(Closed) Career change: teacher to counselor

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 4
Member
549 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m not in school counseling, I’m in mental health counseling. I haven’t gotten licensed yet, though. My program offered different concentrations, and school was one of them. I think a lot of them found jobs during or after their last year (internship year). We took some of the same classes, but there were some that were different. And their internship was in a school, whereas mine was at a mental health clinic. My field is hiring, but mostly for MSW’s because that’s what Missouri favors. But school settings may be more open to LPC, I’m not sure.

Post # 5
Member
47 posts
Newbee

I cannot help persay, but I’m in a similar boat.

I have a Masters in English and teach college English at the local community college, but I’m looking into getting another degree in Counseling (particulalry Mental Health counseling with a focus on adolescents).

I know the program at the school I would be going to is very similar to the school counseling.  Look into both of the programs, but there is only one major class difference (and internship difference), and that class can be taken as an extra class, at my school.

Good luck! =] 

Post # 7
Member
27 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I just finished my degree in Marriage and Family Counseling. The school counseling tract at my school had the hardest time getting hired but they also don’t start at the bottom of the barrel like my field. You are going to want to look into state licensing to determine which track would be better. Here in Virginia a school counselor degree wouldn’t qualify you for getting an LPC or LMFT without extra school work (at least in my program). I got hired right after graduation but I have a tough job while I work on my residency hours. I would recommend doing a lot of research on schools and how they set you up to eventually earn a license, there are a lot of unaccredited programs that you have to jump through hoops to get a license. Good luck

Post # 9
Member
41 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Hi there,

I am studying now to be a school psychologist. It’s not the same thing as being a counselor, but it’s a combo of education and mental health. I am hoping to work in a school, but I will technically be able to work in many different settings or in private practice. Many of the people in my program are teachers or former teachers. If you have anY questions I would be happy to answer them. Good luck with your decision 🙂

Post # 10
Member
42 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I am a school counselor! This is my third year, and I was hired about four months after I graduated. It was diffcult for many students in my program to find a job soon after graduation, and it is even more difficult now. However, that might all change by the time you would graduate!

I do really enjoy my job. I love that it is challenging and brings new adventures every day. I work at an elementary school, which allows me to use all of the skills I learned in graduate scool (individual counselng, small group counseling, and classroom guidance). I also am able to maintain a nice work-life balance. I do not have as much planning to do as the classroom teachers. I arrive to school around 45 minutes early to prepare for the day, but I leave right at the end of the school day. I usually have a lesson plan to review each weekend, but that doesn’t take too long. The other school counselor in my school (we work at an enormous elementary school) was a teacher for ten years. She absolutely adores being a school counselor and the freedom it has given her to do what she loves (teach and help students) without all of the endless hours of planning and grading.

In terms of the ease of moving from one counseling field to another, it depends. With a master’s degree in school counseling, you could pretty easily go on to become a licensed clinical professional counselor (you would just need to take some additional coursework and receive a certain number of hours of supervision). I know many school counselors who have gone on to become professional counselors, and it is a future goal that I have for myself. However, I think it would be hard to transition from a school counselor to a marriage and family counselor since the coursework is significantly different. I imagine you might even need to get an entirely different degree.

Please let me know if you have any more questions that I can answer, and good luck choosing a new career!

Post # 11
Member
47 posts
Newbee

@hisprettygirl:  It’s actually in the Education department.  =/  Which surprised me because it took forever to figure out that the university offered such a degree. Bleh.

It sounds like my school has a combiation family/adolescent/career/and couple counseling.

But, from what others are saying, it sounds like there maybe trouble getting hired as a school counselor. =/  Is there any way you can work out doing a hybrid degree of some sort? 

Post # 12
Member
8472 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

I am in your exact same boat! The only difference is that I work as an elementary school teacher who would love to be a guidance counselor in a high school.  I’d hate to think that I spent all that money and made myself nuts with papers n an internship and end up not liking my job. So it’s comforting to see that bee counselors like what they do. 

Post # 14
Member
42 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@hisprettygirl:  I work in Maryland. I am very lucky that I get to do what I am trained for! I have a great administration at my school; they actually seem to understand the role of the school counselor. Of all school counselors, I think elementary school counselors are most likely to spend the majority of their time counseling and teaching. In a lot of middle and high schools, the counselors get bogged down in administrative tasks and scheduling and are less able to run groups or teach in classrooms.

If you’re looking for a work-life balance, a career in school counseling will definitely help you achieve that. I rarely ever stay past 4 p.m., and most of my weekend is spent doing whatever I want to do :). I am able to accomplish almost all I need to do within the school day (and I come in early to do the rest). However, I will say that the job can be pretty stressful, as you might imagine any counselor’s job to be. It can definitely be draining at times. Nontheless, it is also very fulfilling, which makes up for all the stress most of the time!

Post # 15
Member
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’m a school psychologist, so not a counselor, but I do work closely with counselors. I’m not sure where you are located, but in California I know counseling jobs are very hard to come by right now. Many districts are eliminating tons of counseling positions. I think you would have more options with a MFT or a masters in social work. It seems like licensed clinical social workers have a ton of options with the settings and conditions they in which they work. Also, even if you are sure you want to stay in a school setting,  in California funding for AB3632 was recently eliminated, and there are currently a lot of positions in the school districts for MFTs to provide mental health services. With the education system being what it is I think it would be smart to get a degree that provides you a lot of options. 

Post # 16
Member
12 posts
Newbee

@hisprettygirl:  I am a LPC and professor in a counseling program. Please feel free to PM me and ask any questions that you might have about entering a counseling program. I can answer them as best as I can for you. 

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