School Counseling Jobs: Career and Salary Facts

Research a career in school counseling. Learn about the duties in this field, the educational and certification requirements, salary and job growth to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do School Counselors Do?

Schools across America, from the elementary to college levels, have school counselors on staff. These professionals can assist students in defining their educational and professional goals, as well as helping them develop social skills. However, counselors do so much more than advise students on career options. They apply their knowledge of psychology and education to help students with emotional issues as well as classroom matters.

The following chart provides an overview of the education and licensure requirements, along with the job outlook and average salary in this field.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study School counseling or related field
Certification Licensure, certification or endorsement required for public school counselors; some states require teacher certification
Key Responsibilities Listening, assessment, advising
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8%*
Median Salary (2015) $53,660*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a School Counselor?

As a school counselor, you will work with students to help ensure their educational, social and career development. Depending on the age group, you may be asked to assess students through one-on-one, small group or classroom sessions.

You will utilize a variety of assessment techniques, including social behavior observation and aptitude testing. If you work with students at the high school or college level, you may offer career counseling and job aptitude assessments. With college students, your work might focus on career development and professional growth within particular fields of study. At the elementary or middle school levels, you may be asked to collaborate with parents or teachers to ensure students are receiving the support needed at home and in the classroom.

How Can I Prepare for This Career?

After earning a bachelor's degree, you can apply to a graduate program in counseling. Degree programs, such as those leading to a Master of Arts in Counseling or Master of Science in School Counseling, offer courses on the counseling profession, developmental counseling and multicultural counseling.

In a master's program, you'll often obtain clinical or field experience hours through practicums or internships. Depending on the program, you may be required to fulfill some hours through face-to-face sessions with clients.

What About Licensure Requirements?

All states require licensure or certification for public school counselors, but specific requirements vary by state. In many cases, you need a master's degree, a minimum number of field experience hours and teaching certification. You can also obtain the voluntary National Certified School Counselor credential offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors if you complete a master's program and a certification exam.

How Much Could I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational, guidance, vocational and school counselors earned a median salary of $53,660 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted that the expected job growth for school and career counselors between 2014 and 2024 is 8 percent.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include elementary and secondary school teaching. These positions require bachelor's degrees and student teaching. A bachelor's can also help you with a career as a social and community manager or substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling. A master's degree can get you into the fields of mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and rehabilitation counseling. Other related professions can include social workers and even psychologists.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Capella University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Strayer University

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  • Liberty University

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

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  • Colorado Christian University

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Regent University

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  • Northcentral University

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