So you’re interested in a career helping kids? Good for you. Society can always use more people dedicated to helping others regardless of the specific populations. There’s always someone suffering somewhere, and anyone devoted to eradicating it deserves recognition and support. A career helping children is quite admirable. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of career paths available to those passionate about helping needy kids and families–although there are enough that it might also seem overwhelming!
Editors at Affordable Colleges published a fairly comprehensive article highlighting 25 degree pathways for working with kids. That’s an excellent resource full of insights relevant to your research. As you might expect, some professions involve more frequent and direct child interaction than others, and each career path produces very specific benefits. Careers in elementary education, secondary education, school counseling, and social work, might be especially appealing because of the types of relationships you can forge with others.
Take school counseling, for instance, which is commonly taken for granted. That’s because the general public often misinterprets the role of school counselors. Some perhaps even underestimate the value of having counselors available to students. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) explains that “school counselors are an important part of the educational leadership team and provide valuable assistance to students regardless of whether they work in an elementary school or middle school, high school or beyond.” School counselors are in a prime position to support kids and aid them in their journey to adulthood and full autonomy.
Training for your career
So how do you get there? The first step is investigating the relevant school counselor requirements. The major prerequisite is having an advanced degree in school counseling and/or a related field (e.g., clinical psychology, childhood education, etc.). Obtaining your master’s or doctorate degree will enable you to both specialize and increase your salary range. However, it’s probably best to focus more on specialization than the monetary returns.
You should also be sure to compare different program options. There’s no shortage of graduate degree programs to explore. The most important thing is to carefully weigh the pros and cons associated with each choice. One final suggestion is to read what Rebecca Cordisco published on Counseling Today about surviving your first year as a school counselor. She highlights some salient career points that weren’t covered during her time as a graduate student. You might find some of her topics intriguing, at the very least.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” — Edward Everett Hale