I LOVE kids BUT I don’t want to teach…

I LOVE kids BUT I don’t want to teach…

What do you do when you love working with kids, but you don’t think teaching is right for you? Analyzing your options is an important part of exploring careers and I’m here to tell you that if you love working with kids, there are so many ways to do that in a career that is meaningful and the right fit for you. Some careers you may have considered are counselor, psychologist or social worker roles, this blog will help you explore those options.

Here is a sneak peak of the differences between a school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker. There are of course nuances to everything but this blog should give you an idea of what you want to dive into deeper.

School Counselors conduct small group counseling, large group developmental interventions, and vocational and career development. They often offer appraisal and advising, and classroom lessons promoting academic success, college/career readiness, and social/emotional development of all students. This is likely the person who helped you explore your college options when you were in high school.

School Psychologists provide individual behavior/personality and ability assessment, organizational consultation. They often conduct assessments and screenings, intelligence tests, determines eligibility for special education services, and provides referrals for external assistance. Depending on the support in the school district, they can sometimes provide mental health or behavioral counseling in collaboration with teachers, administrators, or other school personnel.

School Social Workers identify students at risk, provide early interventions, problem solving services to students, parents, school personnel, and community agencies. School Social Workers are trained mental health professionals who can assist with mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic, and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents, and administrators as well as provide individual and group counseling/therapy.  School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district’s ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school and community collaboration is the key to achieving student success. ​

It’s important as you explore your options to speak with professionals in these different roles to get a sense of how they spend their days and what support they offer to students. You will find that each school district will be different in terms of the roles and support positions, and that each state has different requirements when it comes to certifications and licenses required for each role.

Research is important! Use this blog as the jumping off point and dive deeper to figure out how you can support students.

Here are some additional resources,

https://www.brandman.edu/news-and-events/blog/school-psychologist-vs-school-counselor 

https://www.sswaa.org/school-social-work

https://teach.com/online-ed/counseling-degrees/School-Psychologist-vs-School-Counselor/

By Lexie Avery, MS '15
Lexie Avery, MS '15 Assistant Director, Early Engagement and Exploration Lexie Avery, MS