School Counselor Salaries


Published August 4, 2022 · 1 Min Read

Are you interested in a career in helping students realize their dreams? School counseling may be the path for you. Discover the highest-earning cities to work for school counselors. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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School counseling is a rewarding and in-demand career. These professionals help students overcome barriers to academic success, provide emotional support and resources, and help students identify and achieve their career goals.

Depending on your location and specific skill set, your potential salary in school counseling will vary.

Salary Summary
Median Annual Salary Average Base Salary
$60,510 $51,706

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Payscale (April 2022)

Top 3 States for School Counselor Salaries

  1. California - $81,590
  2. New Jersey - $76,040
  3. Massachusetts - $75,660

Top 3 Cities for School Counselors

  1. Riverside - San Bernardino - Ontario, CA - $91,540
  2. Napa, CA - $90,530
  3. San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara, CA - $87,860

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Frequently Asked Questions

What level of education do school counselors need?

Most states require school counselors to hold a master's degree in counseling, education, or a related behavioral science. Some states also require certification, which can take a couple of extra years to obtain.

Are school counselors the same as school psychologists?

These roles are similar. However, school counselors mainly help students plan for the future, while school psychologists focus on the mental and emotional wellness of students.

Are school counselors in high demand?

According to the BLS, the need for school and career counselors and advisors is expected to grow 11% between 2020 to 2030. This rate is faster than the 9% average for all occupations. About 35,000 school counselor positions will open each year over that period.

Skills and Experience to Increase Salary as a School Counselor

Payscale provides data on the average salaries of school counselors as they progress through their careers, taking into account bonuses and overtime pay.

According to April 2022 data, entry-level school counselors can expect to earn an average salary of $45,680. With 5-9 year years experience, school counselors earn an average of $53,120. Those with more than 20 years of experience earn an average total compensation of $68,570.

Enhancing your knowledge in certain areas can make you a more well-rounded candidate and increase your salary potential. For example, it's beneficial to know the school's curriculum, the state's current education code, and district policies. Speaking more than one language and learning about cultural competency are also valuable skills.

Many schools also look for counselors with solid math and data management skills, which are useful for creating budgets and quantifying the effectiveness of the counseling initiatives.

Becoming board certified through the National Certified School Counselors (NCSC) can also help increase your salary potential. This shows you've met the organization's education, supervision, experience, and ethical requirements.

Feature Image: Lighthouse Films / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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