A career in education doesn’t always mean a career as a teacher. Working as a school counselor was recently rated one of the top 10 best jobs in social services by U.S. News & World Report. Like traditional counseling or career counseling, being a school counselor involves getting to know the people under your care, working with them through their challenges and helping them grow and thrive.
School counselors often work with teachers to help students excel. School counselors tend to work with the entire student body, or with a large subsection of it, as well as with staff and faculty. A career as a school counselor involves watching students grow and develop, helping them overcome their challenges and working with them to achieve their goals.
School counseling is a growing profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs are expected to increase 8 percent by 2024, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. This translates into 22,500 more potential jobs.
A school counselor can expect to make an average of $53,660 per year, the BLS reports. Counselors in elementary and secondary schools earn a higher median wage ($61,260 annually). Highly skilled and experienced counselors can make as much as $86,610, according to U.S. News & World Report.
In addition, school counselors often enjoy the same benefits teachers do, including paid holidays and summers off.
Most public schools require a master’s degree in order to be a school counselor, in addition to any state certification that might be required. Private schools may have different requirements.
A school counselor working with elementary students should be familiar with the needs of developing children. High school counselors should familiarize themselves with college requirements and the job market, in order to help students develop the skills they need to transition from secondary school to higher education or the workforce.