How to Become Guidance Counselor

By | February 11, 2024

What Does a Guidance Counselor Do? – Guidance counselor is a job that can provide valuable services to people who need it. However, most people don’t know what it means to be a guidance counselor. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of guidance counselors and how they can help you succeed in your career.

How to Become Guidance Counselor - Best School News

Learn About Being a Guidance Counselor in 2022

Guidance counselor is a special type of counselor that helps people reach their goals. Guidance counselors are specially trained in helping individuals achieve success in their personal and professional lives. They can help you with specific goals, such as getting a job, achieving financial stability, or improving your relationship. Often, guidance counselors work with businesses and organizations to help them improve the way they operate.

What is Guidance Counselor?

Guidance Counselor is a computer-based program that provides support for parents of children with special needs. It offers counselors, parents, and educators access to educational materials, tools, and support systems. The program was developed by the National Guidance Counseling Foundation (NGCF).

The program was designed to help families in need by providing them with the information they need to provide positive guidance for their special needs children. It also offers educational resources, tools, and support systems that can help parents and educators identify and address any issues their children may be experiencing.

What does a guidance counselor do?

A guidance counselor is an expert in helping students achieve their goals and meet their needs. They work with students to develop a plan of action that leads to successful completion of school. They also provide support during the academic process, whether it be through providing resources, advice, or just a listening ear.

Guidance counselors work in schools to help students plan and meet their academic goals. They also help students work through challenges that might affect their schoolwork. Most counselors work in public or private elementary, middle and high schools, while some work at colleges and educational programs. A guidance counselor’s responsibilities might include:

  • Helping students develop learning skills, such as time management and study practices

  • Assessing students’ strengths and interests to help them choose classes, colleges and careers

  • Teaching students how to build resumes, interview for scholarships or jobs and more

  • Counseling students individually or in groups

  • Helping teachers manage common social issues that affect students in the classroom

  • Meeting with teachers, school administration and parents about academic performance

  • Helping students apply for college

How Much is Guidance Counselor Salary

Whether you’re looking for a new challenge or just want to stay current with the industry, becoming a guidance counselor is an excellent option. With so many different types of jobs and career paths available, it can be hard to narrowing it down. However, if you have some experience as a guidance counselor, you can use that knowledge to get a good salary in this field.
There are many different factors that go into determining a guidance counselor’s salary.including experience, geography, and years of work experience. However, some of the most important factors include how well you communicate with students, your dedication to providing quality services, and your skills in supervising students.

Average salary

Guidance counselors are typically full-time employees who work during the school season. Their salaries could depend on their education and experience level. The size, type and location of the institution in which they work could also affect their salaries.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $48,166 per year

  • Some salaries range from $17,000 to $95,000 per year.

Guidance counselor requirements

Guidance counselors need to meet minimum education and licensing requirements to practice. They also have a variety of training and skills that help them excel within the role.


Guidance counselors often get their bachelor’s degree in a subject, such as psychology or education, that will help prepare them for graduate school. Most states require guidance counselors to have a master’s degree in school counseling or a similar field. During this type of master’s program, students will learn topics such as academic development, skills assessment, laws and ethics and counseling techniques. Some guidance counselors will also earn a doctorate to advance their careers or qualify for program director or management positions.


Guidance counselors typically earn a year or two of training and experience during the internship they must complete to earn their master’s degree. During this time, they will work under the supervision of an experienced counselor during counseling sessions, student assessments and meetings. Most guidance counselors must gain at least 600 hundred hours of clinical experience during their internship.

When a guidance counselor starts with an institution, they will receive some on-the-job training. This training might include learning about the specific practices and procedures the school follows and the software or computer programs they use.

Guidance counselors can also receive off-the-job training in the form of conferences and seminars. During a conference, a guidance counselor can learn more about new counseling techniques and meet with other professionals in the field. They may also learn about any trends in the education industry.


Guidance counselors need to earn a state license to practice. Requirements vary from state to state, but most require applicants to have a master’s degree and complete practical experience under the supervision of a licensed counselor. Depending on the state, counseling candidates may need to pass an exam in addition to their application.

