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Counseling and guidance services is an area of study and occupation that relates to the guidance and supervision of children in a school atmosphere, as well as provide children with a safe atmosphere in which to confide and receive assistance from the counselor. Individuals in this field will be familiar with techniques to build confidence and relationships with students, as well as provide them with helpful information and direction in regards to their studies, personal life, and future as needed. This field deals primarily with children, and as such counselors should be patient, understanding, respectful and capable.
A degree in counseling and guidance services prepares an individual with the skills and knowledge necessary to operate in a school environment and assist students by providing a safe environment to discuss problems and plan for the future. A typical education will require at least a master's level degree and involve the study of multiple science disciplines, including psychology and behavioral science. Individuals studying in this field should also be compassionate, with the ability to empathize and listen.
A curriculum in counseling and guidance services may include:
- Addiction Counseling
- Stress Management
- Adolescent Psychology
- Adolescent Behavior
- Crisis Intervention
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A career in counseling and guidance services requires the individual counselor to take into confidence students of various ages and backgrounds, and assist them in dealing with issues that may occur. These may include stress, frustration, assistance with planning the future, or may run deeper, including abuse, addiction, or other serious problems. A guidance counselor must be able to listen without judgment and offer assistance as needed, following regulations regarding specific scenarios as demanded by the state.
Most employers will be public schools, which require some form of credential as required by the specific state. Most states will require at least a master's degree to obtain a credential, and most employers prefer individuals with master's degrees due to the sensitivity of the work, and the added education benefitting students. Counselors working in a private practice will be required to obtain licensure, which requires a master's degree and up to 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Job Growth, Salary and Related Fields
Job opportunities are expected to grow over the next decade as student enrollment at all levels of education increases. The increase in enrollment will require additional professional services from counselors, resulting in a moderate number of new openings. The average salary of a guidance counselor is approximately $53,000 per year, with varying median wages for different sectors.