School counselors play an important role in the school system. They work closely with the entire school community: administration, teachers, staff, parents, and students. For some children they are an ear to listen to, others, they are the person who sets them on the right path and others they are the one who helps them get into the Ivy League school.
School counselors, also sometimes called guidance counselors, support children, and their academic and personal development by guiding them towards making the best choices and offer support to administration during times of difficulty.
School counselors, like many in the education field, are often prone to wear many hats. They need to be educated not only in development and academics, but they need to be certified counselors as well. They need to possess strong organizational skills and be able to dissolve conflicts.
Those who seek a career in school counseling are apt to experience a rewarding yet challenging career, but you need a good resume to be hired. See our full sample resume at the bottom and make use of the tips and examples provided in this article.
Resume objective for school counselor
When writing your objective you should showcase your compassion and human connection as well as your education and skills within education. If you have examples of positive outcomes with a student or school system you can list them here. You can also list initiatives you led, such as the anti-bullying campaign, or positive self-image campaign.
Your objective section is an excellent place to mention any special needs and diversity experience you have. More and more schools are looking for people who can work with diverse populations and help students from different backgrounds come together and appreciate one another.
Highlight how your cocktail of skills sets you apart from others. You want to show the school that you are the perfect mix of knowledge and experience.
Passionate school counselor with 5 years of experience working in a diverse population. I am seeking a new position in which I can use my knowledge of education and my passion for helping students achieve their goals.
Resume skills for school counselor
The list of skills a school counselor could and should possess is practically endless.
School counselors need to be aware of social-emotional development, academic development, parent-communications, and ways to communicate with children and teens.
In your skills section, you will want to highlight both your technical skills as well as your soft skills as both sets are relevant to this career.
Classroom Guidance | Conflict Resolution | Student Placement & Scheduling | Academic & Career Assessment
School counselor work experience
Your work experience is going to showcase all the places and ways you’ve put your knowledge into practice. In this section, you can list all the various ways you have supported the school staff and children.
If you have no experience talk about your passion and list the goals you wish to implement and carry out once in a counseling position.
If you participated in a school counseling internship or have related experience with children it should also be listed here.
Sample Work Experience
John Adams High School, New York City, NY
School Counselor, 2015-2020
During my time at John Adams, I worked with a diverse student body of over 400 children. I assisted in the placement of children in level based courses, including AP and technical/career-centric.
- Counseling services provided to students
- College and Career Advisement
- Contributed to monthly School Newsletter
- Chair of the LGBT Student Organization
School counselor education
The degree to obtain a position as a school counselor is a master’s. The master’s degree will need to be in counseling, school counseling, or educational psychology.
Before earning that, however, candidates for this career should seek a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as psychology, education, counseling, or teaching.
All states require a master’s degree to become a licensed state counselor. However, each state has different requirements as to what else you need in addition to your master’s degree to be eligible for a position.
School of Psychology
Master of Science in Counseling, 2002-2005
- Concentration: Child Development and Psychology
If you earned a degree in psychology or similar field chances are you already knew you wanted to work with and help people in some capacity; therefore, many of your classes may be applicable to list. You will need to hone down your wealth of knowledge so that you can showcase that you are a perfect fit for the position.
When applying for a counseling position list those that are most relevant. For example, if you are applying for an elementary school position, courses in early childhood development would be more relevant than if you applied for a high school post.
- Psychology of Emotion and Motivation
- Decision Making/Problem Solving
- Stereotyping and Prejudice
- Language and Thought
In order to become a school counselor, there are a few paths you can take. All of them require certifications. These will vary by state, so check with yours to see what the requirements are.
Most will require either a state teaching license or a National Board of Certified Counselors certificate. On a school counseling resume, you may also wish to include a section after your certifications that list associations.
Educators often belong to one or more professional associations and while this doesn’t show that you have advanced training or expertise in the field, it will demonstrate your dedication to staying abreast of the current career-related science and research.
Some professional associations you may consider joining would be the National Association for the Education of Young Children, The American School Counselor Association, and The Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling.
- State of Maryland Teaching License
- National Board of Certified Counselors certificate
Complete school counselor resume sample
Now that we’ve delved into what it takes to become and create a stellar school counselor resume, we will take a look at an actual job posting and example resume.
When taking a look at this job posting it is easy to see that this position requires a lot of experience. It also highlights how the school counselor needs to work equally well with parents, students, and staff.
The job posting also points out it is seeking someone who has experience with a diverse group of students and knowledge of child and adolescent development.
Compassionate and knowledgeable School Counselor with 12 years of experience. I am seeking a post in which I can guide and assist teens through difficult social issues and prepare them for work and college. Experience in grief and life skills coaching as well as anti-bullying.
Conflict Management | Experience in high stress situations | Proficient at Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint | Teen psychology | Active Listening
- National Board of Certified Counselors certificate
- 500 clock hours in Counselling, State of MD
Annapolis High School, Annapolis, MD
School Counselor, 2006-2010
Responsible for implementing a new progress tracking system for students. I oversaw the Diversity Club student organization and led workshops on racism and cultural diversity.
- Oversaw differentiated instruction
- Provided emotional support to students
- Provided Grief and Life Event Counselling
- Led workshops and seminars on Anti-bullying, gender, LGBT Teens, and Teen suicide prevention
Annapolis Middle School, Annapolis, MD
School Counselor, 2002-2006
Responsible for offering guidance services to children, assisting 6th graders during beginning year transitions and providing input to parents and teachers.
- Provided Sex Ed materials and classes
- Helped children work through conflicts and behavior issues
- Worked as a liaison between staff, parents and admin
- Provided Grief and Life Even Counselling
- Taught classes on Anti-bullying
Sheppard Pratt Health Systems, Baltimore, MD
School Mental Health Intern, 2000-2002
I assisted the mental health therapist in all duties including in school assessments, treatment planning, implementation of treatment and parent and teacher meetings.
- Knowledge of Educational and Developmental Assessments
- Crisis Intervention
- Detailed Progress Notes
- Consultation and Collaboration with teachers
- Family Psychotherapy
University of Maryland
Master of Science in Counselling, 1998-2000
University of Maryland
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, 1994-1998
- Social Psychology
- Positive Psychology
- The Psychology of Thrill Seekers
- Adolescent Development
- Impact of Trauma on Mental Health
School counselors can make a huge difference in a child’s or teen’s education and life. They sometimes serve as the person to talk to when a child feels they have nowhere else to turn.
School counselors should possess empathy, active listening skills, and a deep foundation of knowledge in psychology and development.
School counselors also need to be invested in their continuing education to remain on top of trends in education and mental health.
- A minimum of a Master’s Degree is required to become licensed.
- Each state has their own specifications and they may not all transfer
- You should possess a love of children, helping others and education
Tips from Experts
“Adolescents need freedom to choose, but not so much freedom that they cannot, in fact, make a choice.” – Erik H Erikson, Development Psychologist
“What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow.” – Lev Vygotsky, Psychologist, Child Development
Without school counselors where would many of us be? While some students never grace the counselor’s doorway, others rely on them for a variety of needs.
School counsellors are often remembered by those students as being the one person who helped them through a challenging time.
It can be a challenging career, it is not simple to gain entry, but by applying some elbow grease and working your way through years of education you can set yourself on the path towards success.