Salary Outlook with Ph.D. in School Counseling Degree

School counseling offers academic, personal and developmental support to children and adolescents in their educational environment. School counselors once were called ‘guidance counselors,’ but that term no longer accurately describes what these highly trained professionals do for students. (

Elementary school counselors work with young children individually or in grounds and are a sounding board for their day to day school activities. They also may help teachers in assessing the interests and abilities of students. School counselors also ensure that all children with different needs are getting proper education and care.

High school counselors have similar roles, but they also help teenagers transition from high school into the workforce or college. They may help students with college applications, help with college entrance tests and chaperone visits to universities. These counselors may also help the teenager select a career path and help him enter an apprenticeship.

If you are interested in a career as a school counselor, earning your Ph.D. in School Counseling is a wise choice. But if you are going to spend four to six years earning your doctorate, it is important to know the salary you can expect. Below is important information about the salary outlook and more about for school counselors.

School Counseling Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for school counselors is $56,300 as of May 2018. The lowest 10% of school counselors earned $33,600, while the top 10% earned more than $94,600. Your salary as a school counselor will depend upon the school district you live in, as well as your education and experience level. With a Ph.D. in School Counseling, it is likely that you will earn towards the higher end of the pay scale. (

BLS also states the median annual salaries for school counselors in the top industries are:

  • Elementary and secondary schools: $63,200
  • Other educational services: $52,400
  • Junior colleges: $50,050
  • Healthcare and social assistance: $38,700 reports the average salary for a school psychologist is $49,837, with a range between $37,000 and $72,000. ( This source also reports that first-year school counselors earn a wage of $43,300, while those with more than 20 years of experience earn $64,000 per year on average.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 Online PhD School Psychology Programs

With a Ph.D. in this field, you also may choose to work as a private practice psychologist focusing on children and their educational concerns or goals. BLS reports the median salary for all psychologists in 2018 was $79,000. But private practice psychologists with years of education and experience may earn $130,000 per year.

The American Psychological Association (APA) publishes salary data for psychologists from 2015. It conducted a survey of 130,000 psychologists who work full time in the profession. Their median salary that year was $85,000. APA states that 58% of those who were surveyed earned from $60k to $120k, while 22% earned more than $120K. (

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High Salary Growth in Ph.D. in School Counseling

Professionals with a Ph.D. in School Counseling who want to earn the highest salary may consider working as a postsecondary instructor or teacher. While full-time positions can be hard to come by, BLS reports the median salary for all postsecondary teachers was $78,000 in 2018, with the 10% earning $175,000 per year. ( It also is possible to work two part-time college positions and earn a salary of more than $75,000 per year combined.

The other option is to work as a school counselor in a higher paying school district in a large city, such as New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles. With enough work experience, it is possible to earn above $90,000 per year.

Ph.D. Job Outlook

Employment of school counselors will rise by 8% through 2028, which is faster than average. Higher student enrollments in schools in many areas of the country will boost demand for school counselors. Schools will need more counselors in many areas to respond better to the social and academic needs of students. (

School Counseling Career Opportunities

With a Ph.D. in School Counseling, you have several well-paying career options, such as:

  • School counselor: A school counselor helps students in elementary, middle and high school develop their academic and social skills that lead to success in education and later in life. You will evaluate the student’s abilities and interests via aptitude tests, individual planning, and interviews.
  • Career counselor: Help students and adults to develop job skills, explore careers, and choose the right educational program that will lead to a productive career. You may use achievement and aptitude tests to assist clients in evaluating their interests, abilities, and skills. Also, you will evaluate the person’s background, training and education to help them to develop their career goals.
  • Postsecondary teacher: Instruct students at the college level in psychology, school counseling, mental health, and related subjects. You may teach students at the bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. levels. Also, you may perform research and publish scholarly papers on school psychology.
  • Social and community service manager: Coordinate and supervise various social service programs and community groups. You will also manage workers who offer various social services to the general public. In this profession, you will oversee the administrative aspects of social programs to meet the needs of stakeholders, and will analyze data to determine how effective programs are.

Featured Online Ph.D. in School Counseling

There are few online Ph.D. in School Counseling programs available at this time. Most programs require you to attend your classes on campus. However, Liberty University offers a related online Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision that can be used as a background to become a school counselor. (

SEE ALSO: Top 5 Educational Psychology Ph.D. Online Programs

This four year, online Ph.D. program will help you to become an ethically and spiritually aware mental health professional and counselor educator. You will develop the values, skills, knowledge and personal disposition to promote the mental health and educational needs of clients across all populations. Whether your goal is to be a school counselor, educator, clinical practitioner, or scholar, this doctoral program will help you to meet your career goals.

Required courses include:

  • Advanced Theory Application
  • Dissemination of Research and Scholarship
  • Teaching Internship
  • Supervision Internship
  • Counseling, Research and Leadership Internship
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The outlook for school counseling careers is bright because you can choose many careers in Psychology paths with a good salary. From school counselor to private practice psychologist to college instructor, earning your Ph.D. in this field can provide you with financial security and productive career for many years.