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School Counseling with Credential, MA

Frequently Asked Questions

The School Counseling MA with Credential program seeks to improve the human condition by training counselors to become social justice agents of change who promote equitable conditions inside and outside of schools. As you pursue everything this program has to offer, consider the following questions to broaden your understanding of the field.

  • School counseling professionals focus on supporting the entire student body with career, academic, and social/emotional issues in K-12 education. They focus on school wide prevention and intervention working with all partners in the school community: parents, teachers, administrators, and the larger community.

  • School counseling is primarily a schoolwide (80% of time spent), small groups (15% of time spent), and brief/short-term individual counseling (5% of time spent) intervention focus, while school psychology focuses more on small groups  and individual counseling, generally focused on special education. In addition, school psychologists focus very heavily on conducting tests/assessments as a function of their heavy involvement in special education services.

  • School social work is different as they focus on the community and school relationship with an emphasis on outside resources. This means that systemically, they are looking at school connections with the surrounding community agencies  in addition to focusing more on small groups and individual counseling, though not with a special education focus.

  • In elementary, they primarily focus on social skills and supporting behaviors that will help students be more successful in school. They support positive academic habits, expose students to different careers, and provide overall support for students, their families, and teachers. 

    In middle school, they focus on skill building that will promote academic, career and social/emotional development. The majority of middle school counseling focuses on social/emotional learning; however, it also scaffolds students with their academic skills and postsecondary exploration. 

    In high school, they focus a lot on academic support and postsecondary options, in addition to college and career access. There is an important social/emotional component involved with these decisions, however. Therefore, even though a lot of time may be spent on helping students via academic, college, and career counseling, it is nearly impossible to separate social/emotional counseling from the counseling relationship.

  • Postsecondary options are the main focus for school counselors, even at the elementary school level. Exposure to different careers and improving skills so that students can access and achieve their goals is of the utmost importance. Since many careers require a college degree, school counselors must be well-versed in all of the information students will need to help them apply to college and find success once they enroll.

  • What School Counselors Do What School Counselors Do Not Do
    Providing brief counseling to individual students Providing therapy or long-term counseling in schools to address psychological disorders
    Interpreting cognitive, aptitude, and achievement tests Coordinating cognitive, aptitude, and achievement testing programs
    Advocating for students at individual education plan meetings, student study teams, and school attendance review boards Coordinating school-wide individual education plans, student study teams, and school attendance review boards
    Individual student academic program planning Coordinating paperwork and data entry of all new students
    Providing teachers with suggestions for effective classroom management Teaching classes when teachers are absent
    Collaborating with teachers to present school counseling core curriculum lessons Signing excuses for students who are tardy or absent
    Analyzing grade-point averages in relationship to achievement Performing disciplinary actions or assigning disciplinary consequences
    Interpreting student records Maintaining student records
    Ensuring student records are in compliance per state and federal regulations (appropriate data sharing, protecting student information, etc.) Serving as data entry clerk
    Analyzing disaggregated data Computing grade-point averages
    Helping the school principal identify and resolve student issues, needs, and problems Sending students home for disciplinary reasons
    Providing small-group counseling services to students Supervising classrooms or common areas
    Annual and weekly calendars to keep students, parents, teachers, and administrators informed and to encourage active participation in the school counseling program Assisting with administrative duties in the principal's office