Are guidance counselor job opportunities growing or declining?

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Host

Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most guidance counselor opportunities?

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sisophous in Brooklyn, New York

77 months ago

What I have experienced in my state is a growing number of people certified with Masters degrees in School counseling at a pace that far exceeds the number of job openings for school counselors. Universities/colleges are businesses, they want to make money and frankly do not care if there are too many people certified in a field, they want your money, that's why they advertise so heavily, to recruit students. That's why they offer so many degrees and specialties. As I mentioned in an earlier post to a thread on Guidance Counselors, a school in Long Island, New York received over 500 resumes for one counselor position opening, this is not unusual either. That's a bad sign if you want to find employment. If I knew years ago what I know now I would never have invested my time, effort and money into earning a Masters degree in School Counseling as it has not paid dividends, only brought me aggravation and frustration in my job search. It boils down to who you know, not what you know or your credentials when it comes to landing a job at the base level. Hope this helps.

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sisophous in Brooklyn, New York

77 months ago

colcoho in Jamaica, New York said: This is true. I think the only solution to this issue is that NYS pass laws to governer school counselors, such as three years of teaching experience before becoming a school counselor.

I don’t believe the universities or the States really care about the students who have earned degrees but can’t find work. Their attitude is that’s your problem and believe degree holders should return to school and get certified in additional areas to make themselves more marketable. I wanted to work as a substitute teacher in New York City and was told I have to be certified as a teacher, not just hold a New York State Teaching certificate as a School Counselor. In other words, you have to be certified in a specialty to enter the field in the public school system. Let’s be reasonable, I don’t mind having to earn a Masters degree in this specialty before applying for a School Counseling position, that requirement is legit, but how much schooling does one need? This is the field of education (not higher education), it is not Neurosurgery where I should have to spend years getting trained before entering the workforce.

To the original poster I think your best chance to get hired as a school counselor is in a rural area away from the city or large metropolitan areas. There's just too many people with degrees and not enough job openings making it a bad field to pursue UNLESS you know someone who will assist you in getting through the door.

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kim in Houston, Texas

76 months ago

not true in texas

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looking for a job in southern NJ in Lafayette, Louisiana

76 months ago

I am a grad student finished with classes and working towards my internship. I do not work in the education field so I am low man on the pole. I plan on subbing hoping to get more experience and praying for work. But also know my degree is not just for schooling, it branches out to other sectors. Such as college counseling at a University or maybe I am just trying to be optimistic.

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sisophous in Brooklyn, New York

76 months ago

looking for a job in southern NJ in Lafayette, Louisiana said: I am a grad student finished with classes and working towards my internship. I do not work in the education field so I am low man on the pole. I plan on subbing hoping to get more experience and praying for work. But also know my degree is not just for schooling, it branches out to other sectors. Such as college counseling at a University or maybe I am just trying to be optimistic.

Good luck, I wish you well. I served my counseling internships at both New York City High Schools and at a College Counseling Center. Landing a job in a high school is difficult enough but getting employed at a college counseling center is extremely difficult unless you have a connection. Most colleges want applicants for a counselor position to have a PhD, not just a Masters degree and want several years of experience before even considering you. At Lehman College, a large city university in the Bronx, NY, they only had I believe one full-time employee in their counseling center and the rest were all part-time employees. My suggestion to anyone who truly wants to enter the counseling field is to be prepared to volunteer your time after serving your internship in order to get your foot in the door at a school. I figured my internships would be enough experience to get hired but this was not the case. There are just too many people with degrees and not enough job openings to meet the demand. It is not a field to enter if getting hired full-time immediately upon graduating is your priority.

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BadOccupation in New Rochelle, New York

74 months ago

While enrolled in a school counseling program at my college, I had a professor who taught and also worked as a counseling director at a Long Island High School. One day she mentioned to our class that she received over 500 resumes for a single job opening at her high school. That should have raised a red flag to immediately drop this program but instead I wasted my time and money to earn this useless degree thinking it would eventually pay dividends. It did NOT!

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Littlesdelsol93 in Riverview, Florida

73 months ago

i think this really sucks, because most of us work our ass off to get our masters, let alone pay a boat load of money, later to find we are not landing positions. A lot of my fellow classmates think they are going to get a job right away, i do not count on it. I spoke to a local college rep in my area who gave me a connection within the school district in the area. i will take any contact i can get! But in the meantime, i plan on falling back on my bach. in psychology and go back into the mental health field as i continue to look for a job in guidance counseling. Florida has declined very much in educational opportunities, so i am not holding my breath and i plan to relocated ANYWHERE!

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sisophous in New York, New York

73 months ago

Yes it does suck to put it mildly. I spent a total of $20,670 to earn my MA in school counseling in 05', that includes everything, fees, fingerprinting, tuition, books and seemingly endless miscellaneous expenses. I'm not even permanently certified, only provisionally having earned 43 of the 60 required. Classmates who have contacts at a specific school will likely get a job knowing that strings will be pulled for them. Those who do not have someone to assist them will find out the hard way how frustrating their search will become. It isn't likely to be easier to find employment outside one's state either. States have different requirements to work as a school counselor and schools may be hesitant to even grant you an interview when they have tons of applicants with degrees earned from within their state. Most of the resumes sent out I truly believe are not even read, they get placed in a folder and eventually are discarded.

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lessman65@hotmail.com in College Point, New York

72 months ago

colcoho in Jamaica, New York said: This is true. I think the only solution to this issue is that NYS pass laws to governer school counselors, such as three years of teaching experience before becoming a school counselor.

Sticker requirements are needed. It is the only solution and principal should not be able to hire school counselors. This should be done on from a list, etc. Too much discrimation, etc.

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sisophous in New York, New York

72 months ago

lessman65@hotmail.com in College Point, New York said: Sticker requirements are needed. It is the only solution and principal should not be able to hire school counselors. This should be done on from a list, etc. Too much discrimation, etc.

You are absolutely correct there should be some oversight of the school counselors so people who earn a degree and get certified are able to find work. The way things are now, schools can fill up their classes with students but the students will get an unwelcome surprise upon leaving when they can't find work. I don't think the State Education departments really cares about the counselors. Schools want to make a profit and attract students to their programs but offer little to no help in placement once the student finishes their programs. To the lucky few, someone will hand them the job while the faculty will go through all the phony motions of the interview process knowing full well who they picked in advance to fill openings. It's a vicious cycle for many.

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Brooklyn Guy in Brooklyn, New York

71 months ago

Exactly right. On the NYC DOE site there are guidance counselor jobs listed. But whenever I call the school they say either (a) it's a mistake; there is no opening; or (b) it's been filled. Bunch of liars.

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colocho in College Point, New York

71 months ago

You are so correct. Something has to be done. The school counselor association along with colleges should be working on stardards/test for one to become a counselor in NYS. You get the feelings that some people are promise jobs, even before completing the counseling programs. Believe me, this is happening and something should be done about this urgent matter. Principals should not be allowed to hire guidance counselors. This should be done through the district office or central board.

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hectorxc in Groton, New York

70 months ago

Ok I have noticed that a vast majority of the posts on here are from people from NYC. Here is a suggestion...move...there are jobs out there but in order to get them you may have to move somewhere else. I am tired of people sending out hundreds of resumes expecting something different to happen. The definition of insanity is trying the same the over and over expecting different results. If you didn't get an interview from the first 50..chances are you, your resume and/or your location may need to be changed.

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sisophous in New York, New York

70 months ago

hectorxc in Groton, New York said: Ok I have noticed that a vast majority of the posts on here are from people from NYC. Here is a suggestion...move...there are jobs out there but in order to get them you may have to move somewhere else.

Hector,

Makes sense until you see that the "basic" school counselor certification needed to work as a counselor is State by State, it is NOT a NATIONAL certification. Many states do have a RECIPROCITY agreement with other states whereby if you are certified in one state it can apply to the same certification in another state, with the same rights and privileges. I posted about this earlier in the thread and about my problems whereby New York State has a reciprocity agreement with the State of Texas, only New York State Education department will not cooperate with the Education Department of Texas. I was specifically told by the Texas Board of Education (understandably so) I need a letter from the NYS Board of Ed that I am certified as a School Counselor. And guess what, I requested it from the NY State Board of Ed and they basically told me to get lost, they will not do it, with no explanation. You are trying to make sense out of a field that has none. People who earn certification in one state had better count on finding their first job within that state, and that state alone.

