How to Choose a Counselor for Your School

Around 61% of schools and colleges in the United States offer counseling services. You, too, should ensure this service if you’re running a school. However, when looking for a counselor for your school, it’s important to do some research.

Counselors have very different approaches, and they all have different areas of expertise. It’s vital to hire someone who will work with the students and teachers daily to get the best results.

Following are some things to consider when hiring a counselor for your school.

Background and Education

If the counselor has a doctorate and specializes in the field you need, that’s great. If not, the least they can have is a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the field. It’s also vital that you look for someone with an LPC degree. These degree holders are likely more knowledgeable in their respective fields than other candidates. So, you should prefer applicants with an LPC degree.

Different states have different rules regarding counseling licenses and certifications. Thus, you must know what requirements are necessary for your state before choosing a counselor for your school.

You must also know how experienced they are. Experienced candidates are more likely to have better leadership skills than inexperienced ones. They have also been exposed to various types of cases and situations. So, they can provide better solutions to those problems should they arise at your school.

Ensure They Have Experience Working With Children

If you’re looking for a counselor for your school, you must ensure they have experience working with children. Children have different needs than adults, and a counselor who is not used to working with kids may not be able to connect with them in the way that’s needed.

When working with children, it’s vital that the counselor understands their unique developmental stages and how this impacts their ability to understand or process what is going on around them. Studies suggest that around 25% of American children will experience trauma at least once before the age of 16, which is why it’s so vital to understand these individuals and how the trauma impacts their academic performance.

Look into Their Approach to Counseling Kids

It’s important to consider the counselor’s approach when it comes to helping children. A good counselor will have a positive and supportive attitude, and they’ll be able to help kids learn how to cope with stress. They should also be able to help kids develop healthy relationships by teaching them how their actions affect others, as well as themselves.

See What Kind of Environment Suits Them Most

You’ll want to find out what kind of environment they work best in. Some counselors prefer group settings because they can get to know a lot of students at once and help them all at the same time. Others prefer one-on-one sessions because they like having the chance to really get to know their clients and focus on just them. Still, others may be comfortable with a family session, which allows everyone (parents included) to have their needs met in one place.

Once you determine this, ask your potential counselor about their background and experience with your school’s particular population of students. A counselor who specializes in working with athletes will likely have very different strategies than one who specializes in working with girls or boys only.

If there are specific issues you anticipate facing as an administrator, it’s best if your counselor is already familiar with those difficulties so that they don’t have to learn everything from scratch.

Understand Their Communication Capabilities

You should also understand their communication capabilities. Ensure that they can communicate with students and parents, as well as teachers and other school staff members. It’s also important to make sure they will be able to communicate effectively with each other in a group therapy setting.

See How Well They Deal with Sensitive Issues

When it comes to selecting a counselor, you should also take the time to see how they deal with sensitive issues. A good way to do this is by asking them about their experience dealing with sensitive issues like bullying, suicide, and school shootings. They must also understand confidentiality and its importance when working with students in schools.

In America, more than 18% of high school students consider harming themselves at least once during high school. Besides, school shootings are also common in this country to the point where shooting drills might one day become a part of the U.S. school curriculum. So, you must hire someone who can handle talking about these sensitive issues with students.

That’s all for this article. If you’re hiring a school counselor anytime soon, check back on these points, and ensure your preferred candidate ticks all the boxes.

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