National Avg. Salary$56,490 More Salary Data →
Job Growth Rate8.2% More Growth Data →
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School guidance counselors work with parents and students at public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. They meet individually with parents and students to assist students with developing necessary academic and life skills and overcoming hurdles that impact learning.
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The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in school guidance counselor roles:
- Work with parents, students, and teachers to identify students that are struggling to meet academic standards or having behavioral or attendance issues
- Counsel students individually to determine the cause of issues and to work towards solutions
- Conduct seminars and group sessions to educate students on common issues that impact their age group, such as bullying, drug use, and sex education
- Identify and report suspected abuse or neglect to outside authorities
- Counsel students on class choices, career options, and post-secondary education opportunities
A Day in the Life
Working as a school guidance counselor is a rewarding position that allows individuals to work with children, adolescents, and teenagers at a time in their lives when they’re not prepared to cope with their own issues and find solutions. School guidance counselors work in elementary, middle, and high schools, and meet individually with students, parents, and teachers to help identify and resolve issues that impact learning, attendance, social interactions, and behaviors.
In some cases, school guidance counselors are the first line of response in cases of student neglect and abuse. In these situations, counselors are accountable for reporting their suspicions or knowledge to authorities like Child Protective Services that can investigate these suspicions further. Additionally, school guidance counselors work with parents of struggling students to refer the family to outside services that may be able to provide additional help in resolving issues.
School counselors are also members of the school’s leadership team and may have a role in aiding students and administrators in class assignments and testing and assigning students to advanced or remedial programs. In high schools, school counselors may provide career and advancement guidance as well if a separate career counselor is not in place at their institution. They may help students choose and apply to colleges and make recommendations for appropriate careers, programs, and scholarships.
Typical Work Schedule
School guidance counselors work during school hours, Monday through Friday, and are off on all major holidays. Additionally, school guidance counselors generally have summers off when school is out of session and enjoy additional breaks in the fall and spring.
School Guidance Counselor Specializations
- Elementary School Guidance Counselors work with both parents and student regularly and focus on getting students prepared for secondary education through the development of academic and social skills. They may also work with students to identify impediments to learning and refer parents to applicable remediation services.
- Middle School Guidance Counselors work with students both individually and in groups. They may counsel individual students and set up sessions for groups of students to learn about drug abuse or sex education, depending on the requirements of the school system. Additionally, they may help students choose an appropriate high school when multiple options are available.
- High School Guidance Counselors work with students to resolve academic, attendance, and personal issues that impede progress, and they also assist students in planning for the future. They provide guidance on what classes students should take, what colleges and programs students should pursue, and what scholarships students may qualify for.
School guidance counselors are commonly hired to work in both public and private elementary, middle, and high schools.
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School Guidance 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 Annual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do School Guidance Counselor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, School Guidance 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
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How To Become
For the most part, school guidance counselors are required to have a master’s degree in school counseling. However, each state has its own requirements for school guidance counselor credentials, and working as a counselor at a private school may have less stringent requirements. Additionally, some states require counselors to hold teaching licenses and have some years of experience as a teacher prior to becoming a school guidance counselor.
One potential path for becoming a school guidance counselor is to first earn a bachelor’s degree that qualifies you to teach at an elementary, middle, or high school—the degree you choose will depend on the age group you’re interested in counseling. The bachelor’s degree will allow you to become licensed as a teacher, providing you with the needed credentials if you discover later that experience as a teacher is a prerequisite for securing a job as a school guidance counselor.
After earning a bachelor’s degree and necessary teaching credentials, you can then pursue a master’s degree in school counseling. Some states also require individuals to become licensed as school counselors, and licensure is generally available as part of master’s degree programs. Licensure may require a number of hours of education and an internship with an existing licensed school counselor. Check your state’s requirements to determine exactly what credentials and education are required.
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School guidance counselors can gain experience and relevant credentials by first pursuing a bachelor’s degree that qualifies them to teach the desired age group.
Recommended Min. Degree
Highest Education Among School Guidance Counselor
- 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 Jobs273,400
2024 Est. Jobs295,900
Job Growth Rate8.2%
Est. New Jobs22,500
How does School Guidance 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