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hectorxc in Trumansburg, New York

70 months ago

colocho in College Point, New York said: Sorry, but people just can't pick up and leave. People have families, which includes children. Yes, something needs to be done. Yes, I found a job after sending out more than 300 resumes, only to be excessed from my job and had to start looking for a guidance counselor job again. Yes, I repeated the process again, which included fax, emails, mailing and going to school directly. Yes, I did landed another job at a high school in NYC.

colocho...then what is the problem you found a job congrats!?

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hectorxc in Trumansburg, New York

70 months ago

I guess for me the problem here is that you are all complaining that you can find work. I get that you can't move...but at the same time if you are living in one of the most expensive places in the country and you can't find a job...I would think moving maybe a priority. If you can’t move out of state then to a less expensive more rural place. Oh and if I understand correctly NYS didn't allow you to go to Texas...while can you not report this? Does NYS not have RECIPROCITY agreements with other states? What about contacting your school where you obtained the degree and asking for help. Often if an organization is involved you get more help. Instead of discouraging people into not going into a major...I just think we have to help empower them. I mean that is after all the most basic responsibility of a School Counselor.

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sisophous in New York, New York

70 months ago

hector,
Until you deal with the NYS Board of Ed, best to not comment on them. Yes, NY does have a reciprocity agreement with a few other states but you need the NYS Board of Education cooperation to get joint certification in other states. The NYS Board of Education is notorious for being uncooperative, and downright miserable people to deal with. Send them a letter and it takes months to get a reply and then they more often don't actually address the concern. Report them????? To whom? No one frankly cares, they do as they wish, it is a big bureaucracy, much like big government, red tape, nothing gets done, nothing gets improved, nothing changes for the better. And yes, it is a good thing to empower students. That is what many of us have been doing here. Warning people and awakening them as to the real world. Telling them the truth, not some false glossy picture that colleges and administrations spew out. Also, the colleges and universities for the most part are useless in assisting students in finding employment in the school counseling field. The best they usually do is say contact principals at schools which rarely will get you an interview. We thought of that already. If someone in NY knows a school that truly assisted them, please share it.

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hectorxc in Trumansburg, New York

70 months ago

No I think you have all been focusing on the negative rather then the positive. Is it hard to find a job... especially because we are in a recession.....however, telling potential students not to do a career because of your bad experience isn't helping them and it is definitely not empowering. For every post that is on this page there are 10 people who had an amazing experience within this field. Yes I get that the Board of Education is difficult….I have dealt with them by the way. However, all organizations that are corporate, private or government run are. Its just how it works...that is why I suggested if you are all this upset writing a petition to the governor, contacting your schools, making yourself heard instead of spreading negativity.

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colocho in College Point, New York

70 months ago

Exellent suggestion.

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colocho in College Point, New York

70 months ago

Long Island University.

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sisophous in New York, New York

70 months ago

hector,

I think you are posting on the wrong thread/topic. It is about "school counseling job opportunities". It is not about positive experiences as a school counselor. People researching this field may end up reading this thread and become empowered. I only speak about New York State, and there are many from my state with similar experiences. Tuition is extremely costly, not to mention the time and effort it takes to earn certification and people should be aware of the difficulty breaking into this field.

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colocho in College Point, New York

70 months ago

It is a problem because many people cannot find jobs. I think national certification is necessary.

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sisophous in New York, New York

70 months ago

colocho in College Point, New York said: Long Island University.

Thanks for mentioning this. That says a lot about this school and they deserve praise. Perhaps a student will enroll at LIU after your post, I would have. Nice to know some schools do care about students and not just taking their money and passing out the degree.

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dbj2k in Rochester, New York

69 months ago

reading this is an echo of what I'm going through right now in many ways. I live in Rochester, have 2 Masters from separate colleges and five years experience working in Residence Life in Higher Education, and have applied anywhere in New York state where I saw a job opening. I have so far been able to get a job for 5 1/2 weeks as a long-term substitute school counselor. period. and that is since I started job searching in December of 2007.

