Skip to Main Content

Guidance Counselors


Counseling in secondary schools, as a comprehensive guidance service, is an outgrowth of the earlier program of vocational guidance in schools. Such programs were slowly adopted by school systems through the 1920s—Boston and New York being among the first—but during the Depression years (1929 through the late 1930s), school budgets were at a low point and the vocational guidance movement came to a standstill.

After World War II, guidance services began to show signs of growth. Many factors contributed to the sudden spurt. There was a great migration from rural to urban living, and city schools became overcrowded. Students lost their individual identity in the crowds of fellow students. More courses were being offered in more schools, and choices were difficult to make. Changes in careers because of technological developments made it difficult for parents to help their children with wise career choices. Living standards improved, and more parents, who themselves had not gone to college, planned a college education for their children. In the years following World War II, school guidance programs grew both in number and in expanded fields. Many colleges and universities initiated training programs for guidance counselors, and licensure standards for counselors were established or upgraded. The U.S. Office of Education (the precursor to the U. S. Department of Education) embarked on an ambitious leadership program for guidance services as the need for professionals in the field increased.