What can a school counselor do? Alternative career options for school counselors and school social workers

What Can A School Counselor Do? Alternative Career Options

Abbey Vogt

While the main demographic of our audience at Teacher Career Coach is classroom teachers, our team is often asked “What can a school counselor do?” 

If you need help leaving the classroom, check out the Teacher Career Coach CourseThis step-by-step guide has helped thousands with a transition from teaching. Save time and get support with every step of picking a new path, rewriting your resume, and answering tricky interview questions.

When we receive messages from school counselors, social workers, and other guidance professionals within schools, our advice is not much different than what we suggest for classroom teachers. Working in a school setting requires many of the same skills from a variety of positions: tracking data, creating materials, planning, communication, collaboration, etc. 

Therefore, school counselors and social workers can apply for the same types of roles we recommend for classroom teachers. As a school counselor, however, you have an additional set of skills to bring to a new position as well. 

Transferable Skills Of A School Counselor 

When beginning the search for a new career, it is important to recognize your transferable skills. What skills do you have, and use in your current position, that can transfer to a different type of role? 

School counselors and social workers have many skills that can transfer into a new career. Here are some of those skills to focus on when you are rebranding your expertise to apply outside of education: 

  • Communication 
  • Empathy 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Tenacity 
  • Listening skills 
  • Adaptability 
  • Organization 
  • Data analysis 
  • Collaboration 

A school counselor can do so many different things and wear many hats in one day, all while keeping their cool. Counselors and social workers have a strong desire to help people succeed, the ability to think on their feet, and a passion for advocating for families and communities. 

As you begin to realize all the transferable skills you have as a school counselor, you also need to recognize that these skills will allow you to succeed in a different career as well. If you are exploring options outside of a school setting, start believing that other companies and organizations would be lucky to have you—because they would! 

12 New Career Possibilities Similar to a School Counselor 

Since school counselors have similar transferable skills to teachers, they can pursue the same types of roles outside of the classroom. However, if you have a strong passion for the counseling profession, there are several avenues that are similar to being a school counselor—just outside the education realm.

Whichever path you choose to take after school counseling, keep in mind that some alternative careers may require specific certifications or degrees. Always read the job description and make sure you are qualified for the position to which you are applying. Here are some suggestions of alternative jobs for school counselors and social workers: 

  1. Academic advisor 
  2. Community service coordinator 
  3. Substance abuse counselor 
  4. Caseworker 
  5. Outpatient therapist 
  6. Mental health technician 
  7. Admissions counselor 
  8. Health educator 
  9. Mental health counselor 
  10. Social service manager 
  11. Juvenile justice counselor 
  12. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor 

Alternative Jobs For A School Counselor 

While some school counselors might be interested in a similar role outside of a school setting, other counselors and social workers may be looking for something completely different. A career transition is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone’s journey will be different, so make the choices that are best for YOU. 

The advice we give any educational professional when they reach out about where to begin in their career search is to think about your interests. Research other careers that fit your interests and strengths to get an idea of what you would succeed in and enjoy. 

While not all school counselors and social workers are the same, most of them enter the profession because they have a passion for helping people – start there. Think of roles outside of education where you are helping people and building relationships. Customer success, customer support, human resources, and non-profit roles are some positions that may be a great fit. 

If there is a specific demographic of people you are passionate about helping, try researching non-profit organizations or companies that fit your niche. Working for a company with a mission you truly support can make your career much more rewarding. 

Narrow Your Focus First 

While finding companies first based on your interests can be a great way to find roles that speak to your passions, keep in mind that narrowing your focus should be the first step. Applying to several different types of roles because you are desperate for any job outside of education is not going to impress hiring managers. 

Companies want to know that you are excited about the exact role you applied for, and you need to be able to explain to them why that is. Narrowing your focus to what type of role you want to pursue should be the first step.  

Market yourself enthusiastically for the job in front of you. Do you love planning and organization? Look into project manager roles. Are you an expert at building relationships and collaborating with a team? Customer success or human resources might be your path. 

It is so important as you begin the search for alternative jobs that you do your homework. Determine a clear path you want to take, and then produce a list of all the things you love about the role and why it would be a great fit for you as a former school counselor. 

Once you know the types of positions you want to look for, then circle back to your passion for a particular cause or demographic and start researching. 

Next Steps to a New Career 

If you are a school counselor or social worker struggling to determine what new career path is right for you, take our free career quiz to help you get started. Our resources can help school counselors, social workers, and other guidance professionals find a new path, in addition to classroom teachers. 

One of the biggest mistakes that we see people make is that they try to navigate this process alone. Often, they put off “researching” until the very last minute. Which sets them up for a very stressful application season. Teacher Career Coach wants to help you get some clarity in the options available to you. To know EXACTLY what you need to do (and not do) in order to get your foot in the door. 

You don’t have to do this on your own. 

With the help of an HR expert with over 10 years of experience and a team of former teachers, Daphne has created a guide to support you in the early stages of your transition out of the classroom. Tap the button below to learn more. 

Step out of the classroom and into a new career, The Teacher Career Coach Course