Master of Education in School Counseling
USC delivers a 21st-century education. Their Master of Education in School Counseling marshalls the most relevant research coupled with the skills to understand the overall well-being of the child. The program is housed in the USC Rossier School of Education and is guided by the American School Counselor Association’s National Model for School Counseling. A USC degree includes skills associated with restorative justice, including “…facilitating behavior management through accountability and promoting just treatment for all individuals,” as well as trauma-informed practice.
The program structure is consistent with other schools in offering a core of classes, followed by a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. You can choose to complete the 49 units either full- or part-time in two or three years. The program prepares you for the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPS) with a specialization in School Counseling (SC). Please note that you do not need educational experience to apply to the program and no GRE is required.
About the University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is well-known and respected for research and academic prowess. USC’s economic impact is over $8 billion every year and this year there were a record number of applications for new freshmen. The most popular majors at USC are Business, Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, and Engineering.
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Percentage of Graduate Students: 48.4%
- Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
- Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
What does a school counselor do?
School counselors work in public, private, and charter school settings. Work environments vary, but you generally work on a team with other teachers and administration to help educate children. Though school counselors don’t teach classes, their work has a lot of overlap because the young people counseled interface with teachers and students in class as well as administration, staff, and the community. A basic job description for a school counselor is a school employee tasked with working with children to achieve their academic and career goals and overcome challenges along the way. This equates to tasks such as helping with attendance issues, protecting students records, advocating for students in meetings, working with teachers on academic plans, doing individual and group counseling with students, and more.
Counselors can be licensed to work K-12 or only elementary, middle, or high school grades. One thing you can toss out of your head is the image of the school counselor hanging out in their office with an occasional student wandering in to pick up a college application. Today’s world and students have changed. Though a school counselor may not do as much trauma intervention, addiction counseling, etc.—the work of a professional counselor—you can expect to encounter these problems among students.
The proliferation of learning disabilities, better diagnosis of behavioral problems such as ADHD, the breakdown of families, abuse, bullying, and many more problems, students need guidance, help, and sometimes intervention. This is where a professional training comes in, and truly, is absolutely necessary. Even more primary that training though is a heart for helping young people. A desire to work with them to help them succeed academically, emotionally, socially, and personally.
What is an online masters in educational counseling?
There are several ways to approach this question. Firstly, and most simply, an online masters in educational counseling is a graduate degree for those seeking to enter the career of a school counselor. There are different kinds of master’s degrees that may affect your choice. The Master of Arts, Master’s in Education, and Master of Science are three that are common. An MA differs from an MS in that it is more practically-focused whereas an MS includes specific research components. MA programs are generally geared to the liberal arts as opposed to the sciences with MS degrees. Also, an MA is usually a terminal degree.
MEd programs are essentially MAs but are created and guided by practical experiences for professional activity. In the case of a school counseling program, most are MA or MEd degrees. In terms of curriculum, there is a significant similarity. This is mainly due to so many being guided by national accrediting agencies such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
In general, you’ll receive an education in a core consisting of fundamental theory, assessment, skills of individual and group counseling, multiculturalism, and professional ethics.
Programs then move into more advanced coursework dealing with specific issues such as trauma counseling and working with families. Practicums and fieldwork follow and usually ranging from 600-800 hours. Some programs include a capstone project, comprehensive exam, or research paper. In general, you can expect to be working for two-plus years and completing 45-60 credits.
Who are online masters in school counseling programs designed for? What are the admission requirements?
Every school that is now in the business of offering online programs seeks to provide a way for working professionals and family men and women. The idea is that an online degree, whether delivered asynchronously or synchronously, allows one to keep earning a living on the same basic schedule as you earn your degree. Be aware that some programs do require some on-campus work that will impact your schedule and budget. For example, it’s not uncommon to for schools that are not offering a 100-percent online option to require an orientation or a few weekends. These can also be a huge advantage as they allow you to meet others in your cohort, professors, and professionals. This networking really can get you your first job. It’s not what you know, but who you know, right!?
In terms of admission requirements, we can speak to generalities. A bachelor’s degree, minimum GPA, and the basic package of an application fee, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose is standard. Differences to be aware of include on-campus interviews, the type of bachelor’s degree, namely if an education degree is required, a teacher’s license, and if GRE scores are required. If GRE scores are required lookout for minimum scores and also possible waivers. The common waiver is if based on GPA. If you are currently a teacher and seeking to move into school counseling there are programs designed for you. These are usually less total credits, and hence, less time and money.
Is an online masters in school counseling worth it?
Whether or not a degree is worth depends on how much it costs in terms of money and time, in other words, investment, and the value it produces, namely your salary and job satisfaction. Though there are objective data points to consider, there is also the subjective value of each individual. This particular topic is complicated and can even be controversial. To address the objective values in terms of money and ROI, we offer some general thoughts and two concrete ideas from Forbes magazine. Let’s start with the cost or what you spend. The average cost on our list is $585 per credit. The low is $265 and the high is $1928 per credit. This equates to a total tuition cost range, using an average 40 credit degree, of $24,000 to $78,000.
What you spend can be reduced by financial aid such as grants and scholarships, and even some graduate assistantships. On the flip side, undergraduate debt can also factor into your decision. Now let’s look at the return. The average school counselor salary varies from state to state but ranges from $45,000 to $65,000. Payscale reports that the average overall salary is $49,837 and the BLS reports $56,310. With this general information in mind, a school counseling degree can be worth it. Forbes has an excellent article explaining various mathematical methods to help calculate if a graduate degree is worth it.
Two easy ways are as follows: “If your total undergraduate debt and grad school debt are higher than your first-year salary out of graduate school, then the cost of your total education is too high. Another good rule of thumb [is that] you should borrow no more than you can repay in 10 years or than you can repay before you retire.”
What is the job outlook and salary for a school counselor?
A master’s in school counseling program prepares you specifically for working in public, private, or charter schools. Currently, there is a growing need for more school counselors, especially ones that are highly skilled and personally motivated to help young people in a holistic manner. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports rising demand for school counselors K-12 and in universities. “Employment of school and career counselors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.”
In addition to current counselors reaching retirement age, the demand is coming from enrollment growth and simply the need. Today’s societal trends, especially with the increase in abuse, neglect, divorce, suicide, ADHD, and a slew of other problems, our schools need to add a team player who can help.
This is where school counselors come in. They intervene, advocate, work with staff, protect records, create plans, and more, all to help young people academically, socially, emotionally, and personally.
Now let’s look specifically at the salary. Salaries vary greatly from state to state, but the average salary is $56,000 according to the BLS. According to Payscale “Employees with School Counselor in their job title in Houston, Texas earn an average of 22.2% more than the national average. These job titles also find higher than average salaries in New York, New York (17.0% more) and Los Angeles, California (13.2% more). The lowest salaries can be found in Indianapolis, Indiana (17.8% less) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2.9% less).” The lowest 10 percent earns $33,000 and the highest 10 percent earns $94,000.
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