I have had some interviews. if I get a phone call rejecting me, I've asked "What can I do to improve?" I have been told time and time again one simple thing...."You did nothing wrong, we hired someone with more job experience." that includes interviewing for substitute positions. I've applied to rural districts, I've even applied to a district in Pennsylvania where the graduating class is 35 and only one counselor in the school. I'm expecting to hear the same thing.

I contacted for my former adviser...she told me that 2 people of this graduating class found jobs. One I believe took a part-time school counseling job in a local district. that's it. out of 10 to 12. the previous year. I was one of 2 that did not find a job.

it really seems to boil down to 2 things for finding a job in the schools now...

1. who you know (or who you blow). period. if you don't know anyone, you're screwed. I applied for permanent jobs where, when school just started, it took five business days from the deadline for applications to the date of the rejection letter. five business days. tell me this district didn't have someone chosen before the interview process. yay nepotism.

2. you need to have experience to get anything. period. which creates a catch-22 so to speak. you can't get job experience without a job, but no one will hire you without experience. and keep in mind, this is the case for me when I apply for substitute positions as well. I don't have experience, so I'm not getting hired. so good luck!

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sisophous in New York, New York

69 months ago

Excellent post dbj2k, thanks for your input.

People with degrees would hope to expect a more level playing field but that is not the way the real world works.

There is a glut of people with counseling degrees and just not enough job openings to fill the supply out there searching for employment. If you figure some counselors have caseloads as large as 400-500 students it becomes more understandable why schools do not need many counselors compared to the need for teachers. And, even finding a job as a teacher in some fields can be rough.

Your point that you must know someone to get hired is spot on right. Networking may help in some cases, but the job candidate needs someone who can actually pull strings and actually get them to fill a vacancy. Most of the interview process is nonsense and the candidate has already been chosen prior to even the first interview being held. I've seen this in the corporate world too, companies posting vacancies, accepting applications to no end, meanwhile they already know who has the job well in advance of even posting the opening.

It's a wake up call for those who have not experienced the real world.

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dbj2k in Rochester, New York

69 months ago

thanks for the comments....so many things in education seem to, I don't know, backwards almost.

communities love to talk about supporting education, but where is the actual support? I've been in districts where the Superintendent went to a counselor and said "Your national standards advocate a comprehensive program...I want to see one." the counselor replied "True, as part of the program, its recommended 200 to 250 students per case load. I currently have 350, can we fix this?"

the Superintendent told the counselor something like "Don't get pissy about it," and left.

people want the benefits, but since counselors really lack any "pull" (if you read No Child Left Behind, not one mention of counselors), we are the low end.

the other backwards, almost hypocritical part of education, in my eyes, is how education as a field advocates a "level playing field" for everyone and doing what is necessary to help the students succeed, but to get in the field, honestly, it is not a level playing field. Nepotism and "Who you know" plays too much into the hiring and selection process. someone like myself, being the first person in my family trying to get into education, will struggle beyond belief and may never get into the field. however, someone from a family of teachers, who may be less qualified than myself, will get right in. all due to pull.

I know a lot of this is complaining about how tough it is to get a job as a school counselor....maybe this is showing a bigger problem. Education as a field may need an overhaul to "level the playing field" it so often loves to say it does. the hiring process itself may be flawed, where people can get a job based on who they know, not what they know. here and in Canada, BTW (I know someone there struggling as well).

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sisophous in New York, New York

69 months ago

Indeed there are many schools that are not good places to work. In a time when it is extremely difficult to even find employment as a school counselor, the schools know this and many take advantage of the counselors who have no backing from administration. It is not uncommon for a school counselor to have a caseload of 300 students and in addition have to teach social skills courses. Administration can preach what they want, but if you overload the counselors it is ultimately the students that pay and get denied attention. Much of this "Comprehensive School Counseling program" is nothing more than "LIP SERVICE", much like the "No Child Left Behind Act". As I've been told by many school counselors, there are only so many hours in a day to get done with the seemingly endless tasks and responsibilities.

As I mentioned earlier and you brought up, unless you know someone who can assist in landing a first job as a school counselor, it is not a field to pursue. Too many people are looking for work, with certification, but can't get hired. The interview process that schools conduct is more a formality being they know full well who is either been selected or is given priority.

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dbj2k in Rochester, New York

69 months ago

Sisphous,

I do echo many of your beliefs...and so many things I'm learning now, if I knew when I was exploring the option of getting a degree and going into school counseling, I probably would not have done so. I unfortunately am the first person in my family to try and get into education. with no family friends or any contacts really in the schools, well, I'm just getting rejected. and its getting to the point where I'm about ready to flip of the field of education and leave. I minus well be miserable and working instead of just miserable and part-time.

the part that really burns me, though, is I know what I can do. I worked as a long-term sub for 5 1/2 weeks (you would think that would have bearing...nope). and I've run into students I worked with when I was an intern....students that still remember me over a year later and thank me for all the help I gave them every time I see them. but I guess this few instances are all that I might be able to give education.

now maybe its time to contact my old college, see what they have to say, and suggest to them telling perspective students "Unless you know someone in the field, don't bother at all." its proving true...education is showing its hypocritical side to me as I continue to struggle to get in.

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sisophous in New York, New York

69 months ago

The Education field is just like a business but with no regulation in the number of degrees that can be passed out. The Medical field is a business but with regulation. There are only so many doctors that can work in a field so you don't hear about doctors unable to find work. I frankly see many in the field of education that don't care about others who can't find work. If you were to make a complaint to a State Board of Education they would more often tell you to return to school and get certified in another specialty where jobs are in demand such as Special Ed or the Math/Sciences. Easy for them to say, just get certified in another area to find work and throw away the time, money and effort you invested toward having already earned a degree. The Universities are more than happy to get returning students to pay tuition and enroll in another program. Colleges/Universities are in the marketing business and in competition for students to enroll in their programs so they will refrain from being honest with students and telling them the truth about getting hired in their specialty. Midway through my counseling program, I did have a professor mention to our class that she received over 500 resumes for a single counseling position opening at her High School where she also worked as a Director of counseling. Believe me, the students in my class were surprised and did not know how difficult it is to get hired as a counselor. A bit of honesty would go a long way, unfortunately the colleges keep it quiet for the most part and don't discuss what the students will eventually be facing in the job market.

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SCF24 in Valley Stream, New York

67 months ago

I am also one of the many graduates with a Masters in School Counseling without a job. Three and a half years have passed since I received my degree. I can not even imagine how many resumes I have sent out. It must be in the thousands. I have only had one interview for a middle school position and one for a college counselor position at my former college. I have also tried to use contacts that I have and have attended hiring fairs hundreds of miles away.

I wish someone would have told me the cold hard truth of what finding a job in this field would be like. I attended Long Island University along with several hundred other students going into the same field. When I attended their open house they quickly dismissed any concerns about finding a job upon graduation. They talked about all of the success of their graduates receiving job offers and how the field was growing and more counselors were going to be needed. When I was more than half way through my studies a professor told us the cold hard facts that only one in nine of us would find employment. Only one person that I keep in contact with is working in the field.

I truly believe all of these colleges only care about money. They are a business after all. I should have been warned of this during the application process. There were numerous things that were required including the typical form you fill out, three letters of recommendation, all of your college transcripts, a fee, and an essay about why you wanted to be a counselor. All I had submitted was my essay, application form, one of three transcripts, one of three recommendation letters, and of course the fee. Guess what, that very same day just hours later there was a message on my machine saying congratulations, you are accepted!

After over $30,000 not including years spent and hundreds of hours of interning...NOTHING! All I have is a big fat loan to pay off and a provisional certification that will run out soon.

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sisophous in New York, New York

67 months ago

SCF24,

If ever anyone made a post on this forum that summed up guidance counselor job opportunities you have done so as honestly and explicitly as possible. I can relate to each and every point you mention. If there is any consolation, you are not alone, my provisional certification is also going to run out soon. I chose not to return to school to earn additional credits and spend the thousands of dollars to take 6 remaining courses (18 credits) to get permanent certification in NYS. Thus far, it is the only right decision I made. Burn me once, your fault, burn me twice my fault.

