A school counselor is a counselor and an educator who works in primary (elementary and middle) schools and/or secondary schools to provide academic, career, college access/affordability/admission, and social-emotional competencies to all students through a school counseling program. School counselors in most countries have at least a master's degree in school counseling and state and/or national certification.
The four main school counseling program interventions include school counseling curriculum classