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Becoming a school counselor is a challenging yet rewarding career, one in which you can help a huge range of people. If you love working with people and want to help care for and support them, then training to become a school counselor could be a great career choice for you. An online masters in school counseling can help you achieve this, providing you with great experiences, skills and knowledge to get you ready to take the licensed professional counseling exam and begin working in the field. Whether you are already on your way to becoming a school counselor, or are just at the beginning of your educational journey, here are a couple of things to consider when taking a masters in school counseling, including possible career outcomes and the personal skills you may need to be successful in this role.

School counseling

What is it?

An online masters in school counseling is an MSED, or master of science in education school counseling, which can be studied online to make it a flexible study option. It is designed to prepare you to become a licensed school counselor, through a combination of distance learning and in-field practice. There are plenty of engaging modules, including abnormal psychology, group counseling and multicultural counseling, as well as internships and residencies. There is also no GRE/GMAT required for admission, and graduates go on to support school students of all ages in settings such as colleges, universities and specialized education facilities. When becoming a school counselor, many roles require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, some states may require you to hold a masters. An online masters in school counseling can help to make you stand out in a pool of applicants, give you valuable skills, knowledge and contacts within the field, and propel you towards your dream job.

What does a school counselor do?

In general, school counselors support students of all ages in different areas, from their academic goals to their personal development, and an online masters in school counseling can provide you with the skill and knowledge to do this. You will act as an advocate for the students’ wellbeing, and can also help refer students to other professionals depending on their issues. Working as a school counselor is a varied role, and some tasks include providing individual or group counseling, identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse or neglect, referring students and parents to outside resources for extra support and teaching classes on topics such as bullying, careers and drug abuse. You may find yourself working in various educational institutions such as universities, public or private elementary, middle and high schools and colleges.

Is it the right career for you?

School counselors are incredibly knowledgeable and skilled individuals who care about helping young people. As well as the technical skills and knowledge that you will need to become a school counselor, there are also certain personal skills and traits that help make a great counselor. These include:

  • Empathy- this is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another in order to understand and share their As a counselor, you will be dealing with many different people and issues, and it is highly unlikely that you will have experienced them all yourself. However, empathetic individuals can imagine what that person is feeling, and this is a valuable skill to have as a counselor of any kind.
  • Communication- when people think of a counselor, the majority will think of them as someone to talk Therefore, you have to have incredible communication skills. Not only will you have to be a good listener, you will also have to pick up on any non-verbal forms of communication, such as body language. Some people may be hesitant to speak with you, and therefore you will need to know how to adapt your communication techniques to fit each individual.
  • Organization- it is highly likely that you will be working with many different people and patients, and therefore will have multiple projects and clients on-the-go at any one You will need to be incredibly organized in order to ensure each case is treated with the same level of expertise and care.
  • Teamwork- you will be working with a huge range of staff and individuals, and you need to be able to collaborate in order to come up with the best solutions for your You may find yourself working with teachers, parents, medical professionals and social workers, so it is important to have strong communication skills so that you can accurately give information to people with different levels of understanding.

An online masters in school counseling will help you develop both personally and professionally in order to deliver a high level of counseling to your clients. With a combination of online coursework and in-field practice you can use your skills in the workplace, helping you become confident and skilled. It is likely that you will have to teach lessons on subjects, so being able to lead a classroom, teach and inform students is incredibly useful, which is why many school counselors have a background in education. It is also common for many teachers to transition into school counseling positions, as they already have the experience of teaching and working with young people.

How do you become a school counselor?

An online masters in school counseling is just one of the courses and qualifications you may need in order to become a fully licensed professional school counselor. You will need a bachelor’s degree, and many school counselors have BAs in related subjects such as psychology, counseling or education. This is the minimum requirement, and once you come completed this, you will then need your masters degree before taking the licensing exam, which can vary depending on your state. Some states and counseling jobs also require you to have a masters degree in counseling as a minimum, so it is important to consider where you are planning on studying and practicing, in order to prepare yourself for the education you will need to undertake.

