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School Counselor Overview
Don’t let one of the more than 270,000 professionals currently working in this vocation hear you utter the term “guidance counselor.” Apparently, that would be so 1980. The men and women who provide academic, personal and developmental support to school-age children prefer the name “school counselor” these days. But that term doesn’t scratch the tip of the chalkboard for the duties of the profession. Elementary school counselors interact with young kids, either individually or in small groups, acting as a sounding board for all of their day-to-day activities. They may also assist teachers in assessing students’ abilities and interests, and they ensure children with different needs receive proper care and education. High school counselors have similar responsibilities, but they also help teens transition from secondary school into the workforce or collegiate life. They could assist students with college application materials, coordinate study trips, proctor entrance tests and chaperone college visits. They may also help a young person pick a career path and help him or her enter an apprenticeship. “It is one of the best professions in the world,” says Gail M. Smith, a school counseling director for the Cobb County School District in Georgia and a board member with the American School Counselor Association. “We get to work with students and see them achieve.”
By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects nearly an 8-percent increase in employment for educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors, which translates to an impressive 22,500 new jobs. However, employment growth depends on state and local government budgets, as cuts to education funding may impact hiring.
$53,660 Median Salary
2.8% Unemployment Rate
22500 Number of Jobs
School Counselors rank #11 in Best Social Services Jobs. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors. Read more about how we rank the best jobs.
School Counselors are ranked:
The Labor Department reports that school counselors brought home a median salary of $53,660 in 2015. The best-paid made $87,640, while the lowest-paid earned about $32,280. Elementary and secondary schools employ the most school counselors, followed by colleges and universities. The top earners work in the metropolitan areas of Long Island in New York; El Centro, California; and Kingston, New York.
75th Percentile. $69,680
25th Percentile. $41,120
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Working in counseling requires a significant amount of training. Specific requirements to earn a practicing license or certificate vary by state, but most school counselors must have at least a master’s degree. During their time at an accredited degree program, an aspiring counselor will most likely get supervised experience in the field, and some states require applicants to have one to two years of classroom teaching experience before receiving certification. Many public school systems prefer candidates to have both counseling and teaching certificates.
Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that’s fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here’s how this job’s satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.
Upward Mobility. Below Average
Opportunities for advancements and salary
Stress Level. Above Average
Work environment and complexities of the job s responsibilities
Alternative working schedule and work life balance