How to Become a High School Guidance Counselor: Education and Job Training Requirements

Published Aug 30, 2009

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If you'd like to help students make the most of their educational careers, consider becoming a High School Guidance Counselor. Guidance counselors work with students to find the classes, colleges and careers that suit them best. High School Guidance Counselors typically need a master's degree in school counseling and state certification.

High School Guidance Counselor Career Summary

High School Guidance Counselors provide academic advice to students and work to ensure students graduate. They assist students in preparing for a college degree program or career after high school by recommending particular classes or helping them apply for admissions and financial aid.

Students also turn to High School Guidance Counselors for help with social and personal problems at school or at home. Counselors provide support for students dealing with bullying, peer pressure and related issues. They intervene when students show signs of domestic abuse or other family problems. They also develop and lead prevention programs to keep students off drugs and alcohol.

Education Required to Become a High School Guidance Counselor

According to the American School Counselor Association, most states in the U.S. require High School Guidance Counselors to hold a master's degree in school counseling. Some states will accept a master's degree in a related subject such as education or behavioral sciences. A master's degree program in school counseling teaches degree candidates to identify and address the needs of kids from a wide range of social, economic and cultural backgrounds. This program includes courses in psychology, group counseling, career development and human growth and development.

School counseling programs also include practicum courses in which students receive supervised field experience as counselors. These courses can sometimes count towards experience requirements for state certification.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become a High School Guidance Counselor

Certification is available at the state and national levels. State certification is required for work and the requirements for earning it vary. National certification is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors and is not required. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some states allow national certification to substitute for a state certificate.

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