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Become A Vocational Counselor

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Working As A Vocational 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 A Vocational 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 A Vocational 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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Vocational Counselor Career Paths

Vocational Counselor
Counselor Therapist
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Counselor Therapist Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Counselor Clinician Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Therapist
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Clinician Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Clinician Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Program Manager Clinical Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Employment Specialist Recruiter Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Employment Specialist Program Coordinator Clinical Social Worker
Social Work Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Employment Specialist Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
Vocational Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Mental Health Therapist Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Counselor Ambulatory Care Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Counselor Clinical Social Worker Social Work Supervisor
Director Of Social Work
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Counselor Family Therapist Outpatient Physical Therapist
Therapist And Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Program Coordinator Ambulatory Care Coordinator
Family Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Mental Health Therapist Mental Health Case Manager
Housing Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Ambulatory Care Coordinator Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Guidance Counselor Adjunct Professor Psychotherapist
Senior Clinician
7 Yearsyrs
School Counselor Family Counselor Family Service Counselor
Family Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Career Counselor 3.5 years
Vocational Trainer 2.7 years
Counselor 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Vocational Counselor
Case Manager 15.0%
Internship 10.7%
Counselor 8.7%
Teacher 6.0%
Instructor 3.3%
Volunteer 3.0%
Supervisor 2.7%
Top Careers After Vocational Counselor
Case Manager 14.2%
Counselor 8.9%
Clinician 5.4%
Teacher 4.5%
Therapist 4.2%
Internship 4.1%
Supervisor 3.8%
Consultant 3.6%

Do you work as a Vocational Counselor?

Vocational Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

61.6%

Male

25.7%

Unknown

12.7%
Ethnicity

White

61.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.7%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

3.4%
Show More
Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.3%

French

7.1%

Portuguese

4.8%

German

4.8%

Russian

3.6%

Irish

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Lithuanian

1.2%

Dutch

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Romanian

1.2%

Filipino

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Armenian

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Italian

1.2%
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Vocational Counselor Education

Schools

New York University

9.5%

Capella University

9.5%

Fordham University

8.6%

College of New Rochelle

7.1%

Jackson State University

6.2%

Hunter College of the City University of New York

5.7%

University of Phoenix

5.7%

Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry

4.8%

Liberty University

4.8%

University of North Texas

4.3%

Springfield College

4.3%

Hofstra University

4.3%

Walden University

3.8%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.3%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.3%

Grand Canyon University

3.3%

Troy University

2.9%

Boston College

2.9%

State University of New York College at Oswego

2.9%

Humboldt State University

2.9%
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Majors

Psychology

15.9%

School Counseling

10.7%

Rehabilitation Science

10.6%

Social Work

9.8%

Mental Health Counseling

6.8%

Counseling Psychology

6.3%

Education

6.1%

Business

4.9%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Human Services

4.1%

Sociology

3.5%

Elementary Education

2.3%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Special Education

2.0%

Nursing

1.9%

Management

1.9%

Public Administration

1.8%

Communication

1.8%

Human Development

1.8%

Clinical Psychology

1.8%
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Degrees

Masters

45.9%

Bachelors

29.1%

Other

12.0%

Certificate

4.2%

Associate

4.1%

Doctorate

3.8%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$51,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$28,000
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%
$91,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Acacia Communications
Highest Paying City
Smithtown, NY
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Vocational Counselor make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Vocational Counselor in the United States is $51,145 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 $91,000.

Real Vocational Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Vocational Counselor Careers You Love, Inc. San Diego, CA Dec 22, 2014 $57,000
Vocational Counselor Careers You Love, Inc. Temecula, CA Dec 02, 2011 $55,973 -
$58,436
Educational & Vocational Counselor BP Career Consulting Inc. New York, NY Dec 14, 2015 $54,199
Engineering Vocational Counselor Techlink Northwest, Inc. Redmond, WA Jan 07, 2012 $50,000 -
$65,000
SR. Vocational Rehab Counselor Department of Rehabilitation, Ca Novato, CA Jun 09, 2011 $49,136
Vocational Counselor Careers You Love, Inc. San Diego, CA Dec 01, 2014 $47,124
Vocational Counselor for Fordham Career Ambassadors (FCA) Fordham University New York, NY Apr 16, 2015 $46,000
Vocational Counselor Center for Religion & Psychotherapy Chicago, IL Dec 09, 2010 $46,000
Educational and Vocational Counselor Asian American Civic Association Boston, MA Dec 17, 2010 $42,224
Vocational Counselor El Capitan K-12 Public School Colorado City, AZ Jul 13, 2015 $41,974
Vocational Counselor Colorado City Unified School District #14 Colorado City, AZ Jan 27, 2015 $41,974
Educational and Vocational Counselor Henderson Christian University Cramerton, NC May 03, 2010 $41,740 -
$23
International Vocational Counselor CREO Consulting, LLC Cincinnati, OH Dec 19, 2016 $40,830
Vocational Counselor West Coast Ultrasound Institute Inc. Beverly Hills, CA Sep 10, 2014 $40,456
Vocational Counselor (INT. Title Comp Asst Tech Specialist) Center for Sight & Hearing Rockford, IL Sep 12, 2015 $40,394
Educational & Vocational Counselor BP Career Consulting Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $40,144
Vocational Autism Counselor Nicholas Center for Autism Port Washington, NY Oct 27, 2014 $40,000
Counselor/Vocational Colorado City Unified School District No. 14 Colorado City, AZ May 18, 2016 $39,978
Counselor/Vocational Colorado City Unified School District No. 14 Colorado City, AZ Nov 11, 2015 $39,978
Educational and Vocational Counselor BP Career Consulting, Inc. NY Oct 20, 2009 $38,797
Educational & Vocational Counselor BP Career Consulting, Inc. NY Oct 01, 2009 $38,797
Educational and Vocational Counselor BP Career Consulting, Inc. NY Oct 01, 2009 $38,797
Vocational Counselor EPE Group, LLC White Plains, NY Sep 02, 2013 $38,109
Educational & Vocational Counselor BP Career Consulting, Inc. New York, NY Oct 20, 2012 $37,981
Vocational and Developmental Counselor Firepink, Inc. Asheville, NC Aug 19, 2014 $35,194
Vocational Counselor Ambulatory Healthcare Services Skokie, IL Feb 08, 2008 $35,000

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Top Skills for A Vocational Counselor

  1. Vocational Rehabilitation
  2. Treatment Plans
  3. Mental Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Direct vocational rehabilitation services to developmentally disabled individuals.
  • Developed and submitted individualized treatment plans to APS Care Connection for authorization of services.
  • Supported crisis counseling to Department of Rehabilitation and Mental Health populations associated in their restriction to employment.
  • Interviewed and assessed clients for specific job qualifications and provided job placement.
  • Performed Job readiness assessments, and referrals for vocational training and educational programs.

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Top 10 Best States for Vocational Counselors

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Delaware
  3. New Jersey
  4. Connecticut
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Washington
  7. California
  8. Alaska
  9. Rhode Island
  10. New York
  • (602 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (154 jobs)
  • (52 jobs)
  • (244 jobs)
  • (123 jobs)
  • (465 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (228 jobs)

Top Vocational Counselor Employers

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