Modern day counselling can help channelise one’s energies positively. In today’s world of competition, pressures and deadlines, counsellors play a vital role in shaping the life of children. Counselling of all types — school counselling, career counselling, or even clinical counselling involves a great deal of listening, giving direction, and a lot of patience.
The areas in psychology that are covered at the graduate level include general and social psychology, statistics, abnormal/clinical psychology, industrial and organisational psychology and developmental psychology. Students can become counsellors by doing their Master’s. They can also pursue certificate and diploma programmes by NCERT and Ignou.
With CBSE making it compulsory for all schools to have counsellors on board, school counselling has become a preferred career choice among psychology graduates.
“Fresh psychology graduates like school counselling as they can help children enhance their personality, perspective, help with exam related stress and talk to parents,” says Mamata Sharma, senior counsellor, DPS RK Puram.
School counsellors rarely join the profession with dreams of making the big money; they do, however, make a good living. “If a student is thinking of making a lot of money then counselling is not the right job. Students take this field more out of emotional satisfaction and gradually make a place for themselves in this field,” she adds.
Talking about the role of a school counsellor, Sharma says, “School counsellors have to keep in mind the aspirations of the child and give them the right direction. It involves listening, getting the information, comprehending the information, understanding the temperament of the child among others, and then guiding them in the right direction,” she says.
“After students finish their education, they apply to schools and based on their grade: TGT, PGT etc, their salary is fixed. Students with an MA in psychology get more salary as compared to the students who become school counsellors right after graduation. A primary counsellor could get anywhere between Rs 20,000 and 25,000. A middle school counsellor could get anywhere between 30,000 and 35,000 and a senior counsellor would get more than 40,000,” informs Sharma.
This field is emerging as an important area because a career counsellor can do both general and career counselling.
“Choosing a career is not based on a whim. One has to make an informed choice knowing one’s strength and weakness and career counsellors provide students with a range of options to choose from,” says Usha Albuquerque, a career counsellor who has been guiding students for a long time.
A career counsellor has almost similar approach to tackle things like a normal counsellor. So, how are they different? “Career counsellors understand people, empathise with them and at the same time they do a study on careers. They have to be well-informed about the emerging areas, upcoming careers, why a particular area is popular, where can students study according to their abilities,” she says.
One’s credibility is important in this field and it takes a long time to build it. “One gradually builds one’s credibility. One has to have the maturity and confidence that they will not be carried away by what they hear. Also, we conduct certain psychometric tests that help students.”
In terms of the career graph, Albuquerque says that usually when it comes to freshers opting for career counselling, they begin as school counsellors. “Freshers first attach themselves with school and with time and experience, if they want, they can get into career counselling,” concludes Albuquerque.
“We took our child to the career counsellor after she gave her class XII exam. We wanted her to get into English (Hons) but she wanted to do Geography (Hons). Initially, we weren’t open to the idea of taking her to a career counsellor but then we decided to find out a way to help her whether she takes English or geography. We weren’t sure about the scope of geography as a subject and what kind of job opportunities would be available after she finishes her graduation. The career counsellor helped us by guiding about the opportunities and cleared all our doubts. We are happy that we took our daughter to the career counsellor and now things are pretty clear,” says a parent.
Primary school counsellor:
Rs 20,000 - 25,000
Middle school counsellor:
Rs 30,000 - 35,000
Senior school counsellor:
Over Rs 40,000