How to Become an Elementary School Guidance Counselor
The human mind is one complex factor that needs lots of care and experience to handle. Looking at young children in elementary school, one may not understand the complexities of their emotional needs, especially for those with rare but existent special needs. Remember it is the child who finally becomes an adult. Any wrong step while growing up and the resultant adult may not be the best living role model he or she can be. That is why an elementary school guidance counselor needs to be first of all educated, experienced and above all, have a passion for their calling. After all, teaching as a profession is a special call.
Since many counselors can work at various schools, these professionals have the mandate to help students deal with social, behavioral and personal problems. Their first duty is being comfortable working with children. Without that, there is no way a counselor can help a student. Secondly, counselors must be good listeners for effective communication. And lastly, they have to be good communicators, i.e., those who choose their words well. During the course of duty, a counselor may have to meet youngsters regularly as they hold different discussions or presentations. In most states, these people are required to have state license to work in government regulated schools. Some states also require that counselors obtain a master’s degree in counseling. In some states however, a teacher’s license together with enough classroom experience is all that is needed.
Elementary guidance counselors work with children who are in kindergarten to the fifth grade. While in the course of duty, they check the students behavior while in the classroom or outside. This is meant to find out any educational, emotional or even physical issues the students may have which may be a hindrance to learning. At the same time, they are able to identify students who have exceptional talents which need to be tapped to help them explore their potential. They perform aptitude tests while at the same time communicating with parents and teachers to discuss students educational, emotional and physical needs.
To be eligible, one needs to have a bachelor’s degree in guidance counseling, though this applies to some states in very rare scenarios. Mostly, guidance counselors are required to be armed with a degree in psychology, sociology or education. Courses offered when one goes for this field include family therapy, group modeling, abnormal psychology, collaborative consultation, counseling theory, behavior counseling among others. While undergoing these courses, a student has to balance their time well to fit into the college program as well as internship in various elementary schools. One who qualifies and earns the needed qualification for employment may earn a salary of up to $60,000 annually. However, it needs to be noted that salary scales vary with states and location. Also, there may be higher incomes for those who are lucky to be employed in high cost private schools.
There are individuals too who may need private assistance with their elementary children and may employ a guidance counselor. It is estimated that there may be rise in the guidance counseling jobs in the near future.
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