This article features information about how to choose an educational counseling degree. It also includes some recommendations for quality educational counseling degree programs. Further, there will be information about accreditation, which is extremely important to ensure that the degree program is of good quality.
What Is an Educational Counseling Degree?
If you find it interesting and fulfilling to help students and to create their academic and career path, you may want to earn a master’s degree in educational counseling.
This advanced degree will give you the skills to assist people of various ages in choosing classes and career paths that will allow them to overcome whatever their academic and personal challenges are. An educational counseling degree can give your knowledge and abilities to work with students from elementary school through college.
In this master’s degree program, students will learn the critical, theoretical foundations of educational counseling, and also will gain significant experience with student affairs. This program will help you to learn how to carefully evaluate the strengths, skills, weaknesses and career goals of your student. From that point, the counselor will then be able to help the student select the best classes and potential career path.
Educational counselors play a very important part in helping students and adults choose a career path, and your program will focus heavily on giving you the skills to do this. They have to help students who do not know exactly what their career goals are. Educational counselors also may prepare students and adults to take advanced courses and to participate in important activities that can help them to get into the colleges that they want.
Other skills that you may learn in your educational counseling degree program are:
- Learning to work in a culturally diverse educational organization, and provide students who are unsure of their path in life with some positive direction.
- Learning the latest, cutting edge educational counseling skills that can help people of all ages to determine what they want to do with their lives
- Developing abilities to help both adults and children to come up with a life plan for their upcoming career
- Learn how to prepare people for getting ready for job interviews and job searches
- Obtain insights into how people make decisions and what goes into ensuring that proper decisions are made
Why Earn an Educational Counseling Degree?
Some educational professionals feel a strong passion for helping younger people determine what they want to do with their lives. That is the biggest reason that many decide to earn this degree.
Second, the job market in the field is fairly strong. The number of jobs for educational, school and career counselors will grow by a healthy 8% by 2024. This is about as fast as average when it is compared to other jobs.
There are increasing student enrollments in primary and secondary schools, as well as universities. This is causing an increased need for experienced educational counselors who can help students determine what their best career options are.
More students today understand that they need to get a good degree to be competitive in the global marketplace, and they also need to work with good counselors to help them figure out where their strengths lie academically and vocationally.
The best bet for strong employment options in educational counseling is to live in cities and states with rapid population growth, such as the southern US.
Another reason to earn this degree is that at any given time, there are millions of people in America who are about to graduate from college and they do not know exactly what they are going to do career wise. There also are unemployed people who may need help refocusing their career. You will be in a good position to serve both group’s needs.
Regarding pay, these types of counselors earn a median salary of $54,500, while the top 10% with the most advanced degrees and experience earn more than $90,000 per year.
Some educators like working for schools and educational institutions because the work is steady, and once you are hired, you tend to stay hired. Also, the benefits provided in most public school systems are excellent.
Some professionals who earn their master’s degree in educational counseling may eventually become licensed psychologists or counselors. The job demand for psychologists is increasing rapidly with jobs poised to increase by 19% by 2024. This is much faster average than other occupations. The median salary in this field is nearly $75,000 per year.
Online Degree Options
A good option is the Master of Education in Educational Counseling at the University of Southern California-Rossier School of Education. This accredited program is designed for professionals who are seeking a career in postsecondary organizations with an emphasis on advising and academic counseling.
The program is a blend of a counseling based theoretical foundation program, with practical applications in student issues and affairs to prepare you to be able to promote and facilitate maximum educational attainment.
The coursework in this program examines the roles of advisors and counselors in the context of higher college education, while also focusing on the most important issues and needs of a highly diverse student population.
The courses in this degree program focus on these areas:
- Counseling: Grounding students in the theory and practice of counseling
- Student affairs: Ground students in both the practice and theory of postsecondary education student affairs matters
- Research methods and data analysis: Gain an understanding of how inquiry tools are used by various educational practitioners
- Field experience: Obtain supervised experience in many student affairs situations
- Seminar or thesis: Integrate your learning experiences from all program components
The fieldwork aspect will provide you with the supervised experience that you need to be successful in educational counseling at the postsecondary level. You can begin your field experiences after you have completed the first semester in the program. You are required to finish a total of 210 hours before you complete the program.
Your required courses include the following:
- Creating Communities of Interest
- The Counseling Process
- Academic Advising in Postsecondary Education
- Foundations of Higher, Adult and Professional Education
- Theories in Counseling
- Politics of Difference
- Learning and Individual Differences
- Research Methods and Data Analysis
- Group Counseling: Theory and Process
- Student Development Theory
- Counseling for College and Career Readiness
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling
Those who are interested in pursuing a career in educational counseling should ensure that the program is accredited by a respected body in the field. This ensures that you are obtaining a high quality degree. In this field, we recommend that you check for accreditation by CACREP or the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
Working as an educational counselor offers you the opportunity to enjoy steady work with good benefits in many educational institutions. You also will be able to have a feeling of satisfaction as you help young people and adults to determine their educational and career paths.
- University of Southern California. Educational Counseling. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://rossier.usc.edu/programs/masters/educational-counseling/
- School and Career Counselors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm#tab-2