School counselors have a lot of work-related responsibilities, and understanding those major job duties of a school counselor could help a person decide whether or not this is the right career for their strengths and personality. While each school counseling job might have slightly different responsibilities based on the age and type of students and the focus of the job, most educational counselors will have these five major responsibilities. Being familiar with the general requirements of the job helps a person plan their career path. Here are the 5 Responsibilities of School Counselors. Understanding those major job duties of a school counselor could help.
- Evaluate Student Abilities
- Identify Academic Problems
- Provide Counseling for Personal and Social Problems
- Guide Academic and Career Plans
- Serve as Mandated Reporters
1. Evaluate Student Abilities
A school counselor may evaluate the abilities of individual students. This might be done upon entry to the school or at specific points during the educational process. Some students may have regularly scheduled evaluations to make sure that they are reaching goals or certain requirements in state laws. For example, school counselors may evaluate a student who speaks English as a second language and assigns them to classes or a tutor as needed.
2. Identify Academic Problems
School counselors also identify academic problems. They might work with a school psychologist or a pediatrician to identify a child who is dyslexic or who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Counselors may also identify students who are at risk of dropping out or violating truancy or attendance rules. The counselors work with such students to help them stay on a solid academic path.
3. Provide Counseling for Personal and Social Problems
Some school counselors also offer help for personal or social problems that could affect the student’s performance at school. For example, a student who is bullied by other students might be at increased risk of dropping out, excessive absences or self-harm. The counselor would teach that student about healthy coping mechanisms and would also educate the bully or bullies and other students about the impact of the situation. The counselor might work in concert with school administrators, resource officers or law enforcement.
4. Guide Academic and Career Plans
School counselors also guide academic plans. For example, a counselor may help a student schedule advanced placement exams and sign up for the classes that will help them earn college credits. The counselor might coordinate with community colleges to help a student take vocational training classes. Some counselors also work with students to identify scholarship opportunities.
5. Serve as Mandated Reporters
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a school counselor is a mandated reporter. As such, the school counselor would be required to contact law enforcement if they see signs of abuse or neglect in a student. School counselors must report issues such as domestic violence, threats of harm to others, a student’s threat to harm themselves or other similar situations so that law enforcement can investigate or act on the situation and keep the student and school community safe.
Knowing what to expect in the responsibilities of a counselor in a school ensures that a job applicant will be a good fit for the position. Each of these five responsibilities of a school counselor listed above pairs with the required master’s degree classes and internship experiences that a student will have.