School and career counselors help high school and college students solve problems and plan for the future through one-on-one and small group sessions. They also often collaborate with teachers and administrators. Most of these professionals work at primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for school counselors to grow 8% between 2019 and 2029, which significantly exceeds the projected growth rate for all professions. In 2019, school counselors earned a median annual salary of $57,040, according to the BLS. Workers with experience and those who live in large cities make more.
Typical admission requirements for a master’s program in school counseling include a bachelor’s degree, a minimum GPA, and recommendation letters. Some programs accept transfer credit from accredited colleges and universities. Other programs limit enrollment to licensed educators with teaching experience.
What Are the Goals of a School Counseling Degree?
A graduate school counseling program’s curriculum spans 2-3 years and emphasizes human development, counseling theories, and legal and ethical issues. Prospective students choose from three degree types: a master of arts (MA), a master of science (MS), or a master of education (M.Ed.). M.Ed. degrees train licensed counselors with professional experience for leadership positions within their school or organization. MS and MA degrees prepare learners for initial licensure.
Graduates’ career path also depends on their specialization. Many top school counseling programs confer a master’s in counseling with a specialization in school counseling. This type of program balances counseling fundamentals with the skills learners need to work with young adults.
Why Get a School Counseling Degree?
The school counseling profession conveys multiple professional and personal benefits. See below for just a few reasons why a school counseling degree can lead to a fulfilling career.
- Management training
- Master’s students gain management skills through their training in organizational behavior, healthcare leadership, and healthcare management. This management training prepares graduates for diverse leadership roles.
- Career Advancement
- A master’s degree in healthcare administration qualifies graduates for many supervisory roles, including healthcare executive, health information manager, and healthcare financial manager.
- During a master’s program, healthcare administration students can specialize their training through courses on topics like financial management, informatics, and human resources management. This training prepares graduates for specialized career opportunities.
- Increased Earning Potential
- For most professionals, moving into supervisory roles will increase their earning potential. For instance, healthcare executives earn above-average salaries, with a median pay of more than $100,000 per year.
- Strong Projected Job Growth
- The BLS projects much-faster-than-average job growth for healthcare administrators between 2019-2029.
What Are the Requirements for a School Counseling Degree?
Competitive master’s degree in school counseling applicants possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Other typical application requirements include submitting recommendation letters from professors, responding to a prompt in a short essay, and providing a resume. University admissions counselors answer applicants’ questions regarding requirements and deadlines.
Like students in other graduate programs, school counseling degree-seekers remain in good academic standing by passing all courses. They also complete practicums and internships. These experiences allow degree-seekers to hone counseling skills in a school setting. Other graduation requirements may include writing a thesis and presenting to faculty members.
How Much Will a School Counseling Master’s Program Cost?
The cost of a school counseling master’s program varies depending on the institution and students’ state residency. In-state learners at public institutions typically pay the lowest tuition. However, private institutions charge the same rates regardless of residency.
In general, students pursuing a school counseling graduate program can expect to pay between $14,000 and $100,000 in total tuition. Other common costs include school fees, textbooks, and supplies. Graduate students also need to budget for typical living expenses like food, housing, utilities, and transportation.
Several types of financial aid can help you pay for college and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Graduate students should prioritize grants, scholarships, fellowships, and employer tuition assistance, if available. Unlike loans, these aid sources provide financial support without an obligation to repay funds after graduation.
Choosing the Right School Counseling Graduate Program
Several factors that may impact your counseling master’s program selection include:
- Accreditation: Make sure to choose a regionally or nationally accredited school. Accreditation can impact your eligibility for financial aid, the curriculum quality, and future employment options. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs provides programmatic accreditation for school counseling master’s programs.
- Culminating Requirements: Investigate each prospective program’s culminating requirement to find one that matches your goals and learning style. Schools typically require a thesis, fieldwork experience, or an internship to finish the degree.
- Program Format: Choose a program with a learning format that fits your needs. Many school counseling graduate programs offer online courses to accommodate a working educator’s schedule.
- Future Education Opportunities: If you plan to continue your education after graduate school, consider choosing an institution that offers a doctorate in school counseling. Earning multiple degrees at the same school can allow you to make lasting professional connections.
What can you do with a degree in school counseling?
Is a degree in school counseling worth it?
What is the difference between a guidance counselor and a school counselor?
How much do school counselors earn?
Best Master’s in School Counseling Degrees 2021
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