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grad student in Woodstown, New Jersey

67 months ago

Sorry but i have to post this. My friend who has NO teaching experience, never been in a school except for her internship. She was a technical writer for a pharmaceautical company. Was laid off in 2007. Went to grad school to become a school guidance counsleor. Did 1000 counseling hours. Graduated. Took a substitute counselor position in her town (no commute) and just informed she has the job forever because the counselor she was subbing for is retiring. I am so happy for her but so mad.

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angie in Saint Louis, Missouri

67 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most guidance counselor opportunities?

Most guidance counselor positions are filled by teachers currently employed in the school or local district. This is particularly true at the high school level in my state. A teacher will obtain his or her Master's in Guidance or School Counseling and then they will fill the next opening. Unless you work in a school currently or have someone to network on your behalf--it could be a challenge to locate a position.

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sisophous in New York, New York

67 months ago

angie in Saint Louis, Missouri said: Most guidance counselor positions are filled by teachers currently employed in the school or local district. Unless you work in a school currently or have someone to network on your behalf--it could be a challenge to locate a position.

Yes, I found this out the hard way. I recall more than half my class taking a course worked at the university in some position (e.g. student adviser, security, financial aid adviser, administrative assistants) and received free tuition being they were employed by the institution. Or, in most cases the counseling students worked at local schools, usually as teachers. It is extremely difficult to compete with others who already have their foot in the door at schools where they work.

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Susan in Riverhead, New York

66 months ago

I don't believe that there will be any growth in this area for years and years. I would not advise anyone to enter this field. It is an expensive exercise in utility. I wish I had more positive feedback.

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sisophous in New York, New York

66 months ago

Susan in Riverhead, New York said: I don't believe that there will be any growth in this area for years and years. I would not advise anyone to enter this field. It is an expensive exercise in utility. I wish I had more positive feedback.

Susan is right, it is a tough field to enter. As for growth in school counselor job openings, yes, there will be growth as more schools open but employment opportunities will continue to shrink as there are too many degrees being handed out compared to far too FEW "ANNOUNCED" vacancies.

To repeat, from what I have seen, most people who get hired have a contact who brings them aboard at a school. The interview process for an entry-level school counselor (not a director) is bogus. There really are no candidates, someone is pre-selected well in advance yet the nonsense interviews go on AS A FORMALITY. The same charade takes place all the time at corporations, job openings are posted but managers know well in advance of interviews who they will be hiring for an opening.

I'm very thankful for this website to post a wake up call to all those out there who otherwise would be clueless about the REAL WORLD and how it operates.

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Kathy in Montgomery, Illinois

66 months ago

I just wanted to comment at how disappointing but also relieving to hear that Chicagoland is not the only part of the country having this problem with guidance counselors. I think what further complicates the issue in Chicago is that there are no school counselors at the elementary level - only social workers. So, unless there are counseling openings at the middle or high school level, then we're out of luck.

I actually received my Master's from Teachers College in New York. At least I have my license to be able to have my own private practice if I really wanted but I really want to be in a guidance position.

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Joe in Webster, New York

64 months ago

I just stumbled upon this site and it really freaked me out. I just applied to six programs and have already interviewed for three. This website alone is seriously scaring me out of going back to school. Still, I wonder how accurate everyone's "statistics" are here. How am I supposed to know if you all aren't bitter underachievers? Can someone provide factual evidence to support these claims? Every career website claims school counseling is a growing field with many job openings. This is the only place I've found anything negative pertaining to job openings in the field. I would love to have some cold, hard facts before I plunge into a program and potentially waste two or more years and tens of thousands of dollars. Thanks!

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Kathy in Montgomery, Illinois

64 months ago

Joe,

I can't speak for everyone, but I am not an underachiever. I really hope that whatever decision you make that it's not based on everything you read in this forum. If you really feel you would enjoy the job, I urge you to go for it. I do think it depends on the district, state, etc. in terms of how easy it is to find a position.

