I many hours toward my Bachelor of Fine

I
changed my major from Mass Communication and Electronic Media to General
Studies three weeks before I began the spring semester of my Senior year. My
parents thought I was crazy because I had completed so many hours toward my
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, but I knew in my heart that Electronic Media was
not what I wanted to pursue a career in. I didn’t have the correct guidance or
counseling when choosing a major. I focused more on what my parents wanted for
me rather than what I wanted for myself. I didn’t have an advisor, or a career
counselor ask me, “Is this what you’re passionate about?” I’ve decided that’s
what I want to be for someone. I want to guide people and help them discover
their passions and what will make a happy and fulfilled career for them. I want
to be the college counselor for others, that I never had for myself.

The
title for my occupation is Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors.
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code is 21-1012.00 and my chosen
occupation falls under the Education and Training work cluster. The description
of the occupation is, “counsel individuals and provide group educational and
vocational guidance services.” (onetonlne.org) In petal #5 I wrote that
counseling and teaching were fields, careers, or industries that interested me.
I don’t have any experience from previous jobs I have had, other than
communication skills which will often be used if I pursue a job in counseling
or teaching.

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There
are three work tasks and duties that are interesting about this occupation. The
first is having to teach classes or information sessions that relate to the
career planning or education I will be helping students with. I will also have
to instruct students in techniques that will help with their career development
like interview skills, filling out applications, job searching, and writing
their resumes. The third interesting task is referring students to a degree
program which best fits their education, interests, and aptitude scores.

The
work environment for this occupation deals with face-to-face discussions,
freedom to make decisions, coordinate or lead others, a semi-structured work
environment, and sometimes more than 40 hours per week. This matches almost
perfectly with my preferred work conditions in petal #2, other than more than
40 hours per week. I would want a strictly 40-hour work week, but I know most
jobs will require more hours to be clocked in.

There
are also similar occupations that I would consider. My top choice would be a
Postsecondary Teacher (Professor) because I would eventually like to teach at a
junior college. My second choice would be a Secondary School Teacher because if
I could not find work at a college, I would like to get a teaching certificate
and teach at the high school I graduated from. My final choice would be a
Marriage and Family Therapist because it sounds interesting. I don’t think I
could handle the depth of emotional and mental disorders, but it is something I
would consider.

The
median annual wage for an Educational Counselor in 2014 was $54,560
(onetonline.org) and it falls within the ranged I specified in petal #6. If the
salary was lower, I wouldn’t mind. The more work experience I gained, the more
money I would make with any job in any field of work. Midland/Odessa are the
highest paying cities in Texas for this occupation, which is where I am hoping
to move to when I graduate in August.

93%
of all counseling jobs require a master’s degree. 4% require a post-master’s
certificate (onetonline.org). Since there is extensive knowledge, experience,
and skill required for this occupation, many require more than five years of
experience. There will also be on-the-job training. Since I am hoping to be
accepted into the graduate program that is offered at either UTPB or Angelo
State University, I will obtain most, if not all, of the requirements. There
are 34 schools in Texas that offer programs for a master’s degree in Counselor
Education.

Other
possible job titles that interest me are Academic Advisor, Career Center
Director, and School Counselor. Academic Advisor interests me because I would like
to work for a university one day. I think it would be great to work with
college students and help them choose courses, majors, and minors that would
best benefit them. A career center director isn’t my ideal job, but it does
interest me because I want to help people with their career path. Being a
director, I would oversee the actual career counselors, so maybe one day after
many years of experience this could be a possibility. A school counselor isn’t
something I considered before, but now that I’ve done more research into the
occupation, I think it could be fun. I would like to help high school students
apply for colleges that have programs for their interests. If I would have had
a school counselor really guide me toward the university that best suited me, I
wouldn’t have gone to a junior college my freshman year.

My
goal is to work for Midland College. Midland College’s mission statement is “A
comprehensive community college that is dedicated to excellence, has a
commitment to learning, and promotes a life-long quest for knowledge.”
(catalog.midland.edu) Their core values are Faith, Knowledge, Truth,
Understanding, and Wisdom. I like Midland college because I attended it and had
a wonderful experience there. The location is great because I want to call
Midland my home forever, and my goals as a counselor for students is for them
to strive for excellence and enjoy learning. Midland college serves people of
all ages, but most people I will be helping are 18-22-year old’s which matches
my response to petal one. I really like their core values because Faith has
always been at the top of my personal values.

There
were 273,400 jobs in 2014 for educational, guidance, school, and vocational
counselors. By 2024, there is predicted to be an 8% increase in job openings
which means there will be 295,900 jobs in this occupation. (onetonline.org) The
projected outlook doesn’t concern me because there will be an increase in jobs.
I think this greatly benefits me because I will have more opportunities to
attain the job I want.

The
American Counseling Association is a non-for-profit educational and
professional organization that helps with the growth of the counseling
profession. On their website, their mission statement states, “The mission of
the American Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in
society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the
counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to
promote respect for human dignity and diversity.” (couseling.org) I think this
association could help me improve my professional identity and network with
other counselors around the nation. The Texas Counseling Association offers support
and guidance for people in the counseling profession. Their mission statement
on their website is, “The Texas Counseling Association is dedicated to
providing leadership, advocacy and education to promote the growth and
development of the counseling profession and those who are served.” (txca.org) This
association has conferences held three times per year that could help my growth
as a college counselor.  

            I’m meant to be a college counselor because I’m an active
listener, I am great at public speaking as well as interpersonal
communications. I have good judgement and decision making and I’ve begun to use
more social perceptiveness once I decided counseling is an occupation I would
like to have. These are all skills required for a college counselor. There are,
however, three skills I do not have experience with or haven’t quite mastered.
Time management, negotiation, and persuasion are these skills. I will acquire
time management skills within the following weeks by meeting with my CAFÉ coach
and learning ways to develop this skill. I worked in sales for 3 years but
never quite developed a skill for negotiation. The best resource I can use to
help with learning to negotiate is the internet. I found a great website by the
Negotiation Experts which gives step by step guides to mastering negotiation.
(negotiations.com) Persuasion is also a skill I wasn’t comfortable using when I
worked in sales. As a counselor, I could get a student who is confident in the plan
they have made for themselves and their future career, but the plan is not
realistic. I would have to persuade the student into considering different
options that would better suit them. The internet is also a great resource I
can use to develop this skill. Skills You Need is a wonderful website that
helps you build persuasion as a skill. (skillsyouneed.com)

            I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I need to do to
get where I want to be by researching this occupation. Becoming a college
counselor takes time, effort, and strong mental health. It is a job that will
lead to a lot of satisfaction because I could help pave the way for someone to
have a fulfilling career. Since becoming a college counselor is a lengthy
process, it is not for everyone. But I am confident that it is the job for me. 

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