Social work is one of the professions for the people with a strong desire to improve people’s lives. Elementary school counselor is one of the human service worker jobs. This paper will discuss about elementary school counselor responsibilities, skills required and the values involved including the NOHSE standards of the occupation.
In 1995, the national organization for human service professionals, NOHSE, approved ethical standards for human service professionals. Prior to this, students were guided by codes of ethics which often did not reflect the philosophy of human service profession. The preamble introduces the aims of the profession and divides professional responsibilities to: clients, community, colleagues, professional, employee and to self.
Why elementary school counselors
In today’s increasingly diverse society, young people are living in an exciting time with new technologies and to help them and ensure that they are well prepared to make an excellent next generation of parents, leaders, workers and good citizens, they need support and guidance during their childhood. This is because of many different challenges they incur personally and developmentally when growing. Elementary school counselors work in a variety of rehabilitation, counseling and support services (American School Counselor Association). The counselors have many challenges with children, adolescents and families with any different issues like addiction, disability, schools educational problems and/or trauma. To provide the students with appropriate support counseling, counselors need to understand these diverse needs to be able to address them effectively (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
They provide individual, classroom or small group guidance services to students. They observe children during their classes and during play time. They then confer with their teachers and parents to evaluate the children’s strengths or problems and how best they can solve them. They also assist teachers to ensure that curriculum classes address academic and developmental needs of the students (American School Counselor Association).
Elementary school counselors thus develop the knowledge, attitudes and skill for the children to become competent and confident learners. School counselors, through the school’s developmental school counseling program, work as a team with the school’s staff, parents and the community creating a caring environment for learning. School counselors also provide education, prevent and intervene to children thus aiding them achieve academic success. But elementary school counselors do less vocational and academic counseling than high school counselors (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
For one to qualify as a counselor, a bachelors degree in social work is the minimum requirements and a usually, a master’s degree is required for one to be licensed as a certified counselor. Counselor education in college and universities are found is such departments like education, human service or psychology. Fields of study for elementary school counselors include students’ affairs, elementary school counseling, education, substance abuse, rehabilitation and career counseling. Others regulations include licensure, certification and or registration are also required for one to be an elementary school counselor (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
If interested in counseling, one should have a strong desire to not only help others but also inspire respect and trust and be able to work independently or as part of a team. They need to have the skills and education in order to recognize the needs of students coming from diverse backgrounds, lack of basic necessities and with any learning difficulties. They should be emotionally mature, objective and be sensitive to other people’s problems (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Elementary school counselors work on a one- to-one with the students they counsel. Most of these elementary school counselors are employed in schools although they can work in career centers, correctional facilities, residential facilities and classrooms (American School Counselor Association).
Counselors spend most of their time in an office although they can travel occasionally to visit students or attending meetings. This is one of the challenging and most stressful social service agency jobs but can be satisfying. They work for about 40 hours a week although if needed they can work overtime attending to needy students. In 2008, there were about 275,800 educational and school counselors. As the society and its students become more knowledgeable, demand for elementary school counselors is on the rise and also states require elementary schools to employ counselors and therefore overall employment expected to increase (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Educational counselors average between $57,800 in 2008. Elementary school counselors can earn more especially if they work during summers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).