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Working as a Counselor

While there are several different types of counselors, in general they spend their time helping people overcome and understand specific problems. Although, not every counselor is going to have a couch, as depicted by TV, most do work in private office settings.

The scope of the types of counselors seems to be never-ending. From school counselors to family and marriage counselors, and even mental health counselors, people who go into this field have a range of what area they want to focus on.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a counselor. For example, did you know that they make an average of $18.94 an hour? That's $39,400 a year!

What Does a Counselor Do

There are certain skills that many counselors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, speaking skills and compassion.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a counselor, we found that a lot of resumes listed 11.3% of counselors included crisis intervention, while 7.7% of resumes included substance abuse, and 7.3% of resumes included counselors. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the counselor job title. But what industry to start with? Most counselors actually find jobs in the health care and non profits industries.

How To Become a Counselor

If you're interested in becoming a counselor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 45.8% of counselors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 26.8% of counselors have master's degrees. Even though most counselors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a counselor. When we researched the most common majors for a counselor, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on counselor resumes include high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a counselor. In fact, many counselor jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many counselors also have previous career experience in roles such as cashier or volunteer.

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Average Salary$39,400

Counselor Jobs

Counselor Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Counselor. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Counselor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Counselor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Counselor Career Paths

Top Careers Before Counselor

Top Careers After Counselor

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Counselor

Counselors in America make an average salary of $39,400 per year or $19 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $55,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Salary
$39,400

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range37k - 64k$49k$48,728
Salary Range36k - 60k$47k$46,813
Salary Range35k - 54k$44k$44,248
Salary Range32k - 53k$42k$41,842
Salary Range32k - 52k$41k$41,228
Salary Range29k - 52k$39k$39,385
$27k
$64k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Treatment Counselor
Treatment Counselor
McKinley Children's Center
McKinley Children's Center
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$29,74010/30/2020
$29,740
Tourist Information Counselor
Tourist Information Counselor
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
10/27/2020
10/27/2020
$33,49610/27/2020
$33,496
Dshs WSH Institution Counselor 3
Dshs WSH Institution Counselor 3
Washington State
Washington State
10/27/2020
10/27/2020
$45,50410/27/2020
$45,504
Counselor (Tues-Sat)
Counselor (Tues-Sat)
Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.
Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.
10/25/2020
10/25/2020
$33,39210/25/2020
$33,392
Counselor
Counselor
University of Florida
University of Florida
10/21/2020
10/21/2020
$40,00010/21/2020
$40,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Counselor Demographics

Gender

female

58.3%

male

36.5%

unknown

5.2%

Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

11.5%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.8%

French

10.4%

Italian

3.0%
See More Demographics

Counselor Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

45.8%

Masters

26.8%

High School Diploma

9.9%

Top Colleges for Counselors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA

Tuition and fees
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

3. Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Tuition and fees
$55,464
Enrollment
9,639

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Tuition and fees
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

6. Boston University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Tuition and fees
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

8. New York University

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

9. Fordham University

Bronx, NY

Tuition and fees
$52,687
Enrollment
9,392

10. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO

Tuition and fees
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Counselor

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Counselor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.3% of counselors listed crisis intervention on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and speaking skills are important as well.

  • Crisis Intervention, 11.3%
  • Substance Abuse, 7.7%
  • Counselors, 7.3%
  • Treatment Plans, 6.9%
  • Mental Health, 4.8%
  • Other Skills, 62.0%
  • See All Counselor Skills

Best States For a Counselor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a counselor. The best states for people in this position are Oregon, Alaska, Washington, and Nevada. Counselors make the most in Oregon with an average salary of $45,576. Whereas in Alaska and Washington, they would average $45,058 and $43,928, respectively. While counselors would only make an average of $43,905 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nevada

Total Counselor Jobs:
101
Highest 10% Earn:
$72,000
Location Quotient:
1.3
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Counselor Jobs:
138
Highest 10% Earn:
$71,000
Location Quotient:
0.98
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Mexico

Total Counselor Jobs:
72
Highest 10% Earn:
$65,000
Location Quotient:
1.1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Counselor Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a counselor. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless counselor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Counselor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless counselor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

How Do Counselor Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

2.0

Drowning in paperworkApril 2019

2.0

Zippia Official LogoDrowning in paperworkApril 2019

What do you like the most about working as Counselor?

Change agent when people are stuck and need support in the process of restoration. One on one and group processing is powerful. Show More

What do you NOT like?

The over documentation required by DHS that robs the quality time needed in intervention and treatment. This lopsided demand makes the term “best practices” mere bureaucratic lip service without the means to actually deliver quality hands on services. Show More

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Top Counselor Employers

1. YMCA
3.2
Avg. Salary: 
$29,108
Counselors Hired: 
1,786+
2. Camp Systems International
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$39,419
Counselors Hired: 
983+
3. The Salvation Army
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$34,635
Counselors Hired: 
233+
4. Devereux Foundation
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$33,066
Counselors Hired: 
202+
5. Boys & Girls Clubs of America
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$31,726
Counselors Hired: 
193+
6. Adelphoi
3.3
Avg. Salary: 
$37,580
Counselors Hired: 
142+

Counselor Videos

Recently Added Counselor Jobs