How to Become An Elementary School Counselor
There are many aspects, depending on your state and local requirements, which go into how to become an elementary school counselor. If you have an overall desire to help children deal with the various types of obstacles they encounter at this age, then this may be the career for you.
What Is it Like to Be an Elementary School Counselor?
Elementary school counselors help children ages kindergarten thru or sixth grade develop social skills needed to ensure future success. They counsel young children on how to handle situations at home, bullying at school, or learning disabilities. A significant portion of an elementary school counselor’s job description entails working closely with teacher and parent to devise ways to assist developmentally disadvantaged children.
Learning how to become an elementary school counselor includes understanding the signs of abuse or neglect. Moreover, you will often be the person who makes the call on intervening with a child who has declared his or her intentions of committing suicide. This job is not for you if cannot handle immense stress and horrific stories. You must empathy, compassion, and a keen sense when something is wrong in a child’s world.
What Kind of Schooling Do I Need to Be an Elementary School Counselor?
You must have either a high school diploma or GED before you can go back to college for any type of degree program. The degree programs available for those who are deciding how to become an elementary school counselor consist of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. You may choose the major you will study, such as human services, psychology, or early childhood education.
If you already have an associate’s degree, but choose to go back to college at one of the best online colleges for your bachelor’s degree, you may use your associate’s degree as time served, meaning your bachelor’s degree should only take about two years to complete. In addition, once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you may choose to enter into the master’s degree program in school counseling, which will take about an additional two years to complete.
If you already have your college degree, the final step in how to become an elementary school counselor is that of certification. The certification process is different for each state, although it generally consists of an exam that will show you are in fact a certified school counselor. Some states require some form of continuing education courses that pertain to specific state laws. Other states will only require you to take a series of exams that will qualify you to be certified. If you move, you must contact the state in which you are moving to in order to determine what the process is for you to transfer your certification from one state to another.
Your salary will vary depending on both your education and your experience. If you have no prior experience and a bachelor’s degree, you can expect your salary to start out around $25,000 per year, although with your master’s degree, you can earn up to $40,000 per year to start. Learning how to become an elementary school counselor pays off in more than money. You will change the lives of children who seemed to have no chance at success.