International School Community Blog

International School Counsellors: An Insider’s Story

The road to becoming an international school counsellor typically involves obtaining relevant qualifications, gaining experience in counselling, obtaining relevant certifications, gaining international experience, networking and seeking mentorship, staying updated with best practices, researching and applying for international positions, being well-versed in safeguarding and child protection, and considering a Postgraduate Certificate in Education International (PGCEi).

To begin, obtaining a master’s degree in counselling or a related field is typically a requirement for becoming an international school counsellor. It is important to choose a program that offers coursework and training specifically tailored to working with students in an educational setting. Additionally, gaining practical experience in counselling, particularly with school-aged children or adolescents, through internships, volunteer work, or part-time positions can be highly valuable.

Checking the certifications or licenses required to work as an international school counsellor in your desired country or region is an important step. Research certification requirements, review educational prerequisites, consider additional requirements, seek guidance from professional organizations, and explore reciprocity agreements if applicable.

Gaining international experience is beneficial for aspiring international school counsellors. This can be achieved through volunteering or interning abroad, working in international schools, attending international conferences or workshops, collaborating with international organizations, or participating in study abroad programs.

Networking and seeking mentorship are valuable steps to take when pursuing a career in international school counselling. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, utilize online platforms, seek out mentorship opportunities, and conduct informational interviews to connect with professionals in the field.

Staying updated with best practices is essential for professional growth. Attend workshops and conferences, engage in professional development programs, read professional literature, join online communities, pursue advanced degrees or certifications, and seek supervision and consultation.

Researching and applying for international positions is crucial. Research international schools and organizations, check job requirements and qualifications, connect with recruitment agencies, network with professionals in the field, prepare application materials, and prepare for interviews.

Being well-versed in safeguarding and child protection is crucial for anyone working in a school counselling role. Stay updated with policies and regulations, attend training and professional development, establish clear boundaries, develop communication skills, collaborate with colleagues and support staff, document and report incidents, and engage in regular supervision.

Having a Postgraduate Certificate in Education International (PGCEi) can be an added advantage for someone pursuing a career in international school counselling. The program provides knowledge of international education systems, pedagogical approaches, and relevant skills for working in diverse cultural and educational contexts.

By following these steps, individuals can work towards becoming successful international school counsellors and make a positive impact on the lives of students in international educational settings.

This article was submitted by guest author and ISC member, Stephanie Jasvinder Kaur. Stephanie is a Counselling Psychologist with a passion for promoting mental health and well-being. With a background in psychology and extensive education, including a BSc in Psychology, a Master’s in Counselling, Ph.D. in Psychology, and PGCEi, Stephanie has gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in her field.

Throughout her career, Stephanie has worked in private practice and international schools across Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. She has been recognized as a Mental Health First Aider and a Safeguarding Trainer, showcasing her commitment to creating safe and supportive environments. Stephanie is also trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Crisis Intervention Stress Management (CISM-I and CISM-II), DICES Risk Assessment, and Tuning Into Kids.

Stephanie’s contributions and impact extend beyond her work experience. Her Ph.D. research focused on Anxiety in Adolescents, examining coping strategies and the effectiveness of CBT. Through her research, Stephanie aims to enhance understanding and provide practical solutions to address anxiety-related issues among young people.

When she’s not working, Stephanie enjoys traveling with her family and indulging in reading. She is an active member of the International School Counsellors Association, where she collaborates with professionals in her field to promote the well-being of students.

For more information or to connect with Stephanie, you can visit her LinkedIn profile here –