School Counseling Degree and Career Guide

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School Counseling Salary: What You’ll Earn

School counseling salaries are almost as rewarding as the career itself.

numerous one hundred dollar bills
numerous one hundred dollar bills

Median Annual Salary

School counselors help and encourage students develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in school and in life. They also assist students in selecting careers and programs that best fit their skills and ambitions. Here are some statistics on salaries, job growth, and employer types for school counselors.

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors

National data

Median Salary: $60,510

Projected job growth: 9.6%

10th Percentile: $37,550

25th Percentile: $47,390

75th Percentile: $77,210

90th Percentile: $98,190

Projected job growth: 9.6%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $61,510 $39,000 $98,480
Alabama $59,260 $37,340 $76,300
Arkansas $49,890 $37,200 $77,430
Arizona $49,430 $38,350 $77,250
California $76,310 $47,730 $125,590
Colorado $60,510 $38,700 $78,920
Connecticut $61,730 $37,220 $99,310
District of Columbia $63,340 $38,700 $97,760
Delaware $71,980 $39,000 $97,530
Florida $49,290 $36,310 $80,420
Georgia $60,250 $36,910 $96,270
Hawaii $62,250 $48,520 $97,040
Iowa $49,290 $36,750 $77,450
Idaho $48,560 $37,340 $76,490
Illinois $49,510 $37,250 $81,610
Indiana $49,340 $36,740 $76,740
Kansas $49,590 $38,590 $80,390
Kentucky $60,040 $36,750 $77,920
Louisiana $60,510 $47,310 $76,490
Massachusetts $74,780 $47,550 $103,570
Maryland $64,280 $46,910 $102,230
Maine $50,250 $38,430 $78,360
Michigan $49,300 $36,910 $80,390
Minnesota $58,160 $39,380 $80,420
Missouri $47,500 $36,150 $76,480
Mississippi $49,590 $30,460 $74,840
Montana $47,760 $30,690 $77,510
North Carolina $49,560 $36,600 $64,240
North Dakota $60,760 $37,820 $77,250
Nebraska $61,190 $39,030 $81,610
New Hampshire $48,680 $36,340 $76,950
New Jersey $76,630 $48,820 $100,920
New Mexico $60,510 $38,430 $84,390
Nevada $63,100 $46,470 $81,510
New York $61,660 $38,430 $123,990
Ohio $61,140 $36,920 $98,250
Oklahoma $49,300 $29,390 $77,510
Oregon $61,330 $38,660 $101,540
Pennsylvania $61,860 $42,260 $98,880
Rhode Island $61,280 $38,700 $98,480
South Carolina $49,130 $33,430 $79,110
South Dakota $47,760 $36,660 $61,730
Tennessee $49,980 $30,810 $77,920
Texas $61,100 $37,340 $78,360
Utah $48,520 $31,200 $78,030
Virginia $62,540 $40,740 $103,570
Vermont $59,360 $38,860 $78,850
Washington $75,780 $48,820 $103,570
Wisconsin $49,980 $38,520 $77,680
West Virginia $49,360 $30,320 $63,480
Wyoming $60,790 $38,860 $77,920

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

What is my earning potential?

School counselors could earn over $98,190 per year according to the BLS, which reports that this is the median salary for the top 10 percent of professionals in the field.

How does a school counselor’s salary compare to other counseling careers?

Career Median Annual Salary
Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,510
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520
Rehabilitation Counselors $38,560
Marriage and Family Therapists $49,880
Counselors, All Other $45,160

School counselor salaries by employer type:

Employer TypeMedian Salary
Elementary and Secondary Schools$63,460
Junior Colleges$40,430
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools$54,570

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics

Is there demand for this career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for school counselors is faster than average for all occupations. Much of this is attributable to rising student enrollment in elementary, middle and high school. And the BLS predicts colleges and universities will need to hire more counselors to meet the demands of the growing college-age population. Vocational and career services center’s need for counselors will also surge, creating demand in this area as well.

What is the job growth for the field?

Employment of school counselors is expected to grow 10 percent through 2031, which is faster than the national average for all occupations (5 percent). Take a look at how some of the other counseling occupations compare as far as job growth through 2031:

  • Mental health counselors—22 percent
  • Marriage and family therapists—14 percent
  • Social workers—9 percent
  • Rehabilitation counselors—11 percent

National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Despite promising job growth reports and the vital role that school counselors’ play in maximizing student success, competition may be strong for school counselor jobs as growth may be offset by school budgets. Counseling programs are often some of the first programs that are reduced when school budgets are cut, and counselors are often tasked with roles other than helping students, according to the U.S. News and World Report article, “A Numbers Game for High School Counselors.”

How do I advance in my school counselor career?

With advanced degrees and continuing education and experience, some school counselors may advance to positions such as head counselor, director of pupil services or school psychologist. College-level school counselors may advance to dean of students, dean of placement or personnel, financial aid director or supervisor of testing.

Professional development is an important factor for advancement in a school counseling career. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is the authorized provider for continuing education units (CEUs), and the ASCA stresses the importance of professional development to advance your career and stay effective in the field.

Another way to advance is to get certified. There are two certification organizations available:

These boards recognize accomplished school counselors and assess knowledge, skills and abilities considered vital to provide effective counseling services. Earning these certificates shows potential employers that you are a qualified and accomplished professional in your chosen career, and may play a role in employment decisions or promotions.