When the profession first began in the late 1950s, Congress wanted teachers who could guide talented students into careers that would help the U.S. compete in the space race. Decades later, the profession evolved from guidance counselors to the modern school counselor, whose role includes vocational guidance but also includes other duties.
School counselors assist students through three key areas in their development: academics, career trajectory and social/personal development. Therefore, when looking at the differences in the roles of guidance counselor vs. school counselor, one might realize that academic planning and career guidance are two key aspects of school counseling. School counselors also ensure that students hone certain skills, such as decision-making and study skills, in addition to helping them deal with social and mental issues that may be hampering their performance in school.
The responsibilities of guidance counselors tend to veer toward the academic and career-related aspects of a student’s life. High school guidance counselors, for example, may be tasked with creating class schedules or implementing school campaigns on topics such as alcohol abuse and mental health. In more recent years, guidance counselors have taken on more responsibilities, such as aiding students in meeting intensive national testing requirements. Guidance counselors may also be employed in work settings other than schools, such as health care facilities, social assistance institutions and other educational service providers.