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Become An Academic Counselor

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Working As An Academic Counselor

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $51,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Academic Counselor Do

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills and succeed in school. Career counselors assist people with the process of making career decisions by helping them develop skills or choose a career or educational program.

Duties

School counselors typically do the following:

  • Evaluate students’ abilities and interests through aptitude assessments, interviews, and individual planning
  • Identify issues that impact school performance, such as poor classroom attendance rates
  • Help students understand and overcome social or behavioral problems through classroom guidance lessons and counseling
  • Counsel individuals and small groups on the basis of student and school needs
  • Work with students to develop skills, such as organizational and time management abilities and effective study habits
  • Help students create a plan to achieve academic and career goals
  • Collaborate with teachers, administrators, and parents to help students succeed
  • Teach students and school staff about certain topics, such as bullying, drug abuse, and planning for college or careers after graduation
  • Report possible cases of neglect or abuse and refer students and parents to resources outside the school for additional support

The specific duties of school counselors vary with the ages of their students.

Elementary school counselors focus on helping students develop certain skills, such as those used in decisionmaking and studying, that they need in order to be successful in their social and academic lives. They meet with parents or guardians to discuss their child’s strengths and weaknesses, and any possible special needs and behavioral issues. School counselors also work with teachers and administrators to ensure that the curriculum addresses both the developmental and academic needs of students.

Middle school counselors work with school staff, parents and the community to create a caring, supportive climate and atmosphere for students to achieve academic success. They help the students develop the skills and strategies necessary to succeed academically and socially.

High school counselors advise students in making academic and career plans. Many help students overcome personal issues that interfere with their academic development. They help students choose classes and plan for their lives after graduation. Counselors provide information about choosing and applying for colleges, training programs, financial aid, and internships and apprenticeships. They may present career workshops to help students search and apply for jobs, write résumés, and improve their interviewing skills.

Career counselors typically do the following:

  • Use aptitude and achievement assessments to help clients evaluate their interests, skills, and abilities
  • Evaluate clients’ background, education, and training, to help them develop realistic goals
  • Guide clients through making decisions about their careers, such as choosing a new profession and the type of degree to pursue
  • Help clients learn job search skills, such as interviewing and networking
  • Assist clients in locating and applying for jobs, by teaching them strategies to find openings and how to write a résumé
  • Advise clients on how to resolve problems in the workplace, such as conflicts with bosses or coworkers
  • Help clients select and apply for educational programs, to obtain the necessary degrees, credentials, and skills

Career counselors work with clients at various stages of their careers. Some work in colleges. They may help students choose a major or help students determine what jobs they are qualified for with their degrees.

Career counselors also work with people who have already entered the workforce. These counselors develop plans to improve their client’s current career. They also provide advice about entering a new profession.

Some career counselors work in outplacement firms and assist laid-off workers with transitioning into new jobs or careers. Others work in corporate career centers to assist employees in making decisions about their career path within the company.

Career counselors who work in private practice must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with clients to receive payments for their services.

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How To Become An Academic Counselor

Most school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. Some employers prefer that career counselors have a master’s degree. Career counselors who work in private practices may also need a license.

Education

Most states require school counselors to have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. Programs in school counseling teach students about fostering academic development; conducting group and individual counseling; working with parents, school staff, and community organizations; and using data to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs for all students. These programs often require students to gain experience through an internship or practicum.

Some employers prefer that career counselors have a master’s degree in counseling with a focus on career development. Career counseling programs prepare students to assess clients’ skills and interests and to teach career development techniques. Many programs require students to have a period of supervised experience, such as an internship.  

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Public school counselors must have a state-issued credential to practice. This credential can be called a certification, a license, or an endorsement, depending on the state. Licensure or certification typically requires a master’s degree in school counseling and an internship or practicum completed under the supervision of a licensed professional school counselor.

Some states require applicants to have 1 to 2 years of classroom teaching experience, or to hold a teaching license, prior to being certified. Most states require a criminal background check as part of the credentialing process. Information about requirements for each state is available from the American School Counselor Association.

Although some employers prefer to hire licensed career counselors, licensure is not required by all states. Contact information for state regulating boards is available from the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Although most states do not require work experience in a related occupation, some states require school counselors to have 1 to 2 years of classroom teaching experience, or to hold a teaching license, prior to being certified. Please see the Similar Occupations tab for more information on teaching occupations.

Important Qualities

Compassion. School and career counselors often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients and students.

Interpersonal skills. School and career counselors must be able to work with different types of people. They spend most of their time working directly with clients, students, or other professionals and need to form and maintain good working relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for school and career counselors. They need to give their full attention to students and clients in order to understand their problems.

Speaking skills. School and career counselors must communicate effectively with clients and students. They should express ideas and information in a way that their clients and students understand easily.

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Academic Counselor Career Paths

Academic Counselor
Academic Adviser Adjunct Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Academic Adviser Adjunct Instructor Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Academic Adviser Adjunct Instructor Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Counselor Team Leader President
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Counselor Instructor Lead Teacher
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Counselor Team Leader Training Manager
Director Of Training
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Consultant Program Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Consultant Principal
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Team Leader Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Guidance Counselor Case Manager Director Of Admissions
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Guidance Counselor Principal Associate Director
Finance Aid Director
7 Yearsyrs
Guidance Counselor Case Manager Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
School Counselor Adjunct Professor Professor
Associate Dean
11 Yearsyrs
School Counselor Adjunct Professor Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Faculty Case Manager Director Of Admissions
Enrollment Management Director
8 Yearsyrs
Faculty Principal Associate Director
Career Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
School Counselor School Psychologist Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Human Resources Generalist Recruitment Manager
Assistant Director Of Admissions
5 Yearsyrs
Coach Support Specialist Enrollment Specialist
Enrollment Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Faculty Associate Dean Academic Dean
Student Services Director
5 Yearsyrs
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Academic Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

