How Much Do School Counselors Make?
A school counselor is a psychology professional who is employed in primary and secondary schools. They provide academic, career, college, and social-emotional assistance to students of all ages. School counseling is an essential part of the US education system in elementary, middle, and high schools.
At one time, this professional was referred to as a guidance counselor. Today, the term school counselor better encompasses the job as an advocate for the student’s academic, career, college, and social and emotional needs.
SEE ALSO: What is a PsyD in School Psychology
School counselors working in elementary schools work with young children either one-on-one or in small groups. They are a sounding board for the student’s daily activities. They also often help teachers to assess the abilities of students and make sure that students with different needs are getting the care and education they need. High school counselors play a similar role, but they also work with students to transition from high school into college. (Money.USNews.com)
To become a school counselor, you need to earn a master’s degree or Ph.D. in school counseling. Below is more information on the salary you can expect in this profession.
School Psychologist Salary Information
Below are some of the reliable data sources for school psychologist salary information.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
BLS data shows the median salary for all psychologists is $79,000. The top 10% earn more than $129,000. These professionals tend to possess more than 10 years of experience and have a doctoral degree.
Salaries also vary by the industry for psychologists:
- Government: $96,400
- State, local and private hospitals: $86,500
- Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,100
- Elementary and secondary schools: $75,800
BLS data also has separate information for school and career counselors’ salaries. The website reports a median salary of $56,310, with the top 10% earning more than $94,600. (BLS.gov). Highest salaries are in these industries:
- Elementary and secondary schools: $63,200
- Other educational services: $52,400
- Junior colleges, colleges, universities and professional schools: $50,000
- Healthcare and social assistance: $38,700
The American Psychological Association reports the median salary for educational psychologists is $75,000, and other psychology career paths are $78,000. (APA.org). The site also reports a median salary of $82,000 for all psychologists working in a public educational institution.
This website reports an average salary of $49,800 for school counselors. The range is between $37,000 and $72,000. (Payscale.com)
Pay for school counselors can be above or below the average based on which city they live in:
- Houston: +23%
- Los Angeles: +18%
- New York City: +17%
- Chicago: +4%
- Atlanta: +2%
- Philadelphia: -2%
- Indianapolis: -17%
With one year of experience, a school counselor earns $43,000. With 20 years of experience, the pay is $64,000.
This website reports an average salary for school counselors of $59,600, with a range between $32,500 and $104,000. Also, the salary range for most school counselors is between $40,500 and $74,500. (Ziprecruiter.com)
US News and World Reports
US News and World Reports state that school counselors make a median salary of $55,400. The top 25% earn $72,200, and the bottom 25% earn $42,200. (USNews.com)
Job Outlook for School Counselors
The job outlook for school counselors is average. BLS reports jobs for school counselors will increase by 8% by 2028. It is expected that increasing student enrollment in some areas of the country will cause more demand for school counselors. As enrollments get higher, some schools will need more school counselors to serve the greater number of students. (BLS.gov)
The job outlook for school psychologists is robust. There will be a 14% increase in school psychologist jobs through 2028, which is much faster than average. There is more awareness today of the link between student mental health and learning. Also, more mental health services are provided in primary and secondary schools to increase academic performance and to meet student social needs. (BLS.gov)
Professionals who earn a master’s degree or online Ph.D. in school psychology or online Ph.D in educational psychology should find enough demand for their services. With enough years of experience and education, you should be able to make at least $65,000 per year, and possibly more, depending on your location and specialty.
Most school counselors and psychologists work for a public or private school, and the salary is limited to the scale of that particular school district. However, some school psychologists with a Ph.D. enter private practice and work one-on-one with troubled youth. Private practice can be a lucrative field, with a potential yearly salary of $100,000 or more.