School counselors are typically employed by educational institutions as employees of a school district or a private educational institution. If you are considering pursuing a career as a school counselor you might be wondering, "How much could graduates of school counseling programs earn?" School counselor salaries vary according to the district in which the counselor is employed, the location of that school district, and the individual counselor's degree of expertise and experience.
Elementary School, High School & College Counselor Salary Potential
School counselors' pay varies significantly based on the age group they serve. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median school counselor salary in 2012 was $53,610 per year. The median elementary school counselor salary was $60,560; the median high school counselor salary was comparable. College counselors based in junior colleges, colleges, universities and professional schools earned a median salary of $46,630, and school counselors working in healthcare and other social assistance services earned a median salary of $35,590i.
Top Paying States for School Guidance Counselorsii
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) educational, school, guidance and vocational counselors may have the potential to earn the highest mean wages in the states of New Jersey, Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, and Rhode Islandiii.
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for School Counselorsiv
Individuals interested in working as school counselors in metropolitan areas may find attractive employment opportunities in metro-areas such as the El Centro, California metro-area, the Atlantic City New Jersey metro area, the Fairbanks, Alaska metro area, the Trenton, New Jersey metro area, and the Nassau-Suffolk, New York, metropolitan areav.
Highest Employment States
Employment Statistics According to the BLS, as of May, 2012, the state of California employed more guidance, vocational, educational and school counselors than any other state – a total of 29,270. Texas has the next highest employment level, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Understandably, employment tends to be concentrated in highly populated, urban areas. Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago are the metropolitan areas with the first, second, and third highest concentrations of employmentvi.
Naturally, the vast majority of school counselors are employed at schools. However, the BLS notes that they are also employed at the federal level of government, as well as in management, technical, scientific and consulting services.