Guidance and Counseling Associate Degree Programs

Unfortunately associate degree programs in guidance counseling are generally not available; you'll need to earn a bachelor's and master's degree to become a guidance counselor. Read more about the educational requirements, licensing, certification, job outlook and salary potential for guidance counselors. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn an Associate's Degree in Guidance and Counseling?

Degree programs in guidance and counseling are offered, but they're typically only found at the master's degree level. Admission into a master's degree program in guidance and counseling typically requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and a current teaching certificate or license. These master's programs are generally designed to prepare you to work as a guidance counselor in a school. However, a master's degree in guidance and counseling may also be applied to other areas, such as family service or in private practice.

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree and current teaching certificate or license
Common Courses Psychology of learning, theories of counseling, multicultural counseling, research methodology
Certification or Licensure Most states require master's degrees but licensing requirements vary from state to state; certification is voluntary
Job Outlook13% growth from 2016-2026* (for guidance counselors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

Guidance counselors work with students to help them make decisions about their future, and they also work with youth and families to resolve conflicts. As a student in a master's degree program in guidance and counseling, you'll learn how to work with students in individual and group settings as well as exploring some of the issues counselors commonly face. You'll also look at how family structures affect students and what the norms are in child and adolescent development. In addition to taking courses, you'll also typically be required to complete an internship. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Research methodology
  • Theories of counseling
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Psychology of learning

Will I Need Certification or a License?

Licensing requirements vary by state, although most states require master's degrees. Some states require you to have school counselor certification along with some graduate level credits, while others require teaching certificates and experience working in classrooms with students. You may need to take continuing education courses to maintain your license.

You may also obtain voluntary certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors, which offers a designation of National Certified Counselor ( While this certification is different from licensing, it may exempt you from having to take a certification exam in your state.

What Is the Job Outlook for this Field?

Job growth for educational and school counselors was expected to grow at an average rate of 13% between 2016-2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The Bureau notes that growing responsibilities of the job and an increase in the age range of students who need counselors will lead to a greater demand for school counselors. As of July 2019, salaries for school, educational and vocational counselors ranged from $34,000 at the 10th percentile to $67,000 at the 90th percentile, according to

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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