A school counselor is responsible for monitoring the students' social and personal development, advising them of their career aspirations, and assisting them with their academic achievements and goals. School counselors also ensure that the students receive the highest learning standards to pave their way towards society's advancement and global competitiveness. They evaluate students' behavior through personal counseling, understanding their challenges, and develop strategies to overcome their needs. A school counselor must have excellent communication and decision-making skills, supporting students with their goals, and honing their skills efficiently.

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School Counselor Responsibilities

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

  • Manage open houses, recruitment, and conduct interviews for GED student enrollment.
  • Travel to professional conferences and to visit colleges and universities across the country for professional development.
  • Attend educational meetings (IEP, IST, CCT, etc . )
  • Create and implement FBA's.
  • Complete CPR training and other necessary training classes.
  • Communicate with DCF in regards to students as needed
  • Facilitate 504 and SST meeting with teachers, families, and psychologist.
  • Create lesson plans in reading, writing, and mathematics base on students' skill level.
  • Serve as site supervisor for internship program and school coordinator for NCAA eligibility for student athletes.
  • Work with all grade level ranging from Pre-K to 5th grade assuring a fun and safe environment.
  • Supervise and participate as a role model for the assigned children enroll in grades Pre-K to 5th.
  • Work with elementary kids with slight learning challenges after school helping them with homework and teaching them life-skills.
  • Provide clinical and therapeutic services to school age children (k-12) with a wide range of developmental disabilities.
  • Teach classroom guidance and college for kids, coordinate and over see small groups, and facilitate individual counseling.
  • Present testing and observation data to parents, faculty members, and students at CSE meetings and informing conferences.

School Counselor Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a school counselor does, you may be wondering, "should I become a school counselor?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, school counselors have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of school counselor opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 27,200.

School counselors average about $23.99 an hour, which makes the school counselor annual salary $49,904. Additionally, school counselors are known to earn anywhere from $36,000 to $68,000 a year. This means that the top-earning school counselors make $31,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become a school counselor, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a counselor internship, student services counselor, student support counselor, and residential counselor.

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School Counselor Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 10% of School Counselors are proficient in Mental Health, Community Resources, and Crisis Intervention. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Compassion, and Interpersonal skills.

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

  • Mental Health, 10%

    Provided school-based mental health services for mildly, moderately, and severely emotionally disturbed youth and significant problems within their families.

  • Community Resources, 8%

    Implemented a referral and follow-up process with community resources regarding students with identified social/emotional needs and, Juvenile Court involvement.

  • Crisis Intervention, 6%

    Lead social skills groups, provided crisis intervention services and developed and facilitated parent education programs related to various developmental topics.

  • Professional Development, 5%

    Offered professional development and ongoing support to K-6 teachers on Caring School Communities, a social-emotional classroom curriculum.

  • Behavioral Issues, 4%

    Identified resources for students with social-emotional and behavioral issues Fostered academic success, and Support College and career awareness and preparation.

  • CPR, 4%

    Maintained First Aid and CPR Certifications, as well as PA Child Abuse, Criminal History and FBI Fingerprint Clearances.

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"mental health," "community resources," and "crisis intervention" aren't the only skills we found school counselors list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of school counselor responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a school 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 school counselors can use analytical skills to "participated on uniform committee, data team, crisis team, early intervention team, redesign committee and pbis committee. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform school counselor duties is the following: compassion. According to a school counselor resume, "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." Check out this example of how school counselors use compassion: "provide at-risk youth with therapeutic and compassionate services. "
  • Interpersonal skills is also an important skill for school counselors to have. This example of how school counselors use this skill comes from a school counselor resume, "school and career counselors must be able to work with people of all backgrounds and personalities" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "teached children literacy skills, assist in developing interpersonal skills or help improve their academic performances. "
  • A school counselor responsibilities sometimes require "listening skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "school and career counselors need good listening skills" This resume example shows how this skill is used by school counselors: "communicated consistently with teachers and families regarding student academic progress, classroom behavior, and iep needs. "
  • Another common skill for a school counselor to be able to utilize is "speaking skills." School and career counselors must communicate effectively with clients and students a school counselor demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "presented at assemblies throughout the year on alcohol education, psat preparation, and elective course selection for upperclassmen. "
  • See the full list of school counselor skills.

    We've found that 48.0% of school counselors have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 34.8% earned their master's degrees before becoming a school counselor. While it's true that most school counselors have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every eight school counselors did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those school counselors who do attend college, typically earn either a school counseling degree or a psychology degree. Less commonly earned degrees for school counselors include a education degree or a counseling psychology degree.

