience teaching college/university-level psychology/related subject area
    • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills Ideally
    • Proficient knowledge of computer programs and online learning systems
    • Collaborate effectively on curriculum development projects by cooperating with colleagues

    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 Louisiana is $74,980
  • Caseworker:

    A caseworker provides individuals and families with assistance for their social, emotional, and economic needs by providing resources, assessing needs, and connecting them to appropriate services.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in social work or related field
    • Knowledge of community resources and service providers in your locality
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
    • Ability to craft solutions to complex problems
    • Ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
    • Superior organizational and time management abilities

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in the US in 2021 was $54,880
    • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in Louisiana is $45,010
  • Mental Health Technician:

    A mental health technician provides direct care to clients in a mental health setting, providing support and monitoring of daily activities involving clients such as helping with activities of daily living, providing emotional support, and administering medications.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • An associate degree in psychology, social work or related field
    • Valid driver's license and reliable transportation
    • Previous experience working within mental health field preferred
    • Flexible hours available and knowledge of state regulations

    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 Louisiana is $27,820
  • Social Worker:

    As a social worker, your primary responsibility will be providing direct client services for families, individuals, and communities in need. You may offer counseling, crisis intervention services, advocacy support, and other supportive services.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in social work or related field
    • Experience working with vulnerable populations
    • Knowledge of community resources and referral systems
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
    • Excellent organizational, problem solving and time management abilities

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in the US in 2021 was $54,880
    • The mean annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in Louisiana is $45,010
  • Psychologist:

    A school psychologist is a mental health professional who works with students, families, and school staff to promote learning and development, improve academic performance, address behavioral issues, and support mental health within the school setting.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in School Psychology or related field
    • Licensure as a School Psychologist in the state of practice

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for school psychologists in the US in 2021 was $82,770
    • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologists in Louisiana is $101,420
  • College Counselor:

    A college counselor provides advice, guidance, and support to students as they prepare for postsecondary education. They assist in setting academic goals, creating plans for success strategies, and exploring various college options.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in Education or related field
    • Previous Experience as a College Counselor or Similar Role
    • Knowledge of current higher education trends and practices
    • Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational Skills

    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 Louisiana is $58,480

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