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What is School Counseling?

School counselors are professionals working within the education sector who assist and guide students in their academic, social, and emotional growth. They collaborate closely with students, parents, teachers, and administrators to provide a safe learning environment for all children.

School counselors serve an integral function in helping their student body attain academic success by offering guidance and counseling services that assist students in setting academic goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses, setting ambitious academic targets, creating action plans to reach these targets, planning educational paths (college/career readiness), and making informed decisions regarding the future.

School counselors not only offer academic assistance to their students, but they are also there to help maintain their emotional and social wellbeing. Trained to identify any emotional or behavioral problems their charges might be experiencing and help them cope with them, they provide individual and group counseling sessions where students can safely express their problems or voice any concerns without worry or judgment from others.

School counselors work collaboratively with both parents and teachers to ensure students receive the support and resources they require for success in school. Together with teachers, they collaborate in identifying student issues, as well as advocating on behalf of those experiencing learning or behavioral difficulties. Furthermore, they offer guidance and advice for parents seeking an understanding of their child's needs and concerns.

School counselors play a vital role in creating an inviting and positive school environment, working to foster respect, diversity, and empathy among their pupils, and to encourage the development of social and emotional skills. Furthermore, they offer crisis intervention services when necessary, aiding both individuals as well as the school community with emergencies or difficult situations.

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Online School Counseling Education in Michigan

School counseling is an essential service provided in Michigan schools to help students achieve academic success, personal growth, and career readiness. Many individuals may be interested in pursuing a career as a school counselor but might wonder what the employment opportunities and requirements in Michigan look like.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 8,200 school counselors employed in Michigan as of May 2020. They also report that Michigan school counselors had an annual mean salary of $65,980, slightly below the national average of $67,610; however, wages can differ based on factors including education level, experience level, and geographic location. Michigan school counselors typically find employment within local government educational services, which include public schools. There may also be opportunities to work in private schools, colleges, or universities.

It’s important to note that the demand for school counselors in Michigan is projected to increase over the next decade. According to Projections Central, the employment of school counselors in Michigan is expected to grow by 6.7% between 2018 and 2028, which is higher than the national average growth rate of 8.4% during the same period. In addition to the increased demand, there may also be a need for more diverse school counselors in Michigan. According to the Michigan Department of Education, only 4% of school counselors in the state identify as a person of color, while the student population is much more diverse.

Overall, this type of counseling can be a fulfilling and rewarding career for individuals who are passionate about helping students succeed. Despite the competition for job openings, the projected growth in employment and the potential for increasing diversity in the field make it an attractive career choice for many. Students interested in earning the counselor education they need to work as licensed professional counselors can find a program focused on family counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse counseling, or counseling degrees with a school counselor endorsement will find options for counseling programs across the state. These options may include schools such as Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Andrews University, Wayne State University, University of Detroit Mercy, etc.

Online Associate Degree in School Counseling (AS)

School counseling is a vital aspect of a child's education. It helps them to navigate academic, social, and personal challenges that they may face during their school years. To become a professional school counselor in Michigan, one must earn a master’s degree from a school counseling program offered by an accredited college or university. However, if you are uncertain about spending so long on your education, you could first choose to earn an education, psychology, or counseling degree at the associate level. This can give you access to professors and other students that can help you clarify your interests and prepare you for the next step in your education.

An associate degree in this type of counseling provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills to work as paraprofessionals or counselors in schools. These programs typically take two years to complete and cover topics such as psychology, human development, educational theories, and counseling techniques. Additionally, some programs may require students to participate in supervised internships or practicum.

After completing the associate degree program, graduates can pursue further education by enrolling in a bachelor's school counseling program. Graduates may also find employment opportunities in public schools, private schools, community centers, and youth organizations but they will not be able to work as counselors or teachers without further education and licensure.

Online Bachelors Degree in School Counseling (BS)

A bachelor's in school counseling program is a great way to begin your journey towards becoming a school counselor. There are many schools offering counselor education degree programs, which usually take around four years to complete. Most programs will involve a combination of classroom instruction and practical experience through internships or practicum experiences. These programs aim to provide you with the foundation you will need to continue your education and earn a master’s degree, which is required to work as a school counselor.

Some common courses that you might take in a bachelor's degree in counselor education, psychology, or another related program that will prepare you for counseling licensure include psychology, counseling theories and techniques, human development, group counseling, multicultural counseling, and educational research methods. In addition to the coursework, you may also be required to complete an internship or practicum experience where you can apply what you've learned in real-world situations. However, these are not required until your master’s program, so you may find that your program does not offer hands-on learning at this level.

