Learn about the career path of a guidance counselor and how you can earn your online counseling degree.

School counselor meets with teen student.If you love children and want to help them learn how to succeed in school and in life, a career as a school counselor may be just the right fit for you. Going back to school to earn your master’s in school counseling is a great first step toward becoming a guidance counselor, but before you go for that degree, it’s important to find out what your career will look like as a licensed professional counselor.

Get all the details you need on a school counseling career, including salary, job outlook, and what to expect once you’re in the field.

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Guidance Counselor Life

Students can face many challenges both at school and at home during their school years. Social and behavioral issues and problems with family and friends can prevent a child from succeeding in school, and possibly later. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 324,500 school counselors and career counselors in the country in 2018, with about 44% of them working in elementary and secondary schools.1 Another 35% of these counselors worked in junior colleges, colleges, universities, and professional schools.

School counselors perform a wide range of duties, including:

  • Identifying issues that affect a student’s performance in school
  • Helping students develop improved study habits and classroom behavior
  • Offering counseling to both individual students and groups
  • Helping students set and meet their academic and career goals
  • Collaborating with school administrators, teachers, and parents
  • Tackling problems such as bullying, drug use, and poor academic performance
  • Reporting cases of child neglect or abuse to authorities

A guidance counselor’s duties depend on the age of the students and can vary greatly from elementary to middle to high school. Younger students often need help developing certain skills, while high school students are planning for life after graduation.

From 2018 to 2028, the number of jobs for guidance counselors is expected to grow by 8%, above the national average of 5% for all occupations. By 2028, the field is expected to add more than 27,200 new jobs. The median school counselor salary for elementary and secondary school counselors is $63,280, with the highest 10% in the field earning more than $94,690.1

Get the Right Degree for the Job

If you’ve been wondering how to become a counselor, the right career begins with the right degree. The typical education required for entry-level guidance counseling jobs is a master’s degree, so if you’re considering a career as a school counselor, Walden University’s MS in School Counseling program may be right for you.

At Walden, you can gain the advanced education you need to become a licensed professional counselor while taking online classes. The MS in School Counseling program has a General Program and four degree specializations. Whether you want to work with elementary school students or high-schoolers, Walden’s master’s program can prepare you for a school counseling career with preK–12 students.

If you are ready to study at an online university full time and complete your coursework faster, Walden’s online MS in School Counseling program offers an accelerated track that allows you to earn a degree sooner. With Walden’s exclusive Virtual School, you can step into school counseling simulations to help develop your professional skills.

If you are unsure of what turns your career path might take, you may wish to consider earning Walden’s MS Dual Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling degree. Upon successful graduation, you will have earned two degrees from an accredited program and be able to pursue licensure or certification as both a mental health counselor and a school counselor.

Earning a degree is an important step in your career. If your college search has you looking for the right online counseling degree program, look no further than Walden.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a CACREP-accredited MS in School Counseling degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your master’s degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


1Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm

 Walden University’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a requirement for licensure in many states. The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for licensing exams and to meet the academic licensure requirements of many state counseling boards. Because no graduate program can guarantee licensure upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate agency to determine specific requirements. For more information about licensure, students should visit the National Board for Certified Counselors at www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap, the American Association of State Counseling Boards at www.aascb.org, and contact the appropriate licensing body. International students are encouraged to identify and contact their appropriate licensing body. Learn more about professional licensure.

The MS in School Counseling program is offered by Walden University, an institution accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which is a requirement to practice as a school counselor in some states. The MS in School Counseling program meets the standards for school counseling licensure or certification and is a state-approved program in Minnesota and Ohio. The MS in School Counseling program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which may also be a requirement to become licensed or certified as a school counselor in some states. In addition, some states require school counselors to have an existing teaching license or certification, and teaching experience, in order to be eligible for a school counseling certification/license.

Further, many states require school counseling programs to be approved in at least one state, either their own or another state. The MS in School Counseling program is approved by the states of Minnesota and Ohio, and while this approval is accepted by the majority of states which require state approval, it may not be accepted by all states.

Walden is not approved to offer the School Counseling degree in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, or Tennessee, so if you reside in one of these states, you will not be eligible for the dual degree.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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