What is a Guidance Counselor?

A guidance counselor usually works at a school and is an integral part of the administration. You would take care of your students. Essentially, you would be the listening ear, the support system, and the cheerleader for all of the students that you were responsible for. Guidance counselors play a large role in their students’ lives. You would need to know all about the school and district requirements for students to earn a degree. You would help them construct schedules, plan their futures, and even assist them through some of their hardships. Psychology plays a significant role in this job because you would have to take care of the students in a lot of ways, such as behaviorally and developmentally. You would have to know what steps the families needed to take in order to help that student succeed, and a background in psychology would show you the cues to look for, and give you insight on how to move forward.

Responsibilities

Your responsibilities as a guidance counselor are critical to the students you would serve. You would have to monitor children during class and playtime activities to make sure that every student was on the level that they needed to be. If any student were falling behind or could clearly benefit from special services, you would be responsible for coordinating those services or providing resources to the family. You would have to make sure that you kept diligent records on all of the students you were responsible for, this is required by law and taken very seriously at the school and governmental levels. You would also work directly with students in a variety of ways, particularly in the middle and high school levels. You would need to counsel students and listen to them as they vented about personal, social, and academic issues. You would need to provide mental health resources to students who needed it, and additional resources like financial help, and college planning. You would also need to help students evaluate their talents, passions, and goals to aid in creating a college/career plan for them.

Salary Information

The salary for this particular job ranges from as low as $35,000 per year, up to an impressive $79,000 per year. The median is $49,559 as reported by Payscale. Geographic location is the largest factor in higher pay for guidance counselors in America, and experience is a close second. Many counties or schools that guidance counselors work for offer bonuses as well, which aren’t factored in to the salary.

Qualifications

In order to do this particular job, you will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. You can pursue this career with a B.S. or a B.A.; however, a B.A. is a more likely option for this career. For the Bachelor of Arts degree, you would take fewer courses to fulfill your major-field requirements, as well as a selection of classes in a few fields outside of your major. For the Bachelor of Arts degree, you’d need to take fewer courses to satisfy your major-field requirements, and you would have a variety of classes outside of that major. For the Bachelor of Science degree, you’d have a larger concentration in psychology and more technical aspects of it, alongside a number of courses in math and science, and barely any classes outside of your field.