If you're interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in this field, it's important to do your research ahead of time. Not all schools offer related degree programs, so make sure to find accredited institutions with programs that meet your needs and interests. Additionally, consider talking with current or former students of these programs for their insights into the curriculum and opportunities available after graduation.

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Online Masters Degree in School Counseling (MA or MC)

Many universities and colleges offer a degree in school counseling. A counseling program of this type will prepare students to obtain a school counselor license and work as professional counselors in educational settings, providing support to students struggling with personal, emotional, social, or academic issues. Students enrolled in counselor education programs take courses that cover a wide range of topics such as human development, counseling theories, ethics, and legal issues.

The main goal of these degree programs is to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to help children succeed academically and personally. Graduates of these pr related educational programs can go on to work as school counselors in K-12 schools or pursue other related careers, such as educational consultants, program coordinators, or college counseling roles. Some schools also offer specialized tracks within their counseling degree programs that allow students to focus on areas such as clinical mental health counseling or career development.

Overall, pursuing a master's degree in school counseling allows individuals to make a meaningful impact on the lives of young people by providing support and guidance during formative years. It’s an excellent choice for those who have a passion for helping others and are looking for a fulfilling career linked to education.

Online PhD Degree in School Counseling (PhD)

Those who are interested in pursuing a PhD in school counseling have a variety of college and degree programs to choose from. Some schools offer separate doctoral programs specifically in school counseling, while others may offer a counseling psychology PhD with an emphasis on school counseling. The curriculum for these programs typically includes advanced coursework in theories and techniques of counseling, research methods, statistics, and educational psychology.

In addition to coursework, most PhD programs in school counseling require students to complete a significant research project or dissertation. This allows students to develop expertise in a particular area of interest within the field of education and counseling. Graduates of these programs may go on to work as professors at universities or as researchers studying topics related to school counseling.

Overall, pursuing a PhD in school counseling requires a significant amount of time and dedication but can lead to rewarding career opportunities that allow individuals to make positive impacts on the lives of students and communities alike.

Online School Counseling Certifications

School counseling certifications are specialized credentials that indicate an individual's ability to provide counseling services within the educational setting. These certifications require a specific set of competencies and skills that are necessary for effective school counseling. To obtain these certifications, individuals must have completed an accredited degree program in school counseling or a related field.

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs specifically designed for those interested in pursuing a career as a school counselor. These programs typically include coursework in human development, social justice, assessment and evaluation, group counseling, and crisis intervention. Students will also be required to complete supervised internships or practicum under the guidance of licensed counselors.

Obtaining a certification in school counseling can lead to increased job opportunities and higher salaries within the education sector. Additionally, it demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and ongoing education within the field of school counseling. As such, individuals who are interested in becoming certified should research their state's requirements carefully and consider pursuing additional training or continuing education opportunities as necessary.

Become a School Counselor in Michigan

School counselors play a critical role in helping students achieve their academic and personal goals. Here are the steps you need to take to become a school counselor in Michigan.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

    To become a school counselor in Michigan, the first step should be earning a bachelor's degree in counseling, education, or another field related to school counseling. While completing your undergraduate studies, it’s imperative that the courses taken correspond with state certification requirements.

  • Step 2: Earn Your Master's in School Counseling

    In Michigan, becoming a licensed school counselor requires earning a master's degree from an institution with regional accreditation in school counseling or related field from a regionally accredited program approved by the State Board of Education, with 48 semester hours devoted to practicum experience and internship training as required by State law.

  • Step 3: Gain Work Experience

    Once you have obtained a master's degree, the next step in becoming a school counselor should be gaining work experience as a full-time school counselor or in a related field. Additional experience can also be gained through internships, practicums, or other school roles.

  • Step 4: Acquire a License

    Once you have earned your degree and gained experience, the Michigan Department of Education requires that you acquire a license for school counseling. To be eligible for school counselor licensing in Michigan, candidates must pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) School Counselor Exam.

  • Step 5: Renew Your License

    In Michigan, school counselor licenses must be renewed every five years. To renew it successfully, continuing education credits that meet state requirements must be earned and submitted for consideration.

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

For those interested in pursuing a career in school counseling, obtaining a bachelor's degree in the field is an excellent starting point. With this degree, graduates can pursue various roles within the educational system, though you won’t be able to work as a counselor in a school setting until you earn a master’s degree in school counseling. One option with a bachelor’s is working as a teacher K-12 schools, where you can provide students with academic and emotional support in the classroom.

