A school counselor salary differs according to different factors, such as the state the professional is working in, the type of school or years of experience. The average school counselor salary, as the BLS reports, is $53,660 per year ($25.80 per hour). The average salary for school counselor is considerably higher than the median for all U.S. occupations, which lies at $36,200 per year. According to the U.S. News & World Report, school counselors rank as the 9th Best Social Service Job, partly owing to the high salary of school counselor. Learn about the differences between an elementary school counselor salary, middle school counselor salary and high school counselor salary and much more below.
School Counselor Salary Influencers
One of the multiple aspects that makes school counselor salaries vary is the type of school these workers offer their services in. For instance, the average high school counselor salary California employees receive is $44,000. However, another source indicates that an average school counselors salary for junior colleges (high school college counselor salary) is $46,850, while the average salary of a school counselor in elementary or secondary schools is $60,660. Nevertheless, the average high school guidance counselor salary is generally larger than the average elementary school guidance counselor salary or the average middle school guidance counselor salary.
2. Geographic Area
The top salary school counselor professionals can get is in the state of New Jersey, with a school counselor average salary of $72,140. Surprisingly, the second largest average salary of school counselor can be found in Alaska – $71,170. The school counselor salary NYC employees earn is the third best-paying in the country, at $64,750.
A few other top average salary school counselor estimates are:
- Average school counselor salary California – $63,330
- Salary for school counselor in the District of Columbia – $63,160
- Average salary of high school counselor in Massachusetts – $62,530
- Salary of a high school counselor in Maryland – $62,400
- Average salary for a school counselor Rhode Island – $61,460
If you’re searching for a top school counselor starting salary, you should avoid applying for this position in these areas, as they have the lowest average school counselor salary by state:
- Oklahoma – $44,170
- West Virginia – $43,040
- Virgin Islands – $42,190
- Idaho – $42,040
- South Dakota – $41,560
Some other sought-after states and school counselor salary averages are, in no particular order:
- School counselor salary Texas – $56,650
- School counselor salary NC – $48,130
- School counselor salary Florida – $54,380
As with most other occupations, the more experience and qualifications you have, the higher your chances of getting a larger salary for school counselor. To become a school counselor in the first place, you typically need to have a master’s degree in school counseling or another relevant field. Depending on the school you work at, you might need to have additional studies in career counseling and development.
If you want to work at a public school, you need to be approved by the state with an adequate license. In some cases, a counselor might need to have a year or two of prior teaching experience before they get the starting salary for school counselors.
Working Hours and Environment
In the majority of cases, you need to work full time to get the average salary for a school counselor. As far as the work environment for a school counselor is concerned, most of them have a private office for the discussions to take place confidentially.
School counselors may or may not work throughout the summer, depending on the school they are at. Working overtime isn’t generally an issue for these professionals.
School Counselor Salary by State
|State||Annual mean wage ($)|
|District of Columbia||63,160|
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Speaking of potentially not working summers, you can clearly see why this would be a great advantage for those seeking a career in this area. This also means that school counselors usually have the same schedule as teachers and students, with time off during winter and spring too.
There aren’t many clear details about insurance or retirement plans, but you can check with the school you are planning to apply as a counselor at for more information.
The demand for school counselors is expected to increase by 8% until 2024, according to the BLS. Even though this is just 1% more than the national average, it’s still a promising growth for future school counselors. The total employment change projected for the 2014-2024 timeframe is 22,500.
As no particularly expensive training or laborious studies are required, the preparation is worth the salary you will receive as a professional in this area.
In summary, the school adjustment counselor salary is quite attractive, especially for individuals looking to develop a career in education, community and social services. Nevertheless, you should strongly consider the state you work in as a definitive aspect for your career. While states like New Jersey or New York have great school counselor salary options, some other states aren’t up to par with industry standards. Make sure that you gather information about how you can become a licensed counselor so you can legally work in public schools. You will have a pleasant working environment and you get the chance to have a positive impact on the lives of students and other young individuals in your community.
Image source: no attribution required.