How to Become a School Counselor: 5 Crucial Steps to Get You Started

Knowing how to become a school counselor can be an arduous task as the requirements and application process differ from state to state. However, knowing the necessary steps is all worth it in the end since being a school counselor is considered by many as one of the most rewarding careers today. It may also open the doors for higher positions.


School counselors may pursue a career as an educator or an administrator. They may also become mentors for students who are currently taking up School Counseling as a course. This is why it is important to know these 5 essential steps on how to become a student counselor:


  1. Secure a scholarship or loan

In order for qualified students to work as school counselors at higher educational institutions, they first must have a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate in counseling. This means that they may have to attend school for more than 10 years. Considering that the tuition fee for the Master’s and Doctorate programs are higher than the Bachelor’s degree, it helps to apply for a scholarship or loan ahead of time.


When choosing a school where you’ll take your Master’s or Doctorate in Counseling, it is best to apply at institutions accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. You can then inquire at the financial aid offices of these colleges or universities to learn more about student loan application requirements and procedures.


Grants and scholarships are also given to students who are members of an underrepresented ethnic or racial group in the form of a Social Justice Scholarship. Candidates may be qualified as long as they meet certain criteria such as solid background in community service.


Before applying for a loan or scholarship, it is also best to prepare the necessary documents beforehand to ensure faster and easier processing. These documents include your Social Security card, driver’s license, latest bank statements, the Federal Income Tax Return of your parents (if you are a dependent) and their W-2 forms.


how to become a school counselor


  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling

Undergraduates should take courses that focus on specific teaching and interpersonal skills such as advocacy, leadership, multiculturalism and use of technology.


  1. Take a Master’s Degree in Counseling

People who have finished a course in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Psychology or Education are highly preferred for this program. Educational institutions usually accept students who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Getting a Master’s Degree in School Counseling is actually mandatory in certain states before any graduate can apply to any educational institution in the area. Some states even require students to undergo a mentoring program during this step before they can become eligible for employment.


  1. Get a Doctorate in Counseling

More often than not, educational institutions that offer this program require their students to attain a 600-hour internship and 100-hour practicum in addition to the internships and practicum that they have already attended for their Master’s and Bachelor’s degree.


  1. Secure a licensure or certificate

Application procedures for a license differ from state to state. Some require students to have a teaching background or a strong knowledge in the current educational situation of the country while others require a criminal background check. Most states however, require those who are applying for a license or certificate to take advanced courses that include individual and group counseling, career development, supervised practicum and internship as well as human growth and development.


If you are already a licensed teacher, it is best to check with the accreditation body of the state where you are planning to apply since certain bodies offer different options for licensed teachers. Some accreditation bodies require applicants to have at least two years of teaching experience while others do not.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment