What is the Best Degree To Get To Become a School Counselor?

There is no single best degree to get to become a school counselor. Your educational path will depend on your long-term career goals and the programs available to you. You can succeed as a school counselor with training from a range of disciplines. In fact, most departments seek out diverse backgrounds among counselors, so you should choose a subject you’ll enjoy studying. Here are four of the most common degrees for school counselors to get you started on thinking about your educational goals.


Earning a B.A. or B.S. in Psychology is a great foundation for a career in school counseling. Almost every class you’ll take in this degree will be useful. Lifespan development courses are helpful for understanding how your students grow cognitively, and organizational psychology will make it easier to manage student interest groups and administrative concerns. Counseling-specific classes will make you a better communicator and mentor.


Studying teaching pedagogy will help you be an effective school counselor in several ways. First, you’ll know how to lead class discussions as a visitor. Second, you’ll be able to relate to your educator partners and create appropriate strategies for working together. Third, you’ll understand the political considerations of working in a school environment because you’ll have experienced them first-hand. As a bonus, you can always have teaching as a back-up plan if you don’t like counseling or struggle to find work in the field.

Public Administration

In many school counselor jobs, you’ll be working at a public school. Even if you work for a private facility, training in public administration will come in handy. This degree teaches you to balance budgets, manage staff and address policy concerns. It trains you to be an effective leader in a public service role. You can supplement a master’s in public administration (MPA) with undergraduate education in psychology, education or counseling. Plus, you’ll have a high level of flexibility with this training; you can easily transition into a role in your school’s administration.

School Counseling

Educational requirements for becoming a school counselor vary by state, according to the American School Counselor Association. Some jurisdictions want you to have an education degree or training in psychology. If you plan to move during your adult life, it’s hard to know what to study to remain in the field. A Master’s in School Counseling degree will be appropriate in almost every state, because it specifically targets the skills you need for the role. You’ll learn how to provide compassionate counseling to individuals and groups, sociocultural factors that influence student decision-making and psychological needs as well as learning about the history of school counseling. In most programs, you’ll complete a supervised research experience and an internship, both of which will make you a more attractive job candidate. Many school counseling students are hired by their internship site or on the strength of their research projects.

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Some of the best school counselors have unusual backgrounds and experiences that can make it easier to relate to a range of students. The best degree to get to become a school counselor is a degree that you’ll find affordable, enjoyable and motivating.