How to Become a Guidance Counselor in New York

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Guidance counselors provide support for students at school--whether academic, behavioral or social--and often help them find their way to post-high-school education. These professionals are responsible for helping children decide what they want to do with their lives through aptitude tests, interests and counseling sessions, according to Education.org. Elementary school years through high school years can be a difficult time for children, a time in which scholastic achievement is affected by social pressure. School guidance counselors are instrumental in keeping children on track by setting goals and having important discussions. Every state has different requirements for becoming a guidance counselor, and New York is no exception.

  • Earn a bachelor's degree from a university approved by the New York Department of Education, or complete a New York registered school counseling program if doing your training in state. If out of state, attend a regionally/state accredited university for counseling or education, according to SchoolCounselor.org.

  • Complete at least 30 hours of graduate coursework in school counseling and earn national certification as a school counselor by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (see Resources). This coursework can be completed through any nationally certified for school counseling university in the country.

  • Observe a professional school counselor in a K-12 school with approval from your regionally accredited university during a regular school year, or complete one year as a paid school counselor for K-12 in place of the apprenticeship/internship period. If you choose latter, the school needs to be willing to hire you for the trial period. This step would most effectively be done in New York--or the school system you want to work--so you can learn the system, culture of teachers and students, and protocol, and have a head start on getting your foot in the door. Doing your internship or observation period in the system you want to work would allow you to observe the cultures from which students and teachers come--religious, families, ethnic and social. .

  • Join the New York State School Counselor Association. This association has valuable job placement tools, frequent workshops to teach new methods and cutting edge counseling techniques, and allows you to network with other New York guidance counselors. As soon as you finish your training and graduate work, you are eligible to join the association. The association has valuable connections to the government, according to the NYSSCA website, and collaborates with large New York agencies like the Department of Education, Association of College Admissions Counselors and New York State Psychologists.

  • Find a job at a New York K-12 school or as an admissions counselor at a college using the NYSSCA job placement resources (see Resources).

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