High School Guidance Counselor: Average Salary of a High School Guidance Counselor

Published Aug 28, 2009

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High school guidance counselors help teenagers with a wide range of challenges, from applying for college to coping with social stresses. Counselors' salaries vary, depending on the part of the country in which they're employed and the number of years' experience they have. Keep reading for an overview of the profession and an analysis of what counselors earn annually.

High School Guidance Counselor Career Summary

High school guidance counselors help prepare students for their lives after secondary education. Counselors advise students on which college major suits them, help them meet admission requirements and make them aware of all possible financial aid and scholarship opportunities. In some cases, high school guidance counselors help students develop the necessary skills needed to create a resume, succeed in a job interview and find a job position that interests them. Outside of these specific duties, high school guidance counselors often function as a friend to students, helping them understand and cope with social and personal problems that arise.

In order to become a high school guidance counselor, several steps are required. A master's degree is needed along with internships and field training. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so aspiring high school guidance counselors should be aware of how their state sets these requirements. Receiving certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors (www.nbcc.org) is a helpful step toward obtaining a counseling position at a high school.

High School Guidance Counselor Career Outlook and Salary Information

School counselor positions are expected to grow by a considerably fast 14% between 2008 and 2018, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). The Bureau attributes this growth in part to more state governments requiring that schools employ counselors. Job prospects should be good for school counselors just entering the field due to the large number of retirees. Rural and urban areas will have the most favorable opportunities due to the tendency of hiring being difficult in these areas.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary was $51,050 for all educational, vocational and school counselors as of May 2008. The lowest 10 percent of school counselors make only $27,240 or less in a year while the highest 10 percent earn over $75,920 in a year. According to Payscale.com, secondary school counselors just entering the profession may earn around $30,000, and those with more than ten years of experience can earn upwards of $70,000. Furthermore, Payscale.com notes that counselors working in or around New York City or Los Angeles have the best earning potential, with some individuals earning $65,000 or above. By contrast, high school guidance counselors in Chicago and Boston tent to cap out at around $50,000.

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