On the Job
School counselors help students learn about career and education choices. They counsel students about personal problems.
In the 1989 movie "Say Anything," Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack) is a high school senior with two interests: kickboxing and his girlfriend, Diane Court. At dinner with Diane's father, he utters these lines: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed." In fact, Lloyd manages to go through the whole year without seeing Mrs. Evans, the school counselor. Understandably, the school counselor is concerned about his future. She tries to track him down so she can help him prepare for life after high school. But to no avail - until the graduation party. Just when he thought it was safe! She finally corners him there and is able to do her job.In high schools, school counselors help students evaluate their abilities and interests. They talk with students about their goals for the future. Sometimes school counselors give students tests to get more information about their interests. They also look at school records to make sure students are taking classes that will help them meet their goals.
School counselors run career centers and provide information about colleges. They advise students about college testing, admissions, and financial aid. They set up interviews with college representatives. School counselors also work with students who do not plan to go to college. They advise these students about technical school or apprenticeship programs. In addition, they provide information about joining the armed forces. School counselors teach all students job search skills. In career guidance classes, they teach students how to fill out job applications and write resumes. They also teach job interview skills.
In elementary and high schools, school counselors help students deal with personal and social problems. They work with students individually or in small groups. They counsel students and teach classes on dealing with anger and violence. They also provide services such as drug and alcohol prevention programs. In addition, school counselors try to identify domestic abuse. They meet with parents, teachers, and school administrators.
School counselors meet with faculty and staff to explain available counseling services. They study occupational, educational, and economic information in order to stay current in their field. They also attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Provide information to students about career planning, class scheduling, and study habits.
- Help students handle emotional and social problems.
- Maintain student records.
- Meet with parents and guardians, teachers, counselors, and administrators to help students with problems.
- Review transcripts to ensure that students meet graduation or college requirements. Write letters of recommendation.
- Provide assistance to students with disabilities.
- Teach anger management skills.
- Interview and test students to help evaluate their interests and goals.
- Conduct orientation programs to help students adjust to new life experiences, such as starting college.
- Attend professional meetings, conferences, and workshops.
- Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
- Provide crisis intervention to students when difficult situations occur at schools.
- Meet with professionals to discuss students' needs and progress.
- Provide information to students about their educational and occupational options after high school.
- Supervise peer counseling and tutoring programs.
- Provide drug and alcohol prevention programs in schools.
- Research occupational, educational, and economic information.
- Meet with faculty and staff to explain available counseling services.
- Teach job search skills.
- Help create and enforce school policies, behavioral rules, and procedures.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Assist and care for others.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
- Think creatively.
- Document and record information.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Use computers.
- Coach others.
- Provide advice and consultation to others.
- Develop goals and strategies.
- Teach others.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Work with the public.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Process information.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social interaction. They work closely with students, teachers, and other professionals.
- Are often placed in conflict situations with parents and students.
- Often deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals.
- Are responsible for work outcomes and results of coworkers.
- Communicate with students, teachers, and other professionals daily by telephone, e-mail, or in person.
- Write letters and memos on a daily basis.
- Sometimes speak in front of large groups of people.
- Work in a group or as part of a team.
- May on occasion deal with students who may become physically violent.
- Always work indoors in schools and offices.
- Work somewhat close to other people, such as when sharing office space.
- Must complete their work accurately so that students receive the help they need.
- Must sometimes repeat the same mental activities.
- Often make decisions that affect students. They are able to make most decisions without talking to a supervisor.
- Are able to set most tasks and goals for the day without talking to a supervisor.
- Must meet strict deadlines on a weekly basis.
- Generally have a set schedule each week. Most work 40 hours per week.
- May work nine months during the school year and have summers off.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Sit when interviewing clients and students.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.