School Counsellor

School counsellors provide support to pupils with regard to their educational, social, physical and emotional development and adjustment. They interview colleagues, parents and pupils in an effort to understand the pupils and their circumstances and problems.

During an interview they create a confidential atmosphere in which the child could feel confident to seek advice. They further make use of aptitude tests and personality, interest and potentiality questionnaires to establish possible causes of school-related and personal problems. 

They guide the emotional development of certain pupils on a one-to-one basis and counsel them to help them to understand and overcome personal, social or behavioural problems affecting their educational or vocational situations.  They provide crisis intervention to students when difficult situations occur at schools. Where necessary, they liaise with parents and other teachers. They help pupils to address issues such as drugs and HIV/AIDS.

One of the most important tasks of school counsellors is to give career information to the pupils. They need to ensure that the information in the school’s career library is always up-to-date. They help pupils to gain the necessary knowledge to equip them with decision-making skills, which will allow them to make appropriate career choices.

In the process of guiding pupils to make their own career choices based on self-understanding and self-knowledge, it is imperative that the school counsellor be well informed. Therefore, they have to attend as many courses as possible and read as much as they can on the different subjects.

Effective study methods are also conveyed to pupils, and specific learning disabilities should be identified by their register / class teachers, and reported to the school counsellor. They may initiate appropriate corrective measures for pupils with learning problems or refer these pupils to either educational psychologists or remedial teachers, if they are not qualified themselves to assist in this regard.

School counsellors may observe students during classroom and play activities to evaluate their performance, behaviour, social development and physical health.  They also need to be good administrators, maintaining accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies and administrative regulations, and preparing reports on students and activities as required by the administration.

Personal Requirements

  • interested in children
  • desire to help others, particularly young people
  • empathetic and caring
  • good communication and listening skills
  • maturity and good life-coping skills
  • able to inspire respect, trust and confidence

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: Bachelor degree majoring in Psychology and at least one other school subject, plus a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

At some universities, Psychology III is required to specialise as school counsellors. School counsellors can improve their qualifications, by doing an honours or masters degree in Counselling Psychology. After completing the internship, registration as a psychologist may follow. Prospective school counsellors can alternatively do a BEd and MEd in Educational Psychology and register as educational psychologists with the Professional Board for Psychology.


  • Department of Education
  • government schools
  • school clinics
  • rehabilitation centres
  • private schools

Further Information

Any of the above potential employers

Getting Started

  • volunteer as an aide or helper at your nearest community or church centre, which offers counselling in any form
  • make an appointment to speak to a school counsellor about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer