Get Ready for 2018! Maybe some of you wish 2017 could last a little bit longer and others are thankful that 2018 is almost here. Either way, the pressures of starting something new has hit, so let me ask you – what are your school counseling professional goals for 2018?
Professional Goals for a New Year
I do not want to pressure you nor do I want to add any stress to your life. So if your goal this year is to sit and drink margaritas on a beach, go for it. However, if you are not as fortunate and fall victim to the constant question when you head back to work: “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”, the pressure to choose something is real. If you have no idea what your school counseling professional goal is going to be, let me help.
Check out some professional development opportunities on a topic that has always interested you. What do YOU want to learn about? What interests YOU professionally? That’s what I love about professional development, it is a glimpse of a topic that you may want to learn more about in the future.
I feel like all my 2017 PD’s have been about data, data, data. So for 2018, I am going with something new. I moved to South Carolina and live near Fort Jackson Army Base. The district where I work is full of children that have a parent either active in the military or working for a government agency. I need to know more about my students and all I can about military family life.
There are tons of opportunities for professional development but as you know not all professional development is created equal. Make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck (and time). Here are some of my favorites to check out. Costs can vary depending on the organization (FREE – $100+)
Professional Development for School Counselors
Specialized Professional Development
For a little more of a challenge, become a specialist in a counseling topic that is of interest to you. Try the ASCA U Specialist Training. There are currently 12 topics to choose from, such as bullying prevention, or grief and loss. This is more intensive than a 2-day seminar. This option consists of readings, webinars, and quizzes. If you are a member of ASCA, the cost is only $99 and the designations are valid for 5 years. This is on my list for 2019 – yes that’s right 2019 – I need to finish up the next one first.
National Board Certification in School Counseling
Maybe you are thinking that this is the year that I am going to push myself to the next level of learning and data collection. Also, you have this desire to really focus on school counseling and all that it entails. If this sounds like what you want for 2018, you need seriously consider taking your National Boards in School Counseling.
Click here to find out if your state gives a monetary stipend or who you can contact to get more information in your state. Some states may give YOU money for the NBPTS components as well. When I first started this journey, I was working in Rhode Island and the State Department of Education paid for one of my components. There are four total components, but any money saved is worth it to me.
If you are wondering about how you can earn graduate credits and need someone to help you stay focused and pace yourself, consider registering for the Washington State University School Counseling NBPTS Program. This is the only program in the country and it doesn’t matter where you live because it is a live webinar. I am currently involved in this program and cannot say enough positive words to express how the Program Developer and Facilitator, Jane Oczkewicz, motivates and guides everyone in the class to work hard and stay on task with our homework. Yes, that is right, you will have homework.
The cost of the WSU program is $200 a component. The NBPTS has a yearly fee of $75, plus $450 a component. You have three years to complete all four components so you can spread out the financial obligation.
Get your License as a Clinical Therapist
Get your license to become a clinical therapist. This is most intensive option and expensive if you need to take additional courses. Many master’s in school counseling programs do not give you all the classes that are needed so there may be some classes you have to take in addition to the 150 internship hours. You can access a state by state licensing guide by clicking here.
You can’t go wrong with any of these options. The hardest part is choosing what is best for you and your family. Consider all the options for each and do lots of research before you commit, especially if money is involved.
Good luck on your journey and keep me posted!