I'm a school counselor. What's your superpower?
It indeed is a superpower to be able to guide young adults on their career paths and important life decisions. This article is not so much about how to become a counselor, but rather understanding the nuances of the role and the outcomes that you can provide. You can become a counselor and still not know what to do with it if you do not know your ultimate goal or superpowers!
Finding a job in schools or college as a career counselor may not be your first choice. In fact, this doesn't strike people as the first possible career option. And yet, there is such a huge demand for the position of a school and career counselor across the whole world. You can think of the counseling community as an important network that prevents students from dropping out of school, decreasing the unemployment rate in society as well as helping families dealing with difficult situations. While there are very few takers for the role, no one can deny the importance of career planning and emotional support as important tools to build social skills in young adults.
Using a few tips for a career counselor, that are proven to be effective in both doing and landing the job, you may think of exploring this domain that is intricately linked to the human mind. If you have a passion for psychology and related interventions, then becoming a school and career counselor could be a great career choice.
What is the Right Education Path for School and Career Counselors?
As a first step to becoming a counselor, you have to understand what the role demands. In order to practice as a counselor in India, you have to get certified from any reputed career counseling program. Career Counseling Psychology Association of India is the apex body that provides this kind of accreditation and recognition. Get it done to add value to your portfolio and establish a label for yourself as a recognized psychologist.
To kickstart your journey as a counselor, first, understand the scope and prospects of counseling. The domain offers many pathways and diverse branches. You have to get the right degree and certification to be able to unleash your true potential and hidden talents as a psychologist or counselor. You can work in schools or with state government bodies or national career advisory centers. Your job could include designing school curriculum, devising education initiatives to include counseling as a mandatory practice. With experience and advanced specializations, you will have the option to change your domain over time.
What Qualities Should the Best Career Counselors Possess?
If you are trying to understand how to become a counselor, then here are some tips for a career counselor job. If you are torn between the roles of career guidance for students and professional counseling for a client base, then it means that you are making progress. The basic skills that you need to embark on this journey are to have a sound understanding of career development and career planning. In addition to that, you need to be warm, attentive, and clear in your approach.
Your skills as a counselor encompass a variety of things including relationships, health, child psychology, career choices, and many more. Great interpersonal skills form the cornerstone of this job. If you are a child psychologist, being accessible is another important quality to possess. This often determines the future of a troubled child.
You can also consider becoming a career coach for students and working professionals. For professionals, your job will be to help make the right choices while making a career switch. With students, you can help them with their university application or job skills. Try to capitalize on the momentum gained in the education domain, thanks to digital media. It can help you access the job market and help you develop the qualities required to be good at counseling.
How to Become A Career Counselor- A Step-by-Step Guide
Your clients are the biggest testament to your work as a counselor. You must choose your specialization very carefully while choosing between a school and career counselor role. If you have a background in psychology and a fair bit of experience in the domain of coaching and counseling, you can explore more specialized roles and careers as you advance through your life.
You can become an educational psychologist and work in schools to provide emotional, personal, and behavioral support to students. The main tasks of an educational psychologist are,
- Teach stress-relief methods to deal with anxiety.
- Support students in dealing with school-related stress.
- Help students talk about conflicts at home.
- Collaborate with teachers, parents, and social workers to achieve the best outcomes for the students.
This requires an undergraduate degree in Psychology and relevant work experience. Note that volunteering experiences also count a great deal in this type of role and for a master's degree application. This academic background is critical in boosting your job application. Specializations in child psychology and post-secondary training also add to your portfolio. You can volunteer in community centers to assist with the emotional needs of kids or at any university or state-run center.
A degree in Psychology can also be useful in becoming a school and career counselor for young adults. The main work in this role relates to administrative work mainly. You have to manage end to end resource allocation for students with relation to their psychological and mental health needs.
A career counselor has to assist in career assessment, career guidance workshops, or profile analysis. Additionally, you will be involved in:
- Career path identification.
- Student profile matching.
- Organizing a university or school career fair.
- Consulting online on career advice for private companies.
- Providing student assessment vis-a-vis job prospects.
A career counselor is not required to have a bachelor's degree in Psychology, although it is good to have a sound understanding of the subject. Considering the job market is highly competitive, a relevant degree, coupled with the right amount of experience is sure to give you an edge.
Career consulting is another area of specialization where you have to help job seekers and working professionals transition into a new job is called a career consultant. As a consultant, you are responsible for,
- Creating job strategies.
- Build the interview skills of individuals.
- Draft job-worthy resumes and cover letters.
- Act as a conduit between the job seeker and recruiter.
Follow the right steps to establish a thriving career in counseling.
Easy Ways to Get Access to School or Career Counselor Jobs
As a professional school counselor, you will be tasked with many administrative and non-administrative duties. Ensure that your job search is in alignment with your education degree, your accreditations, and the skillset you possess. This will help narrow down the search and prepare relevant job search strategies. You can also work on developing your interview skills, especially if you are entering the job market for the first time as a fresher. Make a career plan for yourself as you would for your students.
Having a bachelor's degree in either Psychology or Social Work is an advantage for the role of a school counselor. Additionally, you can develop your vocational skills that are required in any professional counseling role. The counseling job market is vast and many diverse opportunities await you as a professional counselor.
The most common jobs in the counseling domain include working with career management services in schools or colleges or a company that specializes in connecting people with employment opportunities, performing career assessments, or offering in-person or online resources for career information. You can also choose to become a career consultant and help people transition into new roles in their careers. You should have the knack to handle a large number of clients on a daily basis. Working at a university career center is another option you can explore as a counselor.
Good counselors lack no clients. - William Shakespeare.
Good counseling comes with experience and the passion and intent to change lives positively. If you think you have it in you to inspire others, then become a counselor to change lives!