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Guidance Counselor Education and Training Programs

Guidance counselors help students chose the right vocation or solve personal issues relating to families, addictions and sexuality. Counselors also administer and evaluate tests to determine academic performance. Guidance counselors must have the minimum of a master's degree in many states. A guidance counselor must be licensed to work in a public school.

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Education Requirements for a Guidance Counselor

Requirements to become a guidance counselor vary by state. A master's degree is usually required, but some states only require a bachelor's degree or a bachelor's degree and some post-baccalaureate work. Generally, guidance counselors have either a master's degree in psychology, social science or education. Some states require both a teaching and counseling certificate. Many states require guidance counselors to complete 1-2 years of supervised experience; this experience can be gained through internship programs.

The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) administers the certification examination in compliance with state regulations for guidance counselors. Counselors are certified for five years. Upon recertification, a guidance counselor must provide documentation of 100 clock hours of continuing education.

Training Programs

There are a number of paths a person aspiring to be a guidance counselor can take. Aspiring guidance counselors may chose to earn a bachelor's degree in the related field of psychology. They then complete post-baccalaureate work or enroll in a master's degree program. All prospective students should check with their state education agency to find out specific requirements.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology

The bachelor's degree program is designed to give students a solid foundation in research, assessment and problem solving. Students are introduced to biological psychology, statistics, ethics and the history of modern psychology. During the final quarter students participate in a capstone project.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree program prepares a graduate to work in clinical positions in educational, mental health and human services environments. The degree program includes coursework in specialized areas such as child assessment, career planning, counseling for families and groups and intervention. The program may conclude with an internship or practicum in the public schools.

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