School Counselor Career Profile

Like any other kind of counselor, a school counselor is trained in psychological methods and has to be licensed by the State of employment in order to find a job. School counselors are important to the functioning of any school system, because they are responsible for the individual guidance of the students. School counselors fill in the gaps between a student's potential and their actual achievement. School counselors may work in a variety of settings, but the job changes slightly when a jump is made from K-12 to higher education.


The typical educational requirement for a school counselor is at least a master's degree for licensing eligibility. Requirements vary by State. In some cases, a bachelor's degree with the appropriate types of classes is acceptable, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Licensing and certification requirements vary by State, according to the BLS.


School counselors play an important role in an educational facility. They advise students on appropriate coursework, career planning, personal issues and refer students to other resources like counseling services and testing services. School counselors may also play administrative roles. Counselors may advise students of different ages, or work with a particular class.

Types of Jobs

School counselors find employment in public and private schools, in all grade levels. Jobs in higher education generally pay more. Counselors may also find employment in vocational and technical schools. Some counselors lend out their services, like financial aid and college planning, on a private basis. These rates are generally negotiable and follow the standard in the area.

Guidance Counselor

Guidance counselors generally work in public and private schools and may see students from Kindergarten to high school. Guidance counselors are responsible for making sure that students are academically on track and prepared for the next grade level. Guidance counselors may also help students with personal issues and serve as a safe haven for students who are having personal problems that interfere with coursework. Guidance counselors provide individualized counseling to students, tailored to help each student achieve. In higher education, students do not necessarily have guidance counselors, but rather licensed psychological counselors.

Admissions Counselor

Admissions counselor jobs are usually for private schools or jobs in higher education. Admissions counselors advise students who are applying to a college, university or other institution of higher education. They consult with potential students on things like admissions requirements, scholarship eligibility, recommended classes and experiences for first-year students, housing and generally field questions from students are parents about any issue regarding the college experience as a whole. Admissions counselors may also help students who do not qualify for admission figure out what they can do improve their credentials and apply again the next year. Admissions counselors also refer students to other sources of information like housing and financial aid departments.


Guidance counselors generally earn about $50,000 per year. Advancement strategies may include receiving graduate education in counseling or a related field. A master's degree, for instance, would be required for a guidance counselor who wished to make a career transition from K-12 counseling to mental health counseling in higher education.