Typically working at schools, communities, or medical facilities, a peer counselor specializes in providing counseling to an individual or group of people, aiming to help them deal with and overcome crises. Their duties often include conducting initial assessments through interviews and appointments, listening to clients and offering advice, recommending opportunities, referring them to other support agencies, and coordinating treatment services as needed. Above all, a peer counselor must provide emotional support and guidance to clients, giving them comfort and a shoulder to lean on.

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Peer Counselor Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real peer counselor resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Conduct group check-in and co-lead group psychotherapy sessions to help clients identify and manage problems associate with psychiatric conditions.
  • Refer clients (as needed) to inpatient or outpatient substance abuse rehabilitation programs and assist them in qualifying for services.
  • Formulate and edit nutrition education materials and monthly newsletters for WIC participants.
  • Counsele and enroll people in ACA and ABE.
  • Work with multiple groups of undergraduate students to improve GPA's.
  • Present information via PowerPoint and hand-outs to students on the dangers of poor credit decisions.
  • Perform a variety of ministry opportunities with focus on Christian education for ages birth-6th grade ,
  • Oversee, support, provide sound spiritual counsel to, and shepherd the ministry staff.
  • Mentore HEOP underclassmen, provide academic and personal guidance to help increase GPA, retention and graduation rates.
  • Assist chemistry students in understanding concepts and administer grades
  • Create and conduct presentations for breastfeeding awareness for WIC participants.
  • Assist general chemistry students in carrying out their independent research during laboratories.
  • Host weekly study/tutoring sessions for lower level mathematics and statistics courses inside living center.
  • Develop regulations and policy manual for the transitional housing training and seminar for counselors.
  • Deliver extraordinary customer service to AAA members by accurately answering questions and interpreting club policy.

Peer Counselor Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a peer counselor is "should I become a peer counselor?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, peer counselor careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a peer counselor by 2028 is 27,200.

Peer counselors average about $18.01 an hour, which makes the peer counselor annual salary $37,464. Additionally, peer counselors are known to earn anywhere from $24,000 to $57,000 a year. This means that the top-earning peer counselors make $27,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become a peer counselor, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a counselor internship, admissions counselor, education counselor, and student support counselor.

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Peer Counselor Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 14% of Peer Counselors are proficient in Peer Support, Substance Abuse, and WIC Program. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Listening skills, and Speaking skills.

We break down the percentage of Peer Counselors that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Peer Support, 14%

    Provided crisis intervention services, short-term peer support, information, and referrals to campus and community resources/organizations.

  • Substance Abuse, 9%

    Provide community based substance abuse prevention counseling to culturally diverse population giving referrals and advocating for senior citizens.

  • WIC Program, 9%

    Provided breastfeeding education and hands on practices and services to a diverse population who participated in the WIC program.

  • Crisis Intervention, 7%

    Skilled in effective communication and assessing crisis interventions including: minor-age, manipulative, abusive, and mental health emergencies.

  • Community Resources, 6%

    Maintained knowledge of and communicating with available community resources and providing referrals for clients as appropriate.

  • Mental Illness, 6%

    Developed community and center volunteer activities for individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses.

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"peer support," "substance abuse," and "wic program" aren't the only skills we found peer counselors list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of peer counselor responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a peer counselor to have happens to be analytical skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "school and career counselors interpret assessments to match interests and abilities with potential careers. " Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that peer counselors can use analytical skills to "enter information into the database and provide peer counseling to pregnant women and mothers. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling peer counselor duties is listening skills. According to a peer counselor resume, "school and career counselors need good listening skills." Here's an example of how peer counselors are able to utilize listening skills: "listened and provided information on available community services. "
  • Speaking skills is also an important skill for peer counselors to have. This example of how peer counselors use this skill comes from a peer counselor resume, "school and career counselors must communicate effectively with clients and students" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "developed and provided information packets for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers; presented at community health fairs. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "compassion" is important to completing peer counselor responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way peer counselors use this skill: "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." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical peer counselor tasks: "provide guidance to freshmen and nontraditional students; engage with co-workers, bosses, and students; show leadership and compassion"
  • As part of the peer counselor description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "interpersonal skills." A peer counselor resume included this snippet: "school and career counselors must be able to work with people of all backgrounds and personalities" This skill could be useful in this scenario: "use excellent interpersonal skills to counsel and accompany sexual assault survivors. "
  • See the full list of peer counselor skills.

    Before becoming a peer counselor, 61.4% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 7.7% peer counselors went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most peer counselors have a college degree. But about one out of every seven peer counselors didn't attend college at all.

    The peer counselors who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied psychology and business, while a small population of peer counselors studied sociology and criminal justice.

    Once you're ready to become a peer counselor, you should explore the companies that typically hire peer counselors. According to peer counselor resumes that we searched through, peer counselors are hired the most by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Open Sky Community Services, and Catholic Community Services of Utah. Currently, Sea Mar Community Health Centers has 15 peer counselor job openings, while there are 10 at Open Sky Community Services and 8 at Catholic Community Services of Utah.

