For school counselors, the job is far more than making an above-average salary. Their careers represent an effective and enriching way of helping guide the lives of young people.
In the lower grades, counselors advise students on how to deal with difficult social, emotional and intellectual issues. At the high school and post-secondary levels, they guide young adults into picking their best work paths.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school counselors make the following wage.
- The country's 237,480 counselors averaged $56,170 per year. (Their income also covers the summers when most of the profession is off work.) The lowest-paid 10 percent make under $31,920 while the best earners receive over $86,680.
- Counselors make more than the average $45,790 received by all 130.2 million workers in the country.
- They also earn more than the mean $51,210 made by all 8.3 million professionals in education, training, and library occupations.
The type of employer defines how many positions are available and what the salaries are.
- About 124,200 counselors work in elementary and secondary schools, their biggest employers, to average $62,970 yearly.
- Second for jobs are colleges, universities, and professional schools, where 45,770 are paid a mean $49,110.
- The highest mean wages are with the federal government at $68,440. This employer only provides about 850 positions.
- Second for income are business, professional, labor and political organizations, with an average $67,760 for 270 jobs.
Opportunities and pay also differ according to the location of the job. In general, because areas with the most people have the greatest number of students, they also offer the most positions for counselors.
State employment is as follows.
- Counselors who want the most job opportunities go to California, the state with the most people. Its 29,790 professionals make an average $64,750 yearly.
- Second for jobs is Texas, which also runs second for people. It has 21,290 positions paying a mean $54,670.
- The state with the best pay for counselors is New Jersey at a mean $69,700 for 5,420 jobs.
- Alaska ranks second for salaries, averaging $66,330 for 640 counselors.
City pay equals the following.
- The metropolitan region with the most jobs is Los Angeles, where 9,480 counselors average $70,980. It is the second most populous urban area in the country.
- The most populous city of New York ranks second for employment, with 9,240 counselors earning a mean $66,670.
- The best-paying metropolis is El Centro California, at a mean $73,520, but for only 90 counselors.
- Atlantic City, New Jersey, is second-best for pay, averaging $73,350 for 190 counselors.
The BLS expects jobs for school counselors to increase by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is slightly greater than the 14 percent growth predicted for the average U.S. job and more than the 15.9 percent projected for all education and community service education.
The primary reason for the increase in jobs is a growing population that will put more students in schools. Salaries are expected to remain above average to attract the best professionals.
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