School and career counselors essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $54,130
- 2010, number of jobs: 281,400
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 19 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
School and career counselors; what they do:
A good high school counselor makes a big difference in a student’s life, before and after graduation. School counselors get to know their students and help them develop the social skills to succeed in school, while school career counselors help individuals choose a career or educational program, then guide them toward employment, vocational or college options.
Counselors’ career opportunities include jobs as high school counselors, high school career counselors, elementary school counselors and middle school career counselors.
School and career counselors job duties:
- Providing intervention when students become involved in difficult situations at school
- Maintaining accurate and complete records, as required by various laws and policies
- Counseling individuals to help them understand and overcome problems that affect their educational or vocational situations
- Encouraging students to explore learning opportunities and to persevere in preparation for their later educational experiences
- Conferring with parents, teachers and other professionals about a student’s progress, any behavioral or academic problems to determine students’ priorities and the resources they’ll need available.
- Evaluating students or individuals’ abilities, interests and personality traits
- Counseling students on course and program selection; class scheduling and registration; adjusting to school; attendance; study habits and career planning.
- Providing alcohol and drug prevention programs and classes to teach students to handle conflicts without resorting to violence
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School and career counselors job titles:
- Guidance Counselor
- Academic Advisor
- Career Counselor
- Academic Counselor
- Career Center Director
- Career Services Director
School and Career Counselors Education, Certification and License Requirements
School counselors in most states must have a Master in School Counseling degree or a master’s degree in a related field. In career counseling, employers often prefer a Master in Counseling degree with a focus on career development. Many programs require supervised experience, such as an internship.
A school counselor must have state-issued credentials, sometimes called certification or endorsement. Most states require criminal background checks. While few employers require licensing for high school career counselors, career counselors who work in private practice must have a license. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, as well as passing grades on a state-recognized exam and annual continuing education.
School and career counselors programs cover subjects such as:
- Group counseling
- School counseling
- Cross-cultural counseling
- Testing and analysis
- Workplace diversity
- Organizational behavior
- Counseling administration
- History of counseling
School and Career Counselors Job Outlook
Forecast: 19 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for school and career counselors, due to rising school enrollments. Employment of school counselors in elementary, middle and high schools is expected to rise 8 percent, while projections call for a 34 percent growth in employment of school counselors and school career counselors in colleges, universities and professional schools. Jobs for school and career counselors in vocational rehabilitation service are expected to grow by 30 percent.
School and Career Counselors Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $54,130
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $69,890
- 2011, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $41,310
- Elementary and secondary schools
- Colleges, universities and professional schools
- Junior colleges
- Vocational rehabilitation services
- Individual and family services