If you want to have an impact on society and really play an active part in creating a smarter future generation, then education is a great industry to get into. More than just being a teacher or a professor, you should focus on being a counselor. Counselors play an important role- not only in the education and the lives of students, but they also have an impact on the educational institute.
They play a role in how education is delivered and the kind of experience that everyone involved in the institute has. For these reasons, becoming a counselor isn’t quick or easy, but it is extremely rewarding. Here is what you need to do to achieve that goal.
An excellent starting point will be a bachelor's degree. This typically takes 4 years and should be on a relevant subject. There are quite a few college-level subjects that will work great for a career in education. You could get a bachelor's degree in education, sociology, psychology, or social work. In some cases, you can get a bachelor's degree in a completely different field such as architecture or finance, and still pursue a career in education.
However, to be a counselor you will need to go through a few more specializations later in your career, and having a relevant bachelor's degree will be very helpful in this regard.
To become a counselor, you also need a master's degree. Many other career paths in the education sector don't require a master's, but to become a counselor, this is an essential step. At the master's level, you will need to focus exclusively on a master's in school counseling. This can be done through a master's in school counseling online or through an on-campus course. This degree typically takes two years but some degrees can take as much as 3 years. The 3-year degrees tend to have 60 credits which means that you will be ready to move directly into specialization after completing the degree. 2-year degrees have 40 credits which is why they take less time.
Later on, you will also have to appear for the National Counselor exam. If you have taken a 60-credit master's degree then you will be eligible for this exam right out of school. In the case that you have completed only 40 credits, then you will need to do a couple of certifications to get the required credit hours.
As part of your master's degree, you will also have to complete a set number of internship hours. These are only counted if they are practiced in a recognized institution and conducted under the supervision of a qualified professional. In most states, you are required to complete 600 hours of internship over the course of 30 weeks. This can vary slightly depending on state regulations, but this is a good minimum to aim for.
Within the 600 hours, some have to be on-campus, even for online degrees, while some have to be in-department hours. In addition to this, you will also be required to complete 100 hours of practice experience. Once you have all the training and education complete, you can proceed to the next step.
With all the requirements complete, you need to appear for the state exams to become a licensed school counselor. This is where it will help a lot to have a bachelor's and a master's degree that focused on topics related to education. The state exam will focus primarily on topics that are related to the education field.
This will include things such as how to perform the role of a school counselor, human growth and development, ethics of counseling, and counseling skills. The nature of the exams can vary slightly from state to state depending on the particular regulations that they have in place but the overall theme stays the same. After clearing these exams, you will be awarded the license to practice as a school counselor.
Before you can apply for a job as a counselor, you will also need certification together with your license to be eligible for work. For this part of the journey, you will need to submit evidence of your education and various test scores and also submit a fee with your state to get the certification. The certification process does vary from state to state, so having advisors in this leg of the journey will help. They can help you formulate the perfect application that will ensure you get your certification as soon as possible. Once you receive the certificate, you can start applying for jobs as a school counselor.