I think right now in this economy, any job is hard to come by. Unfortunately I don't have any statistics, but I search for guidance counselor positions every day in the Chicagoland area, and the jobs are just not there. Mostly what I see are jobs for school psychologist, special ed. teachers, and speech pathologists. What makes it more challenging where I live is that there are no school counselors in the suburbs in elementary schools...only social workers. Anyway, I speak mostly from experience and from years of talking to other counselors struggling with the same issue. What I typically hear is that even when a guidance position is posted, at that time, it's likely already been filled by a teacher who just completed a program to get his/her Type 73.

Something that just happened to me this week: I contacted this summer school coordinator last week explaining I had applied for a guidance position during summer school and that I was really interested. She said they would call me this week for an interview. Instead she sent me an email Monday saying they found someone in the district who wanted to take the position so they weren't going to do any interviews. I totally get why this would happen, but unfortunately it leads me and anyone else looking at that job to a dead end.

Honestly, if I could go back in time, I would probably have become a school psychologist. However, there is no knowing the future and there could eventually be a job shortage in that area. So right now going to school to be a guidance counselor might seem like a bad idea, but in a few years, the jobs might be there. Good luck!

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Joe in Webster, New York

64 months ago

I appreciate the response, Kathy. One good thing for me is that I'm not tied down. I don't mind moving, even out of state, for a job. Of course, many states require a teaching certification which I don't have, so...I don't know. I do really want to be a school counselor but I lack any outside experience in schools. Reading this forum makes me want to go out and apply for substitute teaching jobs ASAP just to make some connections before I go to grad school. I guess it couldn't hurt. Anyway, do you think a lot of people who have posted here are struggling a lot just because they want to remain local or do you think it's a national issue? A lot of people seem to be from downstate NY where schools are being overhauled and counseling jobs minimized. The NY school system in general is struggling majorly right now, but I suppose it's very similar in other states. This economy really needs to shape up. There are very few professions that are a sure thing right now. I don't want to be a nurse!

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mellowfe in Jacksonville, Florida

64 months ago

Hello, I'm really interested in becoming a school counselor, but after reading responses on this forum and other web sites I'm starting to reconsider. I'm a young veteran (26 years old, spent 5 years as a flight engineer in the navy) and am going to graduate this dec with a bachelors in elementary education from a small state school (University of North Florida). I always wanted to be a counselor which is why I got out of the military to pursue a education degree but I'm afraid that if I follow this route I'll end up with a masters in counseling and not be able to find a job.

My question is how much does your graduate school effect your chance at getting a job? I am seriously considering applying to Columbia teacher's college in NYC (Originally from nyc, have family in nyc, and would like to work there) since perhaps coming from a big name school will help me find a job over other graduates. Will this help at all or will I just find myself with a fancy degree from Columbia and no job? It seems to me that the counseling field is simply overweight with qualified graduates and limited jobs and the only thing I can think of to do is go to the biggest name school out there. Any thoughts?

Also is anybody here a counselor in Florida or go to a florida school? I'd like to see what you think since this is the area I am in right now. Thanks!

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Kathy in Bolingbrook, Illinois

64 months ago

Personally I do think it's a national issue, but definitely it's easier in some places. It would surely help that you are not tied down to a place. I do remember reading that school counseling was big in Pennsylvania, but can't remember why exactly.

I went to a job fair a month ago, and 20 districts were there interviewing, but most didn't have any guidance positions available. I think there were a total of about 4-5 guidance openings, and it freaked me out seeing that there were over a thousand prospective counselors trying to get those positions. Of course, while I do think it's a national issue, I'm sure it depends on the area. If I were you and open to moving wherever, I would not be as worried. The best advice I can give you is to network network network! My husband works for a community college and said he was talking to people in the career center yesterday. Apparently they are looking for some counselors, but have received over 500 resumes and they said after awhile they all start to look alike. It seems like mostly it's a crapshoot and who you know. Don't give up though if it's truly your passion.

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Kathy in Bolingbrook, Illinois

64 months ago

Funny - I went to Columbia University TC and it surely hasn't helped me. It just left me thousands of dollars in student loan debt. I have actually gotten the sense in some interviews that people might think I'm overqualified and will lost interest. I honestly don't think it matters where you go to school. Perhaps it depends on the state. Not sure what the job outlook is in Florida.