An online masters in school counseling is a cost-effective and flexible way to earn this qualification. When you study online, you have more control over your schedule and learning environment, which makes an online masters in school counseling a great option for those who have existed commitments such as a job or a family, and cannot commit to full-time, in-person study. It can also help to save you some money, as studying can be notoriously expensive, especially at master’s level. When you study an online masters in school counseling, you are mostly learning at home, so you won’t have to worry as much about finding accommodation close to campus, or commuting daily. This help makes this level of education much more accessible, allowing a great number of people to work towards their dream careers.

Another benefit of online learning is the personal skills that it can help you develop. With an online masters in school counseling, you will of course gain plenty of technical knowledge that is specific to the industry. You will also have the chance to develop your soft skills when learning online. These are a set of non-technical personal skills that are transferable and applicable to all workplaces and jobs. Examples of sought-after soft skills include time management and organization, communication, creativity, problem-solving and self-motivation. While these are useful in the majority of job roles, some are particularly beneficial to counselors, such as communication.

When you study online, you will have practical examples of times when you have used these skills that you can give to employers in an interview. For example, you will have to be incredibly organized in order to keep up with your studies, alongside any other commitments you may have. This is particularly useful if you are a teacher who is looking to become a school counselor, as you can study alongside your current job. Another reason why people may choose not to pursue further education or qualifications, especially if they currently have a job, is because in-person learning may require you to move away or leave your job. This is not viable for a large number of people, so by studying online, you have the ability to keep your job and balance it with education. Distance learning comes with its own unique challenges, and completing an online masters in school counseling can demonstrate your ability to overcome these challenges, using your creativity and problem-solving skills.

Having more control over your learning environment is also beneficial to many people, as you can learn at your own pace. This can allow you to take in information better, and give you time to revise and go over anything that you don’t understand, in your own time. Often, a lecture or classroom environment can be intimidating, so being able to work from home can help you create a learning environment in which you thrive. Furthermore, your local educational institutions may not even offer the degree or qualification you want. This can lead to you having to choose something else, or not pursuing that career at all. With an online masters in school counseling, your location matters less as you can study remotely. This is another huge benefit of online learning.

Career Outcomes

When studying an online masters in school counseling, there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience in different areas of school counseling, working with different age groups and communities. You may choose to pursue a career in school counseling once you have obtained your license, or you may choose to further your education and study for a PhD. It is common to find work through or with the institutions that you did an internship or residency with, which is why it is important to build these connections within the industry. There are many benefits to these modules, as not only do they offer potential career options, but they allow you to practice your new skills in a workplace environment, combining your personal skills with the knowledge you have gained when learning online.

Elementary School Counselors

One setting in which an online masters in school counseling can prepare you to work in is elementary schools. This covers a crucial emotional, mental and intellectual period of development for elementary-age children, and it is also when they can start gaining a more developed sense of self. Furthermore, they will be exploring and developing their communication, interaction and social skills. At this age, issues such as learning difficulties, familial problems and social challenges may become clear. This is where an elementary school counselor comes in. You will be able to support and assist the student, and refer them to other professionals if necessary.

High School Counselors

High school can be a very challenging time for students, as it is the gateway to adulthood, and there are plenty of pressures that come with this. Academic pressures such as exams, tests, college decisions and further education choices are just a few of the issues and difficulties that high school students may be dealing with. As well as this, there are the personal challenges such as the continuing development of their identity. High school counselors can help support students in a range of ways, with many different issues, and can again refer students to other professionals depending on their circumstances.

These are just two examples of the types of school counselor, and you will be able to find a position and setting in which you thrive. You will be able to help students in many areas of their development, including their academic, career, social and emotional development. As more students enroll in schools, there is a growing need for more school counselors, so it is a very rewarding career that’s in high demand. An online masters in school counseling can help prepare you for your licensing exam, giving you valuable knowledge and experience to help you advance in your career, and helping you to develop important personal skills.

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