School counselors work directly with students at all grade levels to ensure that they develop the necessary skills to become successful in their academics, future careers, and social lives.
School counselors are often responsible for helping students overcome behavioral or social problems, providing individual or small group counseling sessions, assisting students to set realistic goals for the future, designing strategies with teachers to help students succeed, reporting possible causes of child abuse, and referring students to additional support services.
How much does a school counselor make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 237,480 school counselors employed throughout educational settings in the United States are compensated with an average annual salary of $56,170, or $27.00 per hour.
The bottom ten percent in the profession brings home an annual salary of $31,920 or less, the top ten percent of school counselors earn $86,680+ each year. School counselors employed at colleges and universities make considerably less than average at $49,110 annually, but those that work at elementary and secondary schools earn a higher mean yearly wage of $62,970. The top-paying states for the occupation are New Jersey and Alaska, where school counselors earn $69,700 and $66,330 respectively.
The vast majority of school counselors, around 47 percent, school counselors are employed at local, state, and private elementary and secondary schools. Others have found employment at colleges, universities, professional schools, junior colleges, vocational rehabilitation services, and government career centers. Most school counselors work in a private office setting so that they have the ability to have confidential conversations openly with students or groups of students. Nearly all school counselors are employed on a full-time status during the traditional school year, but many have a two-month summer break.
As student enrollments at elementary, middle, and high schools nationwide continue to rise with increasing populations, there will be a boost in demand for school counselors to provide their services to meet the needs of growing student bodies. Employment for school counselors is expected to grow about as fast as the national average for all professions at a rate of 19 percent, which will create 53,400 new jobs before 2020. The most promising job prospects for school counselors are likely to occur at colleges, universities, and professional schools with an increased demand for career counseling services.