A Masters in School Counseling is a degree that will prepare you to work with students as they deal with emotional, behavioral and psychological problems. School counseling is a unique career path which blends a deep knowledge of learning and development with a practical set of techniques and tools to alter a student’s behavior when needed. You’ll also have a role in advising kids on their future learning decisions and their career path.
This can be a very rewarding career choice, as you’ll be having a clear and measurable impact on the lives of the kids you come in contact with. School counselors are in demand at all levels of education from elementary through to university level.
The Best Masters in School Counseling Programs
There are few graduate schools that have managed to craft a better Masters in School Counseling program than Columbia in New York. The Columbia Teachers’ College Masters of Education in Psychological Counseling is one of the hardest degrees to attain in this field, but it’s well worth the effort and investment for the quality of the education you’ll receive. School counseling is a specialized field of study within this program.
The University of Florida is another top school when it comes to school counseling. They offer a joint degree which is a combination of a Masters in Education and an Education Specialist, which allows for a specialization in school counseling and guidance. This program teaches you how to fill a number of important roles for students, such as helping them formulate long-term plans, helping them develop critical thinking and decision making skills, and helping them communicate better.
Online Masters in School Counseling
Liberty University offers an online Masters in Education program which allows for specialization in school counseling. This degree is unique in the sense that many parts of it can be done either online or at the university itself – the choice is yours. However, some physical study time on-campus is needed to pass this course so it’s relatively limited to those who live far away from the school (it’s based in Virginia).
Capella University has a comprehensive online Masters in School Counseling which is completely online, but be aware that this along with any other 100% online counseling qualification is not enough to allow you to practice legally. You still have to organize your license to practice separately. Still, though, the Capella course is excellent in terms of content and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to do a good job for the students at your school.
Last but not least, University of Massachusetts Online also has a Masters of Education in School Counseling which counts as being amongst the best. This program is particularly good if your current educational background is in a social science other than education and you’re looking to make the transition to school counseling as smoothly as possible.
Masters in School Counseling Jobs
First thing’s first: before you go enrolling in a school counseling graduate program, it’s worth knowing that there’s a lot of competition out their for school counseling and guidance jobs. Getting a job in this field is quite difficult, even with a Masters, and depending on what part of the country you live in you may have to be prepared to take a stop-gap job after you graduate until a school counseling role opens up for you. Some guidance counselors find themselves stuck for long periods moving from one leave replacement to another without being able to find a permanent position.
Now, that said, aside from school counseling itself there are a few other jobs you can get with this degree. Substance abuse counseling is one area that may be open to you. Unemployment counseling is another – helping people with their problems as they look for work. But generally speaking, these jobs are few and far between and you may still end up having a hard time finding work straight away.
Masters in School Counseling Salary
Starting salary for someone with a Masters in School Counseling is typically around $30,000, with $50,000 being about the norm after a few years of experience.