Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Fisher, Teresa A.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Educational counseling; Education


The study employed a grounded theory approach to explore the evolving professional identity of novice school counselors. Participants, who are currently employed as school counselors at the elementary, middle, or high school level with 1- 4 years' experience, were career changers from other helping professions and graduates from an intensive school counselors' certificate program (SCCP). The findings, have provided a proposed theoretical framework of career transition and professional identity development for school counselors, which is comprised of major themes and categories from the study. The theoretical model consists of two major sections, a transitional piece in the dimensions of career change for school counselors, and the professional identity piece in the personal definitions of school counseling, and the supports and challenges to professional identity. Dimensions of career change contains components that are instrumental to the transition process and foundational to school counselors developing professional identity. Attraction to school counseling, one of the main components, emphasizes the reason participants' chose professional school counseling as a transitional career and provides a base from which all other elements within the unit develop. Participants' personal definition of professional identity reveals a new meaning-making of school counselor professional identity as roles performed, intentional student relationships and engagement, and wealth of knowledge linked to experience and maturation in the profession.


Advisors: Teresa A. Fisher.||Committee members: Charles E. Myers; Scott Wickman.||Includes bibliographical references.


xi, 210 pages




Northern Illinois University

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