Guidance Counselor

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Guidance Counselor is a person who helps students with academic, career, and personal issues. Their job is to provide guidance and support to students who are struggling with issues such as anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. They work in schools, colleges, and universities, and are also known as school counselors, career counselors, or academic advisors.

The job of a Guidance Counselor is to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and develop strategies to achieve them. They also provide information about career options, college admissions, and financial aid. In addition, they may work with parents, teachers, and administrators to address students’ academic or behavioral problems.

To become a Guidance Counselor, one typically needs a master’s degree in counseling and a state license. They should have excellent communication and problem-solving skills, be compassionate and empathetic, and be able to work under pressure. A Guidance Counselor job description requires someone who is passionate about helping students achieve their fullest potential.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Helps students with personal, academic, and career development
  • Provides individual and group counseling sessions
  • Conducts assessments to identify students' needs and strengths
  • Collaborates with teachers, parents, and community resources
  • Develops and implements school-wide programs to address student needs
  • Advocates for students and provides referrals for specialized services
  • Maintains student records and confidentiality
  • Participates in school events and committees
  • Stays current with best practices and trends in counseling and education.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a guidance counselor, you need a mix of education and experience. First, you need a Bachelor's degree, which is a four-year college degree. It's best to get a degree in counseling or a related field, but it's not always required. Then, you need to earn a Master's degree, which is an advanced degree program that usually takes two years to complete. The Master's degree should be in counseling or a related field. Once you finish your education, you need experience working with young people, preferably in a counseling or teaching role. This experience will help you better understand how to help students with their social and emotional needs.

Salary Range

If you're considering a career as a Guidance Counselor in the Education industry, you might be wondering about the salary range. According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for guidance counselors in the US is $56,310. However, the salary range can vary based on factors such as location, years of experience, and level of education. For example, according to Glassdoor, the average base pay for guidance counselors in Los Angeles is $63,000, while in New York City it's $66,000.

In other countries, the salary range for guidance counselors can also vary. In Canada, the median salary is CAD$65,463 (approximately USD$52,739), according to SalaryExpert. In the UK, guidance counselors can expect to make a median salary of £30,000 (approximately USD$39,000), according to Prospects.


  • United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  • Glassdoor:,18.htm
  • SalaryExpert:
  • Prospects:

Career Outlook

The career outlook for a Guidance Counselor in the Education industry is quite positive over the next 5 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of school and career counselors is projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

With the increasing number of students who require personal and academic guidance, schools are expected to keep hiring more counselors. This will not only help students reach their academic goals, but also help counselors guide them in their personal and social development.

Moreover, as schools and universities continue to place a greater emphasis on mental health, Guidance Counselors are expected to play a more crucial role in identifying and addressing students’ mental health issues. This will certainly increase the demand for these professionals.

Overall, the career outlook for Guidance Counselors is promising and the prospects for growth are strong.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a guidance counselor do?

A: A guidance counselor works with students to help them solve problems, develop academic and social skills, and plan their futures.

Q: What kind of educational background does a guidance counselor need?

A: To become a guidance counselor, you usually need a master's degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field. You also need a state license or certification.

Q: What are some common issues that a guidance counselor helps students with?

A: Guidance counselors work with students on a range of issues, including academic difficulties, family problems, social issues, and career planning.

Q: How do guidance counselors work with teachers and other school staff?

A: Guidance counselors work closely with teachers, administrators, and other school staff to understand and help address the needs of individual students. They may attend meetings, provide guidance to teachers, and collaborate on plans to help students.

Q: How can students benefit from working with a guidance counselor?

A: Students can benefit from guidance counseling in many ways, including gaining valuable skills and knowledge, developing stronger relationships with peers and adults, and exploring their interests and potential career paths.

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