Job satisfaction among elementary school counselors in Virginia: seven years later

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Virginia Tech


Seven years have elapsed since Kirk (1988) studied job satisfaction among elementary school counselors Virginia. During this time, the number of elementary school counselors has dramatically increased with the implementation of a state-mandated elementary school counseling program. Additionally, societal concerns, practice issues, personnel concerns and even attacks on the program itself have had the potential to change the working environment and activities of elementary school counselors in Virginia. This study was designed to survey the current level of job satisfaction among elementary school counselors in Virginia and compare this with the level of job satisfaction of elementary school counselors in Virginia in 1988.

Data were collected through mailed surveys consisting of a demographic data form and a modified form of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. Six hundred thirty-three elementary school counselors were mailed survey materials and 82.15% responded. Of those that responded, 488 elementary school counselors employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia were included in the data analysis.

The survey results indicate that 96.3% of the current sample are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. Only 3.7% fell within the dissatisfied or very dissatisfied range. Elementary school counselors in Virginia are satisfied with all but one aspect of their jobs as measured by the Modified Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. They expressed dissatisfaction only with the compensation subscale. Three demographic variables combined to predict increased job satisfaction: the number of elementary school counselors in the school division, the intention to remain in the current position for 5 years, and having a Collegiate Professional/Postgraduate Professional certification.

The level of overall satisfaction for the 1995 and 1988 groups is very similar. While the order varied somewhat, both groups are most satisfied with the same six factors and least satisfied with the same three factors. The present group of elementary school counselors is, however, less satisfied with the technical quality of their supervision, the relationship between counselors and their supervisors, the opportunities for advancement, their salary, the way they along with other faculty and staff of their schools, their being recognized for doing a good job, and their level of job security than the 1988 group.

Several implications and recommendations were drawn from the study. These included investigating the possibility of developing increased opportunities for advancement within elementary school counseling that do not involve administrative or central office roles, increasing the opportunities for clinical supervision by qualified supervisors, and further study of job satisfaction to establish a consistent baseline of job satisfaction for elementary school counseling.



elementary school counseling, counselor education