Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance
School counselors have the unique opportunity to help students in all areas of their growth and development. Guiding students through personal, social, emotional and even future career development, school counselors are essential members of the education team. They work to ensure that each student fulfills his or her potential. To accomplish all of this, school counselors must possess a variety of skills,including patience, sensitivity to gender and cultural differences, ethical decision making skills, leadership skills, and social justice.
A master’s program in school counseling helps you develop these skills so that you can handle a diverse range of situations and provide the guidance students need. A successful school counselor works with the other members of a school system to improve the quality of education as a whole for all students.
A Master of Education in School Counseling (MSC) from an accredited institution is essential to becoming a practicing school counselor. This, along with state certification, will allow you to become a school counselor at any grade level.
Each MSC program has its own set of prerequisites, so you should contact your accredited institution for detailed information regarding its policies. Depending on your school, you will be required to submit some or all of the following:
- Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of the accredited institution of your choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
- Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to an MSC program.
- Transcripts: Request transcripts in advance of the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
- Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
- Your main academic and personal interests
- Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
- Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
- Why you wish to study at the university
- Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
The curriculum and number of credits required to complete a master’s program vary widely depending on your school and specialization. However, a typical MSC program includes courses in:
- An introduction to school counseling and ethics
- Student affairs
- Research methods and data analysis
- Field experience
After earning your MSC degree, the next step is to get licensed. This certification will enable you to officially work in the field of your choice. Every state has its own licensure requirements to become a school counselor. The median annual salary for a school counselor was $53,370 in 2015. Licensed school counselors with an MSC degree can work at the elementary through high school level.