School guidance counselors can find positions in elementary, middle, and high schools. They work with the students, the educational staff and the parents. They primarily deal with children who have learning and emotional issues.

It is crucial to be Hebrew proficient. It is also important to understand the cultural differences between Israeli kids and those in your native country.

Some current programs can be found here:

A special thank you to Chana Spiegelman of Yeshivat Ner Tamid in Chashmonaim, for participating in this interview.

Please provide us with a brief description of your field
A Yoetzet’s (guidance counselor) main responsibility is working with students: helping them deal with learning and family issues, guiding them through the school system, intervening between kids and parents or families and teachers. I work as guidance counselor in a boys’ Yeshiva high school and focus a great deal of time on helping students, especially those with learning disabilities, meet the requirements required by the Bagrut (matriculation) system. A major difference between my tasks and those of a guidance counselor in America is that helping students with college requirements and applications is not part of my responsibilities. Instead, I work with my older students, 11th and 12th graders, to help them determine what they want to do after graduation in either the army or Sherut Leumi (National Service), or help them decide if attending Yeshiva is the right track from them. Israeli kids don’t think about college while they are in high school.

What experience and degrees do you need to get into your field?
It is important to come to Israel with a degree in school counseling but Misrad Hachinuch (Ministry of Education) also requires a teacher’s certificate. Spoken and written knowledge of Hebrew are key.

Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
No.

What are the benefits?
For me, the benefits are more personal. I love working with kids and working in the Israeli environment. I love helping kids with learning disabilities, helping them succeed and overcome their challenges.

What is the salary range?
Unfortunately, the salary of educators is relatively low. A Yoetzet who works 12 hours a week can expect to make roughly 3,000 NIS a month.

Who are the major employers in your field?
All Yoatzot are employed through both their school and Misrad Hachinuch.

What are the upcoming areas of specialty you would recommend?
There is no real area of specialty, but some people have a personal preference to work with certain types of people.

What is the professional organization (if any) in your field? How can they be contacted and what do they do?
The Igud Morim (Teachers’ Union) and Misrad Hachinuch are the organizations. Misrad Hachinuch employs several individuals who serve as the liaisons between Olim and the school system and can answer questions about eligibility, placement, etc. (For a list of these liaisons, please see: Teaching).

What recommendations can you offer an Oleh looking to work in this field?
LEARN HEBREW! Also, it is important to understand the cultural differences between Israeli kids and those in your native countries. The Israeli school system is completely different – it is generally not private education like most Olim are used to and it is governed by Misrad Hachinuch. Formal and informal education go hand in hand in Israel and overlap in many ways. Israeli educators believe that education is not complete without informal education.

How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
I am the poster girl. There is nothing I don’t love about living in Israel. I love being a Zionist. I never want to live outside of Israel again. I am raising religious Zionists. We have the same problems here but they are “our problems” and we need to deal with them. Problems are the same in every county but here they are a “Jewish problem”. They are our successes and our failures. It’s about taking responsibility, contributing to our society and being the best we can be. The message I give to my students is be proud of where you are and what you are about.

Other advice?
Making Aliyah is one of the most illogical decisions you can make, but it is logical when there is emotional attachment. We have regular problems like every other country but if you really believe in being here and contributing to the strength of the Jewish people then it will work.