How to Become a

Career Counselor

The complete career guide to be a Career Counselor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $56,490
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 8.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Career counselors assist individuals in making decisions related to their careers. They may help students choose classes, programs, and degrees that are prerequisites for chosen careers, or they may work with unemployed or underemployed adults to assist in finding suitable future employment opportunities.

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What is a Career Counselor?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in career counselor roles:

  • Work with individuals to understand career goals and interests in order to recommend educational or work-experience needs for fulfillment of career goals
  • Administer aptitude, interest, or skills tests to determine appropriate career recommendations
  • Train individuals in resume writing, interviewing, networking, and other job-seeking skills
  • Assist individuals in finding and applying for jobs and educational programs they qualify for

A Day in the Life

Career counselors can work in a number of different institutions, and the responsibilities of the role will vary depending on the employing organization. Some career counselors choose to work for either public or private high schools. These counselors work with students to help determine career interests and recommend classes, colleges, and programs that will allow students to secure jobs later in life that match their interests and fulfill their career goals.

Other career counselors work in colleges and universities. College career counselors work with students in their early years to aid in choosing a major and program applicable to their interests and career goals. As students near graduation, career counselors provide training in resume-writing, interviewing, and networking techniques and may assist students in locating internships and summer jobs that provide relevant experience for chosen careers, and finding employment after graduation.

Outside of educational environments, career counselors may work for government or private agencies that help unemployed or underemployed individuals create a plan for securing more suitable employment. They may recommend educational programs, help individuals secure financial aid, train individuals on job application techniques, or assist individuals in finding and applying for desired positions. These individuals generally work with adults that are seeking career and life guidance.

Typical Work Schedule

Career counselors often work in academic settings and often have a full-time 40-hour working schedule that usually coincide with the school day. The work includes helping students or other people find employment and develop necessary skills for the workplace. However, different types of clients and workplaces may require different available hours. They are also commonly involved in employment events where they act to guide graduates and job seekers throughout the process. Career counselors working in schools or colleges usually get the summer off which provides good chance if you have side interests.

Projected job growth

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of career counselors is expected to increase by 8% from 2019 to 2029 which is faster than the average growth rate for other jobs. There are major and continuous changes in the economy creating completely new jobs and making other jobs obsolete. Accordingly, the demand for career counseling is also expected to increase to help school and university students get more knowledgeable insights into the job market. Employment events are also becoming more popular where career counselors play a major role.

Typical Employers

Career counselors have multiple employers, work settings and target populations. Their employers could include educational institutes like schools and colleges where their job would focus on preparing students for the workplace. Other employers include private companies and corporations, often large companies to manage the company’s employees develop necessary workplace skills. Career counseling is also offered by several online hiring platforms as Indeed, LinkedIn, SmartRecruiters and Jobvite. Some career counselors prefer working independently and privately running counseling agencies or offering services online.  The governmental agencies are also a decent employer for career counselors or in community or social services settings to assist those clients who may have problems securing a decent job. Other career counselors would focus their job on working with specific population. In addition, Career counselors may work with those people considering a career shift to guide them in gaining new skills and making important decisions. They also work in programs that help veterans find suitable jobs and reintegrate into the civilian life.

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How To Become a Career Counselor

The amount of education needed to become a career counselor varies by state and is dependent on the organization you want to work for. In some cases, only a bachelor’s degree in a related field and experience as a career counselor is required to obtain employment. For example, individuals who want to be career counselors in high schools may pursue bachelor’s degrees in secondary education. Those wanting to work in government or private sectors may find that a bachelor’s in psychology is sufficient.

However, some states and institutions may have more stringent requirements. In many cases, a master’s degree in counseling is required, and state licensure may also be required. Individuals in bachelor’s degree programs may be able to pursue their initial degrees in the field most applicable to their future goals and obtain internships in their school’s career center to gain applicable experience.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to secure relevant employment while earning the necessary master’s degree if you find that graduate degree is necessary for securing your ideal position. Before choosing any program, it’s good to check state laws and look into jobs you’d be likely to apply for later to determine exactly what requirements are necessary. This process will provide insight into the research you’ll need to do later when offering guidance to others how to achieve career goals.

Career Counselor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Career Counselor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Career Counselor's can make an average annual salary of $56,490, or $27 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $41,120 or $20 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #308 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Career Counselor. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Career Counselors

  • 5.4%   Doctorate
  • 48%   Masters
  • 25.1%   Bachelors
  • 5.4%   Associates
  • 10.1%   College
  • 5%   High School
  • 1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Career Counselor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 22,500 jobs for a total of 295,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #270 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Career Counselors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 109,600 6,400 6%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 36,600 7,000 7%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 30,800 2,800 3%

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