School and Career Counselors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Nearly all states and the District of Columbia require school counselors to have a masters degree in school counseling or a related field. Degree programs teach counselors the essential skills of the job, such as how to foster academic development; conduct group and individual counseling; work with parents, school staff, and community organizations; and use data to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs for all students. These programs often require counselors to complete an internship.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 11% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Public school counselors must have a state-issued credential to practice. This credential can be called a certification, a license, or an endorsement, depending on the state. Licensure or certification typically requires a masters degree in school counseling, an internship or practicum completed under the supervision of a licensed professional school counselor, and successful completion of a test.
Median pay: How much do School and Career Counselors make?
$54,560 Annual Salary
$26.23 per hour

School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills that lead to success in school. Career counselors help people develop skills, explore a career, or choose an educational program that will lead to a career.

What do School and Career Counselors do?

School counselors typically do the following:

  • Evaluate students abilities and interests through aptitude assessments, interviews, and individual planning
  • Identify issues that affect school performance, such as poor classroom attendance rates
  • Help students understand and overcome social or behavioral problems through classroom guidance lessons and counseling
  • Counsel individuals and small groups on the basis of student and school needs
  • Work with students to develop skills, such as organizational and time management abilities and effective study habits
  • Help students create a plan to achieve academic and career goals
  • Collaborate with teachers, administrators, and parents to help students succeed
  • Teach students and school staff about specific topics, such as bullying, drug abuse, and planning for college or careers after graduation
  • Maintain records as required
  • Report possible cases of neglect or abuse and refer students and parents to resources outside the school for additional support

The specific duties of school counselors vary with the ages of their students.

Careers for School and Career Counselors

  • Career counselors
  • Career technical counselors
  • College counselors
  • Education counselors
  • Educational counselors
  • Elementary school counselors
  • Employment counselors
  • Guidance counselors
  • High school counselors
  • International school counselors
  • International student counselors
  • Middle school counselors
  • School adjustment counselors
  • School counselors
  • School guidance counselors
  • Student advisors
  • Student development advisors
  • Student services counselors
  • Student success counselors
  • Study abroad advisors
  • Vocational advisers
  • Vocational counselors

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