School counselors work in elementary, middle, and high schools. Older terms for the profession were “guidance counselor” and “educational counselor”.
The largest accreditation body for counselor education/school counseling programs is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).¹ In some countries, school counseling is provided by educational specialists and in other countries, school counseling is provided by normal classroom teachers who have extra duties added to their typical teaching load.¹
Elementary counselors provide academic and personal planning to all students. They also provide some family sessions to help parents meet the developmental needs of their young children. There is an increased emphasis on teaching children to learn accountability for their actions as they become older.¹
Middle school councilors begin to provide career and college advice to students. Transitional issues are worked out to ensure that students have a successful transition to high school. Additionally, middle school is when many students undergo puberty. Puberty is a socially awkward phase of a child’s youth and councilors need to help many students through new experiences.¹
High school councilors provide academic, career, college access, and personal counseling. The main focus is on college access development and academic development in order to ensure students are on the path that they want to proceed with. There are 8 essential elements of college and career counseling¹:
College aspirations, academic planning for career and college readiness, enrichment and extracurricular engagement, college and career exploration and selection processes, college and career assessments, college affordability planning, college and career admission processes, and the transition from high school graduation to college enrollment.¹
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