Another career path for those with a bachelor's in psychology, counseling, or education and teaching is to work as an admissions counselor for colleges and universities. In this role, individuals assist prospective students with their applications, provide information about financial aid options, and help them navigate the college selection process.

Additionally, graduates can go on to pursue further education by obtaining a master's or doctorate degree in counseling or related fields. This allows you to work as a school counselor and can lead to opportunities, such as becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or clinical mental health counselor (CMHC). This can allow individuals to work independently and potentially earn higher salaries. Overall, there are numerous career paths available for those with a bachelor's degree in school counseling that allow them to make positive impacts on students' lives while advancing their own careers.

Potential Careers for School Counseling Graduates

  • Behavioral Disorder Counselor

    A behavioral disorder counselor is responsible for providing mental health counseling, support and intervention services to individuals with behavioral disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), etc.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelors in behavioral sciences, psychology, social work, or a related field
    • State licensure as a counselor or therapist
    • Knowledge of behavioral disorders and evidence-based treatment methods
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
    • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
    • Experience working with children or adolescents with behavioral disorders is preferred

    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 Michigan is $54,080
  • Counselor in Private Practice:

    A counselor in private practice is responsible for providing therapeutic services to clients with mental health and emotional issues. They work independently in their own practice and offer a safe, confidential, and supportive environment for clients to discuss their personal problems and feelings.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in counseling or a related field
    • State licensure as a counselor or therapist
    • Experience in providing counseling services to individuals with mental health issues
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Compassionate and empathetic attitude towards clients
    • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologist in the US in 2021 was $102,740
    • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologist in Michigan is $82,950
  • Behavioral Disorder Counselor:

    Behavioral disorder counselors will involve providing assistance and counselling services for clients struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Counseling services will focus on helping clients overcome obstacles to achieving mental well-being while offering psychological relief services such as therapy sessions to overcome challenges faced.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in Counseling or related field (counselling/therapy)
    • State license as counselor/therapist
    • Knowledge of behavioral disorders and their treatments
    • Strong communication/interpersonal skills (excellent communicator/interactor)
    • Experience in working independently
    • Strong problem-solving and decision-making skills
    • Ability to take initiative are key skills needed in any position

    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 Michigan is $54,080
  • Community Service Coordinator:

    A community service coordinator is responsible for organizing and overseeing community service events and programs in collaboration with local organizations, non-profits, and volunteers. These roles require excellent communication, organizational, and leadership skills.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in a related field or equivalent experience
    • Strong communication, organizational, and leadership skills
    • Experience in event planning or project management
    • Knowledge of volunteer recruitment and management
    • Ability to work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders
    • Passion for community service and social impact

    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 Michigan is $77,500
  • Special Education Teacher:

    A special education teacher is responsible for working with students who have disabilities or special needs. They adapt and modify instruction to meet the individual needs of their students, ensuring that they receive a comprehensive education that is tailored to their abilities.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in special education or a related field
    • Valid teaching certification in special education
    • Experience working with students with disabilities or special needs
    • Knowledge of special education laws and regulations
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Patience, flexibility, and a commitment to helping all students reach their full potential

    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 in middle schools in Michigan is $65,610 and special education teachers in secondary schools earn $68,210
  • Career Counselor:

    A career counselor is responsible for guiding individuals in their career choices and helping them reach their professional goals. They provide advice, support, and assistance to people who are looking to change careers, start their careers, or advance in their current job positions.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in counseling, psychology, human resources or related field
    • Relevant work experience in career counseling or related field
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Ability to work with diverse groups of people
    • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail

    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 Michigan is $58,800
  • Psychology Teacher:

    A postsecondary psychology teacher is responsible for delivering lectures and facilitating discussions on various topics related to psychology to college-level students. They are expected to maintain up to date knowledge of current research in the field and incorporate it into their teaching strategies. In addition, they may also be responsible for developing course materials, creating assignments, and grading papers and exams.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A doctoral degree in psychology or a related field (such as counseling or social work)
    • Previous teaching experience at the postsecondary level
    • Strong communication skills and the ability to engage students in discussions
    • Knowledge of current research and trends in psychology
    • Ability to develop course materials and assess student learning effectively

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for psychology teachers, postsecondary in the US in 2021 was $88,470
    • The mean annual wage for psychology teachers, postsecondary in Michigan is $93,950

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