Becoming a guidance counselor is a challenging but rewarding process. When kids at school get into trouble or fight with each other they are usually sent to a small room next to the Principal's office - the Guidance Counselor's room. A career guidance counselor is not only needed for those moments, the more important role of counselors is to help children or young adults make good career decisions for themselves. High school juniors and seniors usually get one-on-one time with their counselors to help them determine their next step after they graduate from secondary school. This confusing situation gives adolescents undue anxiety, so it is very important that they have someone who could help them get through this process and hopefully make a good decision in the end.
With that being said, being a guidance counselor can be a very rewarding experience. You deal with those in need of advice most of the time, and you get to form special bonds with people that they will treasure for a long time. If you want to bring comfort to others, and you like the idea of being the absorber of such stress, anxiety, panic and exasperation, then maybe guidance counseling is a suitable career for you.
- The personality of a person is quite important here. Other than taking a psychology or education-related course in college or university, the prospective career guidance counselor must also be able to relate to a lot of people and understand the people that she will be dealing with - in this case young adults in the mid to late teens. She must have an open mind, and should be sympathetic to those in need. A good sense of humor also helps.
- After finishing a degree in Education, you will probably want to take a Master's Degree in counseling, because this is a requirement in 41 out of the 50 states in the United States of America.
- While looking for a job, try to zero in on the particular crowd that you wish to work with. Before taking the offer from a school, train for the specifics of your job environment. Learn how to deal with students personally by being aware of the variables present, such as socioeconomic conditions, cultural differences and the like.
- Though certification is not a requirement, it would definitely be in your best interest to be certified. There are two boards that offer certification in the United States.
- The National Board of Professional Teaching standards follows a process of two to three years of supervised experience followed by a required written output that is meant to prove that the candidate has sufficient knowledge in dealing with issues regarding personal growth, people from diverse populations, school programs and statistics, as well as theories in counseling.
- The National Board of Counselors on the other hand conducts a forty item multiple choice exam, as well a seven-situation interview meant to check a person's ability to make sound judgments and decisions with only a few moments to spare. Also included is a two to three year period of supervised experience.
These certifications are not required in any state, but most states give benefits to those who seek out these certifications.
Career guidance counseling is a rewarding experience, if only for the thought that you are able to nudge people into the right direction regarding their choice for a lifetime career. And don't forget: it's a good idea to attend online continuing education courses from time to time to ensure that you're up to date with the latest information in your field.