    Once you're ready to become a school counselor, you should explore the companies that typically hire school counselors. According to school counselor resumes that we searched through, school counselors are hired the most by Nelnet, Leidos, and California Academy of Sciences. Currently, Nelnet has 74 school counselor job openings, while there are 35 at Leidos and 19 at California Academy of Sciences.

    Since salary is important to some school counselors, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at The Gow School, The Kew-Forest School, and New York Film Academy. If you were to take a closer look at The Gow School, you'd find that the average school counselor salary is $84,122. Then at The Kew-Forest School, school counselors receive an average salary of $68,764, while the salary at New York Film Academy is $63,897.

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

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at CampCo, Ymca, and Private Practice. These three companies have hired a significant number of school counselors from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious school 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.

    We looked at the average school counselor annual salary and compared it with the average of a counselor internship. Generally speaking, counselor interns receive $4,404 lower pay than school counselors per year.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between school counselors and counselor interns are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like community resources, crisis intervention, and behavioral issues.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a school counselor responsibilities require skills like "mental health," "professional development," "cpr," and "social work." Meanwhile a typical counselor internship has skills in areas such as "intake assessments," "substance abuse issues," "mental health issues," and "group therapy sessions." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Counselor interns really shine in the finance industry with an average salary of $51,629. Whereas school counselors tend to make the most money in the education industry with an average salary of $52,385.

    On average, counselor interns reach lower levels of education than school counselors. Counselor interns are 15.4% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Student Services Counselor?

    Student Services is a part of the school program that focuses on helping students in their studies. A Student Services Counselor handles this task and is the contact person for all students who need help or who have problems and issues requiring solutions and answers. In a culturally diverse population in schools, it is the student service counselor's job to connect each student to relevant student service programs available in the school. Ultimately, the welfare of the students and their success in school is the goal of this position.

    The next role we're going to look at is the student services counselor profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $8,729 lower salary than school counselors per year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both school counselors and student services counselors are known to have skills such as "mental health," "community resources," and "crisis intervention. "

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, school counselor responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "behavioral issues," "cpr," "child abuse," and "k-12." Meanwhile, a student services counselor might be skilled in areas such as "customer service," "student services," "rehabilitation," and "student accounts." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    On average, student services counselors earn a lower salary than school counselors. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, student services counselors earn the most pay in the government industry with an average salary of $45,469. Whereas, school counselors have higher paychecks in the education industry where they earn an average of $52,385.

    On the topic of education, student services counselors earn lower levels of education than school counselors. In general, they're 22.0% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.2% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Technology Do You Think Will Become More Important And Prevalent For School Counselors In The Next 3-5 Years?

    Laura L. Gallo Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Boise State University

    I think there could be a shift for more schools to go online, even after the pandemic is over, as more students/families find they prefer it. So, school counselors who are tech-savvy with doing online counseling and using the platforms available would be helpful. Other technology that connects people in different ways could be beneficial. I think another piece of this is for school counselors to be creative with how to use technology to benefit their students. How can we increase interaction and keep students engaged.Show more

    How a Student Support Counselor Compares

    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.

    The third profession we take a look at is student support counselor. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than school counselors. In fact, they make a $8,575 lower salary per year.

    By looking over several school counselors and student support counselors resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "mental health," "community resources," and "crisis intervention." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a school counselor is likely to be skilled in "social work," "child abuse," "k-12," and "academic performance," while a typical student support counselor is skilled in "student support," "support services," "powerpoint," and "direct care."

    Additionally, student support counselors earn a higher salary in the education industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $44,149. Additionally, school counselors earn an average salary of $52,385 in the education industry.

    Student support counselors typically study at lower levels compared with school counselors. For example, they're 21.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.2% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Residential Counselor

    A residential counselor is responsible for guiding and providing the residents with their basic needs and other resources to support them in their daily living. Residential counselors' duties include maintaining the safety of the community by enforcing safety guidelines and procedures for the residents' compliance, organizing productive and engaging community activities, updating the residents of any changes and policies in the community, and resolving conflicts by counseling and understanding each resident's differences. A residential counselor must have excellent communication and decision-making skills to ensure the development of residents in a living facility.

    Residential counselors tend to earn a lower pay than school counselors by about $15,787 per year.

    According to resumes from both school counselors and residential counselors, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "mental health," "community resources," and "crisis intervention. "

    Each job requires different skills like "professional development," "child abuse," "financial aid," and "k-12," which might show up on a school counselor resume. Whereas residential counselor might include skills like "direct care," "medication administration," "developmental disabilities," and "mental illness."

    Residential counselors earn a higher salary in the education industry with an average of $35,120. Whereas, school counselors earn the highest salary in the education industry.

    In general, residential counselors reach lower levels of education when compared to school counselors resumes. Residential counselors are 25.9% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.8% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.