6 Steps To Become a College Counselor

High school students need enlightenment and guidance when applying for college. They need counseling on what their strengths and weaknesses are, so they don’t make the wrong choices that could lead to regrets in the long term. This is why college counselors are highly relevant. They help students know what colleges are best for them and what courses they should study.
Similarly, college counselors work in colleges, where they work in admissions, career services, academic counseling, placement counseling, or specialized counseling units. Depending on their specific roles, college counselors working in colleges provide individualized attention to students who are in the midst of making important decisions about courses, jobs, financial aids, graduation, or other matters.
College counselors also provide fundamental guidance to students experiencing academic difficulties or challenging life circumstances. They use their power of observation to benefit the students they counsel and to make significant positive changes in students’ academic and personal lives.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college counselors in the United States earned a median salary of $53,380 in 2010. Estimates show that college counselors working in high schools earn more than those employed by colleges and universities do. This is because high school college counselors are often school psychologists with advanced psychology degrees and perform double duty as college counselors.
If you love to help people solve their personal problems and bring about positive changes in their lives, then becoming a college counselor is one of the best career options for you. While working as a career counselor is usually highly rewarding, it takes a couple of years to become one. Would you like to become a college counselor? Here are the steps you should follow:

How to Become a College Counselor for High School Students

1. Obtain a relevant degree
Most employers require that college counselors hold a bachelor’s degree, but most prefer candidates who have obtained a master’s degree. While the specific type of bachelor’s degree is not important, most college counselors hold a degree in psychology.
Counselors who hold a degree in another field might enjoy the advantage of counseling students who are pursuing advanced education or a career that resembles the counselor’s own discipline. For example, a college counselor who holds a degree in economics may counsel students of business, accounting, and other related disciplines. For college counselors who provide psychological services, an advanced degree such as a master’s, PhD, or PsyD is usually a must.
2. Build the required skills and qualities
As a college counselor, you will need to develop a rapport with students, so they will feel comfortable speaking freely about their goals, aspirations, and challenges. To develop this bond with students, you need to have excellent communication skills. You need to be a good listener in order to understand students’ problems and concerns. And you need strong speaking skills to deliver a clear message and advice. You also need to be patient and compassionate, as most of the students you will be meeting are facing stressful situations.
3. Get the necessary training
Some college counselors receive on-the-job training from their employing institution through orientation and continuing education seminars. If you intend to provide psychological care, you must complete a graduate training in psychology, which usually entails a minimum of two years of study and practice under the supervision of a licensed professional.
4. Obtain the necessary licensing and certification
If you are not planning to provide formal psychological care, then you don’t need any professional certification, but you may want to obtain licensure from any professional body for college counselors. But if you will be providing psychological care, you must have a license or permit to do so.
5. Find employment
Once you have bagged the necessary qualifications and gathered enough practical training, you can start hunting for a job in any high school or college of your choice. While the jobs may not be readily available, leveraging the power of networking can help you get a good job within a short period.
6. Seek opportunities for advancement
As a college counselor, you need to make career advancements by obtaining higher levels of responsibility within the institution you are working in. Many counselors begin by providing temporary or part-time services, and their role then changes over time into a supervisory or high administrative position within the school.
Now you know the steps involved in becoming a college counselor. If you follow the steps explained in this post, you will be on your way to becoming a highly successful college counselor who will not only impact students’ lives positively, but will also make good money.

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