57.7%

Male

30.3%

Unknown

12.0%
Ethnicity

White

58.0%

Hispanic or Latino

18.6%

Black or African American

10.0%

Asian

8.5%

Unknown

4.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.5%

French

5.0%

Cantonese

4.4%

Mandarin

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Russian

3.1%

Chinese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Italian

2.5%

Vietnamese

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Japanese

1.9%

Swahili

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Samoan

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Khmer

0.6%

Turkish

0.6%
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Academic Counselor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

59.0%

Arizona State University

8.8%

Grand Canyon University

4.1%

Northern Arizona University

3.1%

Argosy University-Phoenix

2.8%

University of California - San Diego

1.9%

Capella University

1.8%

University of California - Berkeley

1.6%

Walden University

1.6%

National University

1.5%

University of Southern California

1.5%

Western International University

1.5%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

1.5%

University of Oklahoma

1.5%

Washington State University

1.4%

Liberty University

1.4%

South University

1.4%

University of Arizona

1.4%

San Jose State University

1.2%

San Diego State University

1.2%
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Majors

Business

20.2%

School Counseling

10.9%

Psychology

8.9%

Counseling Psychology

6.7%

Elementary Education

6.5%

Education

6.4%

Educational Leadership

5.6%

Human Resources Management

4.8%

Management

3.7%

Communication

3.3%

English

3.0%

Social Work

3.0%

Mental Health Counseling

3.0%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Sociology

2.5%

Kinesiology

2.3%

Marketing

1.9%

Political Science

1.8%

Public Administration

1.5%

Law

1.4%
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Degrees

Masters

57.7%

Bachelors

24.7%

Other

6.3%

Doctorate

6.0%

Certificate

3.3%

Associate

1.6%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$51,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$27,000
Min 10%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Chegg
Highest Paying City
Westfield, MA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does an Academic Counselor make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Academic Counselor in the United States is $51,698 per year or $25 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $28,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $95,000.

Real Academic Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Academic Counselor Howard University Washington, DC Apr 18, 2011 $74,000
Academic Counselor Advanced California Innovative Institute Inc. Alhambra, CA Apr 01, 2015 $69,184
Academic Counselor Commonwealth of Massachusetts Brockton, MA Feb 05, 2012 $55,908
Academic Counselor Virginia Christian University Chantilly, VA Apr 12, 2015 $53,144
Executive Academic Counselor University of Phoenix, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Aug 12, 2011 $52,000
Academic Counselor C2 Educational Systems, Inc. Livingston, NJ Sep 17, 2011 $51,917
Academic Counselor Olivet University San Francisco, CA May 25, 2010 $49,733
Academic Counselor NUR-UL-Islam Academy, Inc. Cooper City, FL Mar 18, 2016 $48,131
Academic Counselor Georgia Christian University Inc. Atlanta, GA Nov 11, 2013 $47,112
Athletic Academic Counselor The University of Memphis Memphis, TN Jun 04, 2015 $45,256
Academic Counselor Herguan University, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Dec 01, 2010 $45,000
Academic Counselor I-Athletics Jackson State University Jackson, MS Apr 27, 2016 $44,000
Athletic Academic Counselor The University of Memphis Memphis, TN Jun 04, 2012 $43,500
Academic Counselor Georgia Christian University, Inc. Atlanta, GA Feb 06, 2016 $43,451
Academic Counselor, Instructor & Certified Strength & Condit Westfield State University Westfield, MA Aug 26, 2016 $42,874
Academic Counselor Student's Life, Inc. Camp Hill, PA Aug 18, 2015 $41,246
Academic Counselor KEIO Academy of New York NY Sep 12, 2013 $40,600
Academic Counselor KEIO Academy of New York NY Oct 01, 2012 $40,600
Academic Counselor Apollo Group, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Oct 01, 2012 $40,355
Academic Counselor University of Phoenix, Inc., An Apollo Group, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Aug 13, 2012 $40,355
Academic Counselor ICW Academy, LLC Annandale, VA Sep 24, 2015 $39,437
Academic Counselor Beida Jade Bird Int'l Education Limited Washington, DC Aug 29, 2014 $39,437
Academic Counselor California College of Communications San Jose, CA Sep 29, 2011 $39,000
Academic Counselor WELS America, Inc. Beaumont, CA Nov 15, 2009 $38,854
Academic Counselor Beida Jade Bird Int'l Education Limited Washington, DC Oct 01, 2012 $38,459
Academic Counselor Beida Jade Bird Int'l Education Limited Washington, DC Mar 01, 2012 $38,459

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Top Skills for An Academic Counselor

  1. Academic Performance
  2. Student Learning
  3. Counselors
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitored academic performance, intervened with students in academic difficulty and solved complications with student issues, career plans and admissions.
  • Created individual student learning plans to enhance strategies in time management, study skills, and career advancement.
  • Cross-trained and provided back-up for other academic counselors when needed.
  • Facilitated college and financial aid workshops to increase student and parent awareness of higher education and financial aid opportunities.
  • Conducted preregistration workshops for first-semester freshmen, explaining academic guidelines and online registration process.

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Top 10 Best States for Academic Counselors

  1. New Jersey
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Delaware
  4. California
  5. Washington
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Alaska
  8. Nevada
  9. Wyoming
  10. Texas
  • (133 jobs)
  • (153 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (433 jobs)
  • (108 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (197 jobs)

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