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, understanding of gender and cultural differences, ethical decision making skills, leadership skills and social justice.
Earning a masters in school counseling online can help you to develop these skills so that you can handle a diverse range of situations and provide the guidance students need. The best part is, you'll be gaining your degree without sacrificing the time and income neccesary to enroll in a traditional program. 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.
Online masters in school counseling programs should be properly accredited, ensuring that coursework requirements are being met by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards. This, along with state school counseling certification or licensure, will allow you to become a school counselor at any grade level.
Online Master's in School Counseling Programs
Each online master's in school counseling 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 may 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 a master's in school counseling 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
Resume/CV: Upload a copy of your most recent resume or curriculum vitae as part of your application.
Letters of recommendation: Submit your letters of recommendation. The number of letters required varies with each school. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline.
Test Scores: Mail in copies of your test scores. Many schools require GRE General Test scores or TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students; however, some programs do not require test scores at all.
Receive an education from a school with a strong foundation in social justice, diversity, and advocacy
The curriculum and number of credits required to complete an master’s in school counseling online program vary widely depending on your school and specialization. CACREP, The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs outlines key standards that counseling programs must adhere to in order to maintain their reputation and CACREP accredited status. These standards are based on the inclusion of foundations, contextual dimensions, and practices each being present in a programs curriculum. These are the guidelines for creating a comprehensive school counseling curriculum, one that features a variety of coursework and subject areas. A typical online master in school counseling degree includes courses in:
An introduction to school counseling and ethics
Research methods and data analysis
School Counselor Career Outlook
After earning your online master's in school counseling 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 a master's in school counseling degree can work at the elementary through high school level. For a more in-depth look at educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselor salaries, according to the BLS salary database, check out the list below
Elementary/Secondary School Counselor (Annual Mean Salary - $66,180)
College, University, and Professional School Counselor ( Annual Mean Salary - $51,950)
Individual and Family Services Counselor (Annual Mean Salary - $43,600)
Interested in hearing about school counseling directly from the source? Check out our 8 question interviews with inspirational school counselors: