|Number of Jobs:||53,400|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Social Services Jobs||#16|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#59|
Don't let one of the 244,560 professionals currently working in this vocation hear you utter the term "guidance counselor." Apparently, that would be so 1980. The men and women who provide academic, personal, and developmental support to school-age children prefer the name "school counselor" these days. But that term doesn't scratch the tip of the chalkboard for the duties of the profession. Elementary school counselors interact with young kids, either individually or in small groups, acting as a sounding board and listening ear to their day-to-day activities. They might also assist teachers in assessing students' abilities and interest, and they ensure that children with different needs receive proper care and education. High school counselors have similar responsibilities, but they also help youngsters transition from secondary school into the workforce or collegiate life. They could assist students with corralling application materials, coordinating study trips, proctoring entrance tests, and chaperoning college visits. They could also help a young person determine their career path and help them enter an apprenticeship. According to Gail M. Smith, a school counseling director for the Cobb County School District in Georgia and a board member with the American School Counselor Association, "It is one of the best professions in the world. We get to work with students and see them achieve."
By the year 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 19 percent increase in employment for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors.
The Labor Department reports that school counselors made a median salary of $54,130 last year. The best-paid made nearly $90,000 while the lowest-paid 10 percent earned about $32,130 annually. The highest-earning counselors generally work in elementary and secondary schools, although some choose college counseling. The top earners live in the metropolitan areas of El Centro and Madera, Calif., as well as the Nassau, N.Y., metro area.
Working as a counselor requires an ample amount of study. Requirements to earn a practicing license or certificate vary by state, but most counselors must also have at least a master's degree to land a job. During their time at an accredited degree program, an aspiring counselor will most likely receive some supervised experience in the field. Licensing requirements vary by state, but many public school systems prefer candidates to have both counseling and teaching certificates.
Despite the projected flux of employment in the industry, competition to land a job will still be high, particularly in various school districts. Smith recommends that prospective counselors begin to think about job placement early in their education. "I always recommend that candidates become involved in a national counseling organization while they're still in their graduate program," she says. "That gives them networking opportunities that they might otherwise miss." Hopefuls should find a way to begin working with children early. "I want to know that the applicant enjoys working with children," Smith says. "If there's no mention of children on the resume, then I'm going to put them aside."
|Upward Mobility||Below Average|
|Stress Level||Above Average|