An academic advisor is someone who provides guidance to students who have questions about what they want to do in the future, and if you want to become an academic advisor, you must decide where you want to work and check the licensing requirements in your state. These professionals work with both high school and college students and may work in either a private or a public school. You must think about the steps you will need to take before you can work with those students.
Decide Where You Want to Work
Deciding where you want to work is one of the first things you need to do. You need to decide whether you would rather work with college students or high school students. Those working with high school students do many of the same things that guidance counselors do every day. They provide students with tests that help them pick out their future careers, talk with them about colleges and assist them with filling out college applications. Those working in colleges often help students pick out which classes to take each semester and ensure that they meet all the requirements for graduating from their programs.
If you want to become an academic advisor, keep in mind that you must go to both college and graduate school. Most counselors and similar professionals study psychology in college and then enter a school psychology grad program. Graduate programs offer on the job training in the form of internships and field experiences that you do in local schools. You’ll actually have the chance to talk with students and provide the same support you would as a full time advisor. Many colleges require that you do supervised fieldwork that lets a licensed counselor keep an eye on the work that you do.
Check for Licensing Requirements
As the requirements for working as an academic advisor can vary between states, it’s important that you check for the requirements in the state where you want to work. You may need to pass some type of background check that requires police officers do a full check over your criminal history. Some states also ask that you have some teaching experience before you begin advising, and other states ask that advisors and counselors have at least one year of supervised clinical work in their backgrounds.
Gain Some Experience
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the median salary for school and career counselors is around $53,600 a year. Before you decide to become an academic advisor and picture yourself making that much money a year, you should know that those making the most are the counselors who have more experience working with students and people in the same age range as their future students. You can get that experience in a number of different ways, including volunteering as a peer mentor in college, working in a tutoring center after school or coaching a high school sport.
Related Resource: Become an Educational Consultant
Academic counselors may not offer as much guidance and support as guidance counselors do, but they still help students figure out their career goals, decide what classes to take and prepare them for applying to college. Looking at the licensing requirements in your state and getting a college degree are just some of the steps you will take before you can become an academic advisor.