The services provided by this field can truly make a difference in the people that use them. If you are looking for a career that can provide a career working with determined youth and adults, this is a great place to get a degree. As a college counselor, you can help students that are getting ready to take the plunge into college degree programs, giving a helping hand along the way.
What Does a College Counselor Do?
College counselors can be found in different places, including high schools, colleges, or even working with state agencies. In high schools, college counselors often work with the school system to help analyze and plan for each student’s individual needs. Through interviews, counselors can determine what the dreams and aspirations of each student are. This process allows the counselor to put the student in contact with universities that can provide the best degree program for what the student desires. In this position, it is important that counselors stay up to date with what colleges require for the general admissions process, the prerequisite requirements for different programs, and the educational stipulations that students much abide by during high school education.
It is the job of the college counselor to help students through the initial application process, financial aid, admissions, retrieving relevant paperwork such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, and finally preparing for the transition into college life. In the college setting, counselors may work with new students in obtaining room and board, using financial aid funds for meals and materials, and dealing with any psychological effects of becoming an independent. On college campuses, there are many concerns regarding safety and wellness that are constantly observed. College counselors can provide programs that support justice for on-campus sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, and bullying.
The primary focus of college counselors on staff at universities is to assist students with becoming accustomed to college life and to provide support for college students throughout their experience. Lastly, in state agencies, college counselors can work with adults that are considering revisiting the college option as a means of bettering their lives. In a similar manner as high schoolers, the adults are coached through the college search process, admissions, financial aid, and dispersion of funds. This service provides adults with the option of going to college to help find more stable careers that can contribute to a better future.
Why Do We Need College Counselors?
Just as you are doing now, there are large numbers of people each year searching for the right educational program. Choosing the right degree can be complicated, especially for those that have little experience in the workforce, or for those that have little support from outside resources. If you want to choose a degree program that can exhibit your skills as support system and resourcefulness, pursuing college counseling would be a great opportunity.
College counseling programs across the country can provide courses that help students identify individual strengths among individuals. For a lot of people, it can be difficult to pin down specific areas in which they excel. In response to this difficulty, people are pursuing college careers that are not a good fit, which can lead to unsatisfying careers in the future. Adults that are in the workforce without a college degree may not even be aware of their option of pursuing a college degree. It is up to the college counselor to reach out to these unhappy workers in an attempt to encourage them to move forward to more opportunity through college programs.
College Counselor Salary and Career Outlook
The pursuit of a degree in college counseling can lead to exciting careers that assist others with achieving a degree. Although this can be a fulfilling career on its own, it is vital to consider where you stand financially after completing this degree program. Most students that have graduated as a specialist in career counseling can find careers working in colleges, high schools, or with career centers. Depending on where you are employed after graduation, you may find that the earning potential varies slightly from place to place. According to the BLS, counselors within this area can earn $51,260 on average per year in colleges and universities, while other counselors can earn $57,340 on average per year in junior colleges (BLS;2015).
In this current day and age, the implementation of online degree programs is adding to the participant pool for colleges across the country. More people are finding the time to take part in college degree programs as a means for a better lifestyle. With this type of increase in interest in obtaining a college degree, the need for college counselors may see an increase as well. As you make the decision to enroll in a degree program focusing on college counseling, take the time to research the job availability within your area. You may be surprised to see how many colleges and agencies are seeking educated professionals to help others initiate their college advancement.
Common Education Requirements to Become a College Counselor?
What it takes to become a college counselor is entirely dependent on the aspirations of the professional. Depending on what you want from you role as a college counselor, you may be expected to hit different educational milestones than others. Some positions in college counseling simply require that students possess a bachelor’s degree within any subject. This role would allow professionals to work with others that are seeking similar degrees, but does not provide a wide range of abilities including the ability to counsel students.
If you are seeking a more all-inclusive career option, you may want to pursue licensure as a means for providing counseling services to students and adults needing you assistance. Take a look below at some of the common methods for becoming a college counselor.
At the minimum level, students must obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Counseling, psychology, and sociology are great options to get started, but other degree holders can become college counselors as well. For students that have degrees in disciplines that are not psychological in nature, the job path may be more limited along the way. For instance, a student that receives a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science may have the option to counsel students entering into the Political Science program, but not students wishing to obtain other degrees. The most common degree requirement to become a licensed counselor is a Bachelor’s in Counseling or Psychology. Through the 4 years of undergraduate education, students can learn to proper assess the needs of their clients in order to provide the best possible service.
The masters level can give students the opportunity to try out their skills in counseling in a real-world setting. If you want to have the option of providing psychological counseling services through colleges and universities, you will be expected to obtain a minimum of a Master’s degree in Counseling or Psychology.
This degree program focuses on the different techniques and abilities required to counsel people in need of guidance. Most programs at this level can be completed in 2-3 years and include a supervised practical experience. The constituents of this program were set forth to ensure that you get the proper experience required before working with people in the field.
To become a college counselor, you may also consider taking part in a certificate program as a means for gaining more information pertinent to this career. A certificate program in college counseling is best paired with a master’s level degree that focuses on counseling or psychology. Taking this route for your degree can provide you with a more diverse skill set that can benefit you throughout your career.
While licensure is not always required for some college counseling positions, most graduates choose to pursue licensure to expand their capabilities as a professional. Becoming licensed within any state requires students to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling or Psychology from an accredited university. In addition to this requirement, graduates must also take part in 1-2 years of supervised work experience and successfully pass a state board examination in counseling. Once these requirements have been completed, graduates can apply for licensure.
Schools/Programs to Consider
Becoming a college counselor can include the acquisition of a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you want to be more precise in your specializations, you may wish to pursue a certificate program that focuses on college counseling. Certificate programs give students the extra education needed to be more precise within their chosen discipline, without having to complete another degree program. Our experts have located a couple of the more popular certificate programs available online for you to browse. Take a look at what they have found below.
UCLA – Online Certificate Program in College Counseling
The Online Certificate Program in College Counseling from UCLA has an excellent 7 course requirement that can help students gain a better understanding of what is required to assist high school and college students with achieving success.
This program in particular seeks to expand on the skills of current high school counselors to include expertise in collegiate education, help implement a specific knowledge of college requirements in addition to high school requirements, and educate students on how to connect different resources that can lead to success for students in need of a variety of services. This program can be completed in less than a year and would be a great addition to your portfolio.
University of California – Riverside – Professional Certificate in College Admissions Counseling
For people that want to help students transition to college level education, UCR’s Professional Certificate in College Admissions Counseling program is a great place to start. This program helps students learn the basics of high school to college transition, identify populations of students that need additional support, and providing supportive services for college exams and preparatory admissions requirements. The entire program consists of 18 units and can be completed in around 1 year at full-time enrollment. This certificate program is a great complement to bachelor and master level degrees.
Making A Decision Taking A College Counselor Degree Path
Choosing which road to take when planning your future can be a difficult task. A college degree can change the course of your life, for the good or bad. If you have a profound desire to help others and wish to help students identify their strengths and move forward to college, this is a great degree program for you. College counselors can be found in a variety of settings, including high schools, colleges, and within state agencies. The goal of these professionals is to educate students on their abilities, assist them with identifying their options for future success, and standing by them as they transition into collegiate education.
The capabilities of professionals in this field are not limited to high school students, these counselors can provide a valuable service to all people that wish to change their lives by attending college. The skills learned through college degree program can help you with being a more knowledgeable and supportive professional that makes a difference in the lives of the people you work with. The first step to getting on track to become a college counselor is enrolling in an accredited degree program. After that, you may find the road to success is already at your feet.