Are you interested in a career as a school counselor?
If you enjoy helping and guiding children and teens toward success, school counseling may be a rewarding career. It will provide you with the opportunity to serve students in an academic environment in a number of capacities. Not only will you help students navigate social situations and explore career options, you will help them reach academic goals in the classroom by working with teachers, family members and, in some cases, medical or mental health specialists, to help students succeed.
The first step to becoming a school counselor is earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field. A bachelor’s in human development, education or psychology will help prepare you for advanced studies.
What to look for in a graduate program in counseling
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) evaluates educational program content to ensure that it meets or exceeds standards set by the counseling profession and it is one of the best indicators of a quality counseling program. The benefit of CACREAP accreditation to the student, in addition to identifying high-quality graduate programs, is the outcome. Students leave the program prepared to enter the world of professional counseling. Messiah’s school counseling track is CACREP accredited and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
If you’d like to advance your education and career as a school counselor, seek a master’s degree that offers a specialized track or curriculum that fits your goals. A program like Messiah’s will help you prepare for state certification, and a 60-credit, CACREP-accredited program in counseling may also allow you to obtain a counseling license in your state. Messiah’s program has several internships and field experiences built into the curriculum so that you will graduate having worked with diverse student populations in multiple school counseling settings.
How do you envision attending courses for your master’s degree? In a traditional brick and mortar class, online or a combination of the two? Messiah University offers its counseling courses primarily online to fit the schedule of working adults, but also has one-week, on-campus sessions in July and January so students can develop counseling skills in a face-to-face environment. In addition to class format, consider class size. Smaller class sizes, whether online or in person, can ensure more personalized attention from faculty.
Faculty is another consideration when choosing a graduate program in counseling. Messiah’s faculty are experienced counselors and accomplished scholars. Students are advised by full-time school counseling faculty from the beginning to the end of their programs and all school counseling faculty have numerous years of experience in the field. Our school counseling faculties’ professional interests and research are varied and include culturally responsive counseling, inequities in school systems, diversity, inclusion, wellness, career development and counselor education and supervision in the online environment. Researching a program’s faculty will ensure that your education is shaped by professors who have first-hand experience as school counselors and academic interests that align with your own.
Have you considered how your faith informs your education and career? Messiah University is a nationally ranked university that effectively integrates quality academics and Christian faith. Our M.A. in counseling is accredited by CACREP. Messiah University is one of a handful of Christian institutions to have this distinction.