In addition to getting the required state license, guidance counselors can also earn certifications to expand their job opportunities and potentially increase their earning potential:

National Certified Counselor (NCC)

Offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), this certification shows a person has the necessary skills and expertise to perform guidance counselor duties. To earn this certification, candidates must have a Master’s Degree in Counseling, supervised counseling hours, a letter of recommendation and a passing grade on one of the NBCC’s exams.

National Certified School Counselor (NCSC)

Also offered by the NBCC, candidates can earn this certification after obtaining the NCC. In order to earn this certification, candidates need an active NCC, complete coursework in several specialized areas, complete supervised counseling hours, submit a letter of recommendation, have at least two years of professional school counseling experience and pass one of the NBCC’s exams.

The Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood/School Counseling

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers this certification, which demonstrates a counselor’s ability to provide guidance to students on several different topics. To earn this certification, applicants must pass an online test and submit proof of counseling experience.


Guidance counselors need a variety of skills to be successful in their roles, including:


Counselors should be active listeners to give students the time and attention they need to overcome challenges. They should be able to identify and react to cues in their conversations. Guidance counselors should also be able to communicate clearly and confidently with students, teachers and parents. They might need to deliver presentations and talks, so public speaking can also assist them in their work.


Guidance counselors must develop social, academic or career plans that work for each student, depending on their personal issues, skills and learning levels. Problem-solving skills allow a counselor to create effective steps for each unique challenge their students might encounter.

Emotional intelligence

Guidance counselors should understand students’ personal and academic challenges. They should be able to empathize with students when they discuss their situations in order to create a comfortable environment.

Interpersonal skills

This skill is useful when working with both students and other educational professionals. Guidance counselors can use their interpersonal skills to communicate with teachers to ensure the student receives the proper attention. They also need to be able to build connections with students to ensure they can offer the right advice.

Guidance counselor work environment

Guidance counselors typically work in a school setting with a private office where they can meet with students, parents and teachers. Counselors work full time during the academic year and often get time off during the summer and other school holidays. During the summer, they might provide part-time guidance or pursue continuing education opportunities.

Guidance counselors may work in the following educational institutes:

  • Private schools from kindergarten to high school

  • Public schools from kindergarten to high school

  • Universities

  • Vocational schools

How to become a guidance counselor

Steps to becoming a guidance counselor typically include:

1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree

A four-year undergraduate degree in psychology, education, sociology or a similar topic will help prepare you to get into graduate school. Some colleges offer a bachelor’s degree in school counseling or social work.

2. Earn a master’s degree

Most states require guidance counselors to have a Master’s Degree in School Counseling, Psychology or Education. It typically takes two years to earn a master’s degree, plus at least 600 hours of internship to practice counseling students under an experienced professional’s supervision.

3. Get licensed

Once you have finished the required number of internship hours, you can get your mandatory state license to practice. To earn your license, you will need to study for and pass a state-approved exam.

4. Gain certification

Guidance counselors can also choose to become certified through the NBCC or NBPTS to demonstrate their dedication to the field and to advancing their skills. These board certifications might make guidance counselors more attractive to some employers.

5. Pursue a doctorate

While most employers do not require guidance counselors to have doctoral degrees, earning one can provide them with more opportunities for career advancement. Guidance counselors can choose to get a Doctor of Philosophy, a Doctor of Psychology or a Doctor of Education in a counseling field. These degrees can help prepare guidance counselors to work at universities, perform research or manage counseling programs.

6. Continue your education

States and professional organizations typically require guidance counselors to renew licenses and certifications every three to 10 years. To do so, they must show they have completed a certain number of continuing education hours by taking professional development courses, attending counseling conferences, performing research and more.

Guidance counselor job description example

Our private high school is looking for a compassionate and energetic guidance counselor to join our faculty. The guidance counselor will be responsible for assessing students’ strengths, preparing students for graduation and beyond and providing one-on-one counseling sessions with students and parents.

The guidance counselor should have exceptional listening and communication skills and an analytical mind. The ideal candidate will have at least six years of experience working with high school students and a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in School Counseling. They should have an in-depth understanding of modern-day challenges, such as cyberbullying and gender issues.

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