    If you're interested in companies where peer counselors make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, GradyHealth, and Seneca Resources. We found that at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, the average peer counselor salary is $64,781. Whereas at GradyHealth, peer counselors earn roughly $60,932. And at Seneca Resources, they make an average salary of $47,984.

    View more details on peer counselor salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire peer counselors from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include CampCo, Ymca, and Private Practice.

    For the most part, peer counselors make their living in the non profits and health care industries. Peer counselors tend to make the most in the education industry with an average salary of $47,483. The peer counselor annual salary in the non profits and professional industries generally make $38,818 and $38,742 respectively. Additionally, peer counselors who work in the education industry make 19.9% more than peer counselors in the government Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious peer counselors are:

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    What Counselor Internships Do

    When it comes to Counselor Internship, among the primary responsibilities is to assist in dealing with various activities such as preparing and verifying necessary documentation, observing consultations and outreach programs, guide clients and help develop multiple helpful strategies, and provide assessments. Furthermore, one can conduct counseling and consultation only under supervision. It is also essential to track the information gathered and coordinate with assigned personnel to adhere to the company's regulations and policies.

    In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take counselor internship for example. On average, the counselor interns annual salary is $8,036 higher than what peer counselors make on average every year.

    Even though peer counselors and counselor interns have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require crisis intervention, community resources, and mental illness in the day-to-day roles.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A peer counselor responsibility is more likely to require skills like "peer support," "substance abuse," "wic program," and "support services." Whereas a counselor internship requires skills like "intake assessments," "substance abuse issues," "group therapy sessions," and "family therapy." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Counselor interns tend to make the most money in the finance industry by averaging a salary of $51,629. In contrast, peer counselors make the biggest average salary of $47,483 in the education industry.

    On average, counselor interns reach higher levels of education than peer counselors. Counselor interns are 11.7% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of an Admissions Counselor?

    An admissions counselor is the primary point of contact between a university or college and their potential students. One of their primary responsibilities is to represent the school during various events for recruitment purposes, discuss the admission procedures to the students and their families through calls or appointments, and facilitate university tours and orientation among prospective students. Furthermore, they must gather applicants' requirements, verify their authenticity, and determine if they are qualified for the institution. They may also decide student admissions, all while adhering to the college's policies and guidelines.

    Now we're going to look at the admissions counselor profession. On average, admissions counselors earn a $1,834 higher salary than peer counselors a year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Peer counselors and admissions counselors both include similar skills like "financial aid," "educational programs," and "powerpoint" on their resumes.

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real peer counselor resumes. While peer counselor responsibilities can utilize skills like "peer support," "substance abuse," "wic program," and "crisis intervention," some admissions counselors use skills like "customer service," "patients," "social work," and "admissions process."

    On average, admissions counselors earn a higher salary than peer counselors. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, admissions counselors earn the most pay in the professional industry with an average salary of $41,517. Whereas, peer counselors have higher paychecks in the education industry where they earn an average of $47,483.

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, admissions counselors tend to reach higher levels of education than peer counselors. In fact, they're 6.8% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How an Education Counselor Compares

    The work of education counselors revolves around giving students advice about their course choice, career structuring, and supporting them in their school endeavors. They must have the empathy to help students adjust to their everyday struggles and personal conflicts. They often give students information about scholarship grants and help them apply. They organize seminars talking about alcohol consumption and smoking. Counselors also discuss strategies to improve school performance regarding overall counseling services.

    The education counselor profession generally makes a higher amount of money when compared to the average salary of peer counselors. The difference in salaries is education counselors making $8,001 higher than peer counselors.

    Using peer counselors and education counselors resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "substance abuse," "crisis intervention," and "community resources," but the other skills required are very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from peer counselors resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "peer support," "wic program," "mental illness," and "role model." But a education counselor might have skills like "mental health," "behavioral problems," "applied behavior analysis," and "tuition assistance."

    Education counselors make a very good living in the education industry with an average annual salary of $45,415. Whereas peer counselors are paid the highest salary in the education industry with the average being $47,483.

    Education counselors typically study at higher levels compared with peer counselors. For example, they're 12.6% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 2.2% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Student Support Counselor

    A student support counselor is responsible for identifying the students' strengths and challenges through one-on-one counseling and establishing solutions to help them overcome difficulties and achieve their educational goals and aspirations. Student support counselors assist the faculty in determining appropriate programs and activities to develop the students' capabilities, especially as a way of preparing them with their career objectives. They also coordinate with the students' families for extended guidance and support for their growth and development.

    Student support counselors tend to earn a higher pay than peer counselors by about $3,865 per year.

    While their salaries may vary, peer counselors and student support counselors both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "substance abuse," "crisis intervention," and "community resources. "

    Each job requires different skills like "peer support," "wic program," "mental health issues," and "community outreach," which might show up on a peer counselor resume. Whereas student support counselor might include skills like "student support," "mental health," "professional development," and "behavioral issues."

    In general, student support counselors make a higher salary in the education industry with an average of $44,149. The highest peer counselor annual salary stems from the education industry.

    Student support counselors reach higher levels of education when compared to peer counselors. The difference is that they're 6.0% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 0.4% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.