Guidance counselors are school counselors who provide students with guidance and support in terms of continuing education and careers. A guidance counselor can work in both public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. School guidance counselors’ training, certification, and other job responsibilities vary depending on their location. Although guidance counselors’ primary responsibilities are to prepare students for the next stage of their educations, careers, and lives, they can also assist students with personal and social skills. Typically, school counselors do not focus on these areas, instead delegating them to the school’s or district’s therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
The term “guidance counselor” usually refers to a specific type of student counselor. Within the various places of employment, different types of guidance counselors can be found. A school guidance counselor, for example, usually works as a middle school or high school counselor. However, guidance counselors are frequently employed elementary schools. Student counselors are typically not restricted to one type of school and can work in both the public and private sectors.
Guidance counselors have traditionally focused on assisting students in preparing for future careers. This can include assisting them in deciding on a career path based on their interests and strengths, as well as assisting them in selecting and applying to colleges or vocational programs where they can receive training for those careers. A guidance counselor may even assist his students in selecting secondary courses that are appropriate for the types of prerequisite education or training they will need to enter their preferred colleges or vocational schools, depending on the school. Some guidance counselors may also provide counseling in the students’ personal and social lives. Nonetheless, many schools now rely on school therapists, psychologists, or even psychiatrists to provide such services.
Educational specialists provide guidance counseling services in some countries, such as the United States and China. Classroom teachers in other countries, such as Japan and Mexico, combine guidance counseling with their regular teaching duties. Training and certification requirements for guidance counselors can vary depending on the location, regardless of the specific position title and any combined job duties. In the United States, for example, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the most important accreditation program. This means that the majority of people interested in pursuing a career in guidance counseling will enroll in colleges or universities that offer CACREP-accredited degree programs.