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angie in Saint Louis, Missouri

64 months ago

A guidance counselor position is usually filled by a teacher currently employed in a school district. It is very difficult to obtain a guidance position without being "known" by the school administration or principal. I recommend securing employment as a teacher and then transitioning into a guidance position after you have worked in a district for a few years. The teaching experience will be invaluable to you. The district will be able to see how you work as a member of a professional team and you will become familiar with the demographics or pertinent issues that the guidance counselor may deal with on a daily basis. Guidance does very little counseling in most districts. At the high school level there is course scheduling and college counseling. There are other wrap around services that unfortunately may border on the political. I believe a district will want to know you and get a feel for your level of diplomacy and maturity. A good way to get a foot in the door is through your internship experiences in graduate school. This is a great opportunity to network. When you are an intern--be sure to prove your usefulness to the school. Be proactive and make sure that you understand the stages of child/adolescent development to your students; and that you are able to apply this information to students. Hope this helps. I have been in this field for 15 years and it has not changed much.

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sisophous in New York, New York

64 months ago

Joe,

I don’t think people who earn a Masters degree are underachievers. I hold two Master degrees and have a solid work background in management, in a non-educational field yet when I am applying for counseling positions where often they receive 500 plus resumes for just one position the odds are stacked against me. I found it tough just to get an interview. Also, you will never hear a college/university try to discourage you from entering a program after all they are a business and want applicants. I did have a professor in my counseling program level with the class about the extreme competitiveness for just one opening at her high school where she was a director of counseling but other than this professor no one informed us that it would be difficult to find employment. I do not know if you would fair better in another state in finding employment but the problem appears to be national from comments on this forum.

Mellowfe,

I do not know if a prestigious school on your resume would make your job search any easier. I highly doubt it. At the entry-level, most schools would IMO not discern one individual from another based on where you earned your diploma. In my interviews I was specifically questioned about my internships I completed, whether I had training in child abuse issues and mainly social issues such as bullying where the school had to deal with such problems.

Some excellent points made by all the other posters, can’t argue or disagree with anything recently posted.

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Worried in NY in Bay Shore, New York

62 months ago

I am halfway through my Masters program at Alfred University (classes on Long Island), and after reading all your comments I am soooooo disillusioned...this is supposed to be a career changing field for me, as I was in the real estate field. Being in my early 50's I don't have the luxury of waiting a few years until the economy bounces back to land my first job.
I would love to work in NY, but it sounds like I won't be able to find anything, but does anyone know if NH, MA, CT, NJ, ME or VT is any different? What about other states as well...please give me any feedback on what you've found out!!! Thanks

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sisophous in New York, New York

62 months ago

Bay Shore NY,

It all boils down to contacts and whether you have a friend to help. If you know someone you can count on to hire you, then go ahead and earn the degree. If you don't know someone to assist you, I would move into a field of education where they need people despite your being halfway through your program. Working in other states in PUBLIC schools is likely to be more difficult to land a job than finding work in the state where you earn your degree unless you have substantial experience. I don't know about job opportunities outside of NY, but I have not heard from anyone nationwide that claims they can't find certified school counselors. Sorry for the grim news but tuition is so expensive it is better to NOT throw away money that could be put to better use. You will never get this advice from a school administrator because they are not living in the real world, most live in a plastic bubble.

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Nikkita in Carmel, New York

62 months ago

I graduated from The college of new rochelle in 2007 with a masters of science with a certification in school counseling. My ftahe is a well known teacher and coach in the community and has many connections. Unfortunately I have not had any luck. I have a few interviews,and was one of hundreds if applicants. I have sent out counntless resumes/cover letters no no avail. But I will keep trying...

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Nikkita in Carmel, New York

62 months ago

I graduated from The college of new rochelle in 2007 with a masters of science with a certification in school counseling. My father is a well known teacher and coach in the community and has many connections. Unfortunately I have not had any luck. I have a few interviews,and was one of hundreds if applicants. I have sent out counntless resumes/cover letters no no avail. But I will keep trying...

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