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outlaw18 outlaw18 is offline
 
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Need some advice
Old 09-09-2019, 06:41 PM
 
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So as I am going through my student teaching and graduating in December with my degree in special education, I realized I don’t want to teach my whole life and get into school counseling. I have always had great rapport with any kid I have worked with in any capacity and I enjoy being there as a listener for all kids, no matter if they’re a “problem child” (I enjoy those students the most!) But what steps should I take to become a counselor? I have done a little research and most require internships and practicum’s. Any advice would be great!


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Becoming a counselor
Old 09-09-2019, 07:11 PM
 
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Google all the information you need. I expect you need to go back to school to get a psychology degree.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:34 PM
 
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Check your state department of Ed website for the certification requirements. They vary by state. Here you could add a masters in counseling to your sped degree and get counseling. One local college runs summer programs and you can do student counseling experience in the summer.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:29 PM
 
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You'd need a separate degree for that. My best friend did her MA in counseling and I believe it was a 3.5 year program that you could complete while still teaching full time (presumably it would be a bit shorter if you were going to school full time rather than also working).

I would also consider the job market. She thought it was a good move because her very rural school had trouble finding a replacement when their counselor retired. That turned out to be a pretty unique situation. Thankfully she did finally get a school counseling job this year, but it took 3 years to find the position after she graduated from her MA program.

We're in different states, but just from my own experience, I see a LOT of people gravitating toward jobs that will allow them to be outside of the classroom. I really wanted to be a reading interventionist and looked for a few years, but there was almost nothing to apply for because so many classroom teachers are trying to transfer into something like that, and the positions end up being filled internally. I'm very glad I didn't spend time/money getting a separate degree since it didn't work out.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:54 PM
 
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I ran into someone from my school who did a two year full time program to get her counseling degree, including two different school placements. She was complaining about the lack of jobs and everything after she had gone to the big teacher job fair for my state. A lot of schools make that a part time position when doing budget cuts as well.


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Old 09-10-2019, 01:08 AM
 
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Others have given good advice about additional schooling and job availability. I'd like to suggest that you also research school counseling and learn exactly what counselors do. You mention being a listener for students, but in my (non-counselor) experience, that's probably the least of what they do. At the schools where I've worked, counselors also have been involved in admin stuff, lots of paperwork and class scheduling, interventions, helping to arrange assessments, etc. It's not just being a friend to students. Being informed and realistic about the job will help you decide whether the extra education and certification are worth it. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:58 AM
 
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Quote:
I'd like to suggest that you also research school counseling and learn exactly what counselors do. You mention being a listener for students, but in my (non-counselor) experience, that's probably the least of what they do.
Yes, this is important to keep in mind as well. Even on the elementary level, our school counselor has a lot of other "duties" that aren't just listening and helping kids. I think that's even more true in the upper levels. It's a shame because I think it's so needed!


You may find that school counseling is still what you want to do. If not, you may find you want to become a mental health counselor (usually and LMFT or LCSW) and specialize in children, though that would definitely involve more schooling and you wouldn't be working in schools most likely.

Last edited by TeacherPK6; 09-10-2019 at 02:58 AM.. Reason: Fixing spacing
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:31 AM
 
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School counselors nowadays pretty much do everything but "counsel." It sounds like you may want to research what a school social worker does as opposed to a guidance counselor. Either way, I'd put a few years in in the classroom before getting another degree. You will be too expensive to hire with a grad degree with no classroom experience.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:33 AM
 
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In my district school counselor positions are itinerant and usually .75 FTE.
You have to decide whether the extra time and expense are worth it for you.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:28 AM
 
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I don’t think you need a whole new BA in psychology, but you’d definitely need a masters in school counseling.

I am a SPED teacher. Sometimes I wish I had gone into school counseling. Have you thought about being a resource teacher? There are a lot of similarities between being a resource teacher and a counselor, IMO. I love resource. Self contained special education was a huge burnout for me. Handling multiple severe and aggressive behaviors all day is very taxing.


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school counseling
Old 09-10-2019, 01:26 PM
 
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I am a school psych and I probably did more counseling at the high school level than the school counselor did. Granted, I also did a ton of SPED assessments, but the counselors were often too swamped with dealing with schedules, making sure kids were on track to graduate, etc to actually sit down and counsel. Just something to think about. Best of luck!
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:55 PM
 
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I know I already replied, but to add on to what others are saying, finding out more about the actual job would be a good start too. I'd see if there are people you could shadow or at least talk to. At my elementary school, our school counselor tries to do things like lunch bunches and friendship groups, but in reality 95% of her day is spent dealing with kids who are melting down/tantrumming and/or irate parents. She works very hard, but classroom teachers are often resentful because she's put in a position of having to tell them ideas for the child in the classroom/developing behavior plans, and they feel that dealing with the behaviors should be "her job." Which it is, but there are 550 kids and one counselor. There is only so much she can do.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:16 PM
 
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A lot of universities in my state have a grad program for school counseling. I suspect many people who get it do the psychology undergrad route, but all but 2 of the counselors I worked with were teachers first. Two were middle school/high school English teachers and 1 was elementary. I'm not sure about 1 at all, but I know the other one was a communications undergraduate and then got her masters in school counseling.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:12 AM
 
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I think you've gotten some great advice. Getting a new degree is a huge commitment of time and money, however, so I recommend you think seriously about if this is a commitment is what you want to do.
I'll be honest and say that school counseling jobs are (a) difficult to find and (b) often do not involve listening to and helping children, sadly. I know I have more opportunities to do that than the counselors have.
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School psych
Old 09-11-2019, 09:39 AM
 
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She does SO much testing she has no time for counseling. Has to cancel her groups constantly to fit in more testing...
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