Jobs, Salaries and Career after Masters in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services - Updated 2020

2018 median Pay for Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services

The median annual wage for school and career counselors was $56,310 in May 2018.


Pay

Some school counselors do not work during the summer when school is not in session.



Best paying jobs for Education


Number of Jobs for Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services

Number of Jobs in 2018 was 291,700


Education required

Master's degree


Job Outlook for Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services

Employment of school and career counselors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing school enrollments is expected to lead to employment growth of these workers.


Job description of Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services

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.

Duties

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.

Elementary school counselors focus on helping students develop certain skills, such as those used in decisionmaking and studying, that they need in order to be successful in their social and academic lives. School counselors meet with parents or guardians to discuss their child’s strengths and weaknesses, and any special needs and behavioral issues that the child might have. School counselors also work with teachers and administrators to ensure that the curriculum addresses both the developmental and academic needs of students.

Middle school counselors work with school staff, parents, and the community to create a caring, supportive environment for students to achieve academic success. They help the students develop the skills and strategies necessary to succeed academically and socially.

High school counselors advise students in making academic and career plans. Many help students overcome personal issues that interfere with their academic development. They help students choose classes and plan for their lives after graduation. Counselors provide information about choosing and applying for colleges, training programs, financial aid, and internships and apprenticeships. They may present career workshops to help students search and apply for jobs, write résumés, and improve their interviewing skills.

Career counselors typically do the following:

  • Use aptitude and achievement assessments to help clients evaluate their interests, skills, and abilities
  • Evaluate clients’ background, education, and training, to help them develop realistic goals
  • Guide clients through making decisions about their careers, such as choosing a new profession and the type of degree to pursue
  • Help clients learn job search skills, such as interviewing and networking
  • Assist clients in locating and applying for jobs, by teaching them strategies that will be helpful in finding openings and writing a résumé
  • Advise clients on how to resolve problems in the workplace, such as conflicts with bosses or coworkers
  • Help clients select and apply for educational programs, to obtain the necessary degrees, credentials, and skills

Career counselors work with clients at various stages of their careers. Some work in colleges, helping students choose a major or determine the jobs they are qualified for with their degrees. Career counselors also help people find and get jobs by teaching them job search, résumé writing, and interviewing techniques.

Career counselors also work with people who have already entered the workforce. These counselors develop plans to improve their clients’ current careers. They also provide advice about entering a new profession or helping to resolve workplace issues.

Some career counselors work in outplacement firms and assist laid-off workers with transitioning into new jobs or careers.


How to become Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services

Most school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. Some states require licensure for career counselors.

Education

Nearly all states and the District of Columbia require school counselors to have a master’s 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.

Some employers prefer that career counselors have a master’s degree in counseling with a focus on career development. Career counseling programs prepare students to assess clients’ skills and interests and to teach career development techniques.

Many master’s degree programs in counseling require students to have a period of supervised experience, such as an internship.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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 master’s degree in school counseling, an internship or practicum completed under the supervision of a licensed professional school counselor, and successful completion of a test.

Some states require applicants to have classroom teaching experience, or to hold a teaching license, prior to being certified. Most states require a criminal background check as part of the credentialing process. Information about requirements for each state is available from the American School Counselor Association.

Some states require licensure for career counselors; check with your state for more information. Contact information for state regulating boards is available from the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some states require school counselors to have 1 to 2 years of experience as a teacher, or to hold a teaching license, prior to being certified.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. School and career counselors interpret assessments to match interests and abilities with potential careers. 

Compassion. School and career counselors often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients and students.

Interpersonal skills. School and career counselors must be able to work with people of all backgrounds and personalities. They spend most of their time working directly with clients, students, or other professionals and need to form and maintain good working relationships with them.

Listening skills. School and career counselors need good listening skills. They need to give their full attention to students and clients in order to understand their problems.

Speaking skills. School and career counselors must communicate effectively with clients and students. They should express ideas and information in a way that their clients and students understand easily.


What people in similar profession do

Job Title What they do How to become one
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma. Most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer those who have a license or certification. Education Most states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some community colleges prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or graduate coursework in adult education or English as a Second Language (ESL).
Elementary Education and Teaching Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Private schools typically have the same requirement.
Secondary Education and Teaching High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market. High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require public high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history.
Early Childhood Education and Teaching Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children. Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They typically need at least an associate’s degree. Education Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree. Preschool teachers in Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.
Educational Leadership and Administration Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program. A bachelor’s degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, the educational requirements can vary by state. Some states or employers require them to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA). Education Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but educational requirements can vary by state.
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, student life, or the registrar’s office. Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. Employers typically prefer candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. Education Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. However, at smaller colleges or community college, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient.
Special Education and Teaching Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities. Special education teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification or license. Private schools typically require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, but the teachers are not required to be licensed or certified. For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education. Education All states require special education teachers in public schools to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Curriculum and Instruction Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. Career counselors help people choose careers and follow a path to employment. Most school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. Some states require licensure for career counselors. Education Nearly all states and the District of Columbia require school counselors to have a master’s 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.
Educational/Instructional Technology Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.

Job Outlook for other majors in Education

Job Title Number of jobs Median Salary Job outlook
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching 68200 $53630 Decline
Elementary Education and Teaching 1565300 $57980 As fast as average
Secondary Education and Teaching 1018700 $60320 As fast as average
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 478500 $29780 Faster than average
Educational Leadership and Administration 61800 $47940 Faster than average
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration 180100 $94340 Faster than average
Special Education and Teaching 439300 $59780 As fast as average
Curriculum and Instruction 163200 $64450 Faster than average
Educational/Instructional Technology 163200 $64450 Faster than average