What Does A Guidance Counselor Do?

Guidance counselors are school professionals who specialize in helping students make decisions about their personal and educational needs while providing information about colleges and other life choices.

To become a guidance counselor, each state has certain educational requirements. Most states require a college degree plus one to two years of special study in guidance counseling. Some states may also require teaching experience. Personal characteristics are just as important as educational requirements when it comes to being a guidance counselor. You must have the capablities of being caring, patient, and open-minded, and to believe that everyone can change. One of a guidance counselor's main goals is to help students understand themselves so they can develop into adults who are capable of living productive and fulfilling lives.

Guidance counseling started about 100 years ago with caring teachers that helped their students plan for their future. By the early 1900's, students had more occupational and educational options so guidance counseling became a profession. Today's students opportunities are more varied but so are the problems and concerns of our society. Changes in our society seem to happen rapidly and the amount of new information people are expected to absorb seems to be growing just as quickly. All of these factors emphasize the need for trained guidance counselors to help students learn to lead meaningful and statisfying lifes.

Guidance counselors do so many things and provide such valuable information for a student who might be struggling with life choices. They can counsel students individually or sometimes in small groups. A guidance counselors job can range from leading a classroom discussion to administering placement tests. They also meet with students, parents, teachers, and other members of the school staff to discuss important issues. They also help students arrange their classroom schedules.



In elementary schools, guidance counselors try to anticipate problems that may occur in students lives and then try to prevent these problems from happening. Some elementary school counselors can work with the students in the gifted learning program or they can sometimes work with students with learning disabilities who have special needs. Counselors can work with a team that may include the school principal, a psychologist, an evaluator, a social worker, special-education teachers, and parents. At all times elementary school counselors work closely with parents, teachers, and school administrators.

In junior high schools, guidance counselors work with other school professionals to help identify the developmental and learning needs of students. Students at these grade levels experience many physical and emotional changes that can affect how they view themselves and how they perform in school.

At the high school level, guidance counselors are concerned with educational and career guidance while they also focus on the personal development of the students. High school counselors help students choose school courses and activities that relate to their interests which will prepare them for life after high school. They also show students how to apply for college or for job-training programs. Counselors can provide information on almost any topic and then help a student put this information to use in choosing the best future career path. Whether it is college or job training programs, counselors provide information for students who want to continue their education. They also have information about entrance requirements, financial-aid programs, and entry-level job opportunities in the areas where they might be attending school. Sometimes counselors work in drug and alcohol abuse programs as well as in the programs for high school dropouts or teenage parents.

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