What does a School Counselor do?

School counselors work in all levels of the school system to support the social, emotional and academic well-being of students. As a school counselor, you will collaborate with school and school district staff to help students succeed in all aspects of their lives. This can be helping students through social and emotional challenges or liaising with other agencies and organizations outside the school. You may also help students with course planning and applying for post-secondary education.

A master's degree is necessary for those wanting to work as a school counselor. This is generally required to be in counseling, but may also be in social work. You must also be sensitive to others' needs, have strong organizational and interpersonal skills and be able to recognize when and what type of intervention is needed.

What responsibilities are common for School Counselor jobs?
  • respond effectively to crises affecting students and faculty
  • provide mental health and behavioral counseling to students
  • recognize and appropriately take care of individual students' socio-emotional challenges
  • submit referrals to outside agencies as necessary for students' well-being
  • coordinate and facilitate groups for students, such as for improving social skills or addressing behavioral challenges
  • complete regular reports for services provided, such as session notes and incident reports
  • collaborate with teaching staff to determine how best to meet individual students' needs
  • work with school faculty and staff to develop plans for maintaining the well-being of individual students and of the student population as a whole
What are the typical qualifications for School Counselor jobs?
  • master's degree in counseling
  • knowledge of multiple counseling approaches
  • proficiency in the use of word processing and spreadsheet applications
  • familiarity with online learning platforms
  • 3+ years of experience working as a counselor with youth
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • empathy and sensitivity to others' needs
  • strong interpersonal skills
  • creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a School Counselor make?

$78,715 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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School Counselor Career Path

Learn how to become a School Counselor, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training
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School Counselor Insights

Read what School Counselor professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Methodist Children's Home SocietyMethodist Children's Home Society
Youth Specialist
Feb 27, 2022

“My supervisor is receptive to feedback and makes sure I understand what is expected of me.”

SMA HealthcareSMA Healthcare
Youth Specialist
Sep 13, 2020

“It felt really impactful and I appreciated the training we were given and the policies in place to outline good boundaries.”

Penn StatePenn State
Student Consultant
Jul 9, 2021

“Everyone I worked with was super nice and helpful”

The Arbutus ClubThe Arbutus Club
Youth Leader
Oct 2, 2021

“The other staff does not treat you well and this is primarily based on your experience working in this position.”

Cambridge Consulting NetworkCambridge Consulting Network
Student Consultant
Mar 4, 2022

“Learned a lot from the consulting project and I think it is beneficial to my future career.”

Grand Canyon UniversityGrand Canyon University
Student Services Counselor
Mar 25, 2022

“How stressful this becomes really depends on what region and management team you get put with.”

Westlake High School
Professional School Counselor
May 18, 2021

“I was very close to home and my school age child.”

Family & Children's ServicesFamily & Children's Services
School-based Therapist
Jul 31, 2021

“Overall job training was insufficient.”

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School Counselor Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a School Counselor

The most similar professions to School Counselor are:
  • Counselor
  • Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Aba Therapist

Related Careers

No skills overlap
No skills overlap
Social Worker
No skills overlap
Aba Therapist
No skills overlap

School Counselor Jobs