Summer is all but here, and for school therapists, this poses an opportunity to make oneself more marketable over the long break. Working on future career prospects may not be the most fun use of a summer vacation, but by following these tips, anyone can make themselves a more competitive school therapist.
The old adage that “It’s not about what you know, but who you know,” has never been more true than in the present day. Hiring decisions are often based on personal preferences and connections, and for anyone looking to advance their career as a school therapist, networking is a must.
Some good ways to make new connections is to start conversations with other like-minded professionals, e.g. educators and psychologists, through social media like Twitter and LinkedIn. Never be afraid to strike up a new conversation; it might be how you land your next job.
Develop New Skills
Since school therapists have minimal work to do in the summer, this means three months of time that can be spent developing new professional skills. One of the most popular, and often lucrative, ways to do this is through short-term employment and projects in a related field.
With a skill set limited solely in helping school-aged children, there will be many positions that remain out of reach, even in schools. By using the summer to work at a mental wellness clinic or battered women’s shelter (or any other mental-health related area), one can gain invaluable experience in new fields, which can then translate to their career as a school therapist.
Industry best practices are constantly in flux, and it’s important to stay up-to-date. This can take a variety of forms:
- Brushing up on official texts like the latest edition of the DSM
- Researching the issues that most school-age children deal with in a modern society
- Learning the latest strategies for dealing with common mental health issues in students
Regardless of how one gets this information, staying current on industry best practices is crucial to being a marketable school therapist.
Don’t Work Too Hard
Summer vacation is, after all, supposed to be relaxing, so try to have some fun while advancing your professional skills. With a bit of academic work and some social networking, anyone can return to school in the fall as a significantly more marketable school therapist.