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Major Choices for Guidance Counselors

Higher Education Articles November 8, 2014

Fields such as counseling, social services, psychology, and education can be majored in by future guidance counselors. Guidance counselors may have to participate in teacher education programs and classes related to counseling.

Education Prerequisites

Guidance counselors can choose degree programs offered through social services, education, and psychology departments at universities and colleges. Core coursework includes subject areas such as statistics, mathematics, education, public speaking, and psychology.

Various types of training can be sought by guidance counselors, which varies by state and work setting. Counselors that seek work in public schools would benefit from earning a master’s degree. Public school counselors must also obtain licensure. However, licensure is not mandatory for guidance counselors at private schools. Enrollment in a teacher education program may help those looking to become counselors at private schools.

Licensure Choices

Licensure is compulsory for all public school guidance counselors. A state school counseling certification is required to be held by some guidance counselors and minimal coursework at the graduate level must be completed before they are licensed.

Before other guidance counselors seek licensure, they are required to have certification in teaching and counseling, in addition to some teaching experience. In order to maintain licensure, students must generally complete continuing education credits.

Job and Wage Outlook

Job opportunities for career and school counselors were predicted to increase by 12% from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Job increases are due to the increasing numbers of elementary schools that require counselors. The growth of a counselor’s roles may also add to this. These roles may include crisis intervention, suicide counseling, and alcohol and drug abuse counseling. In 2012, the average annual salary for guidance counselors was $53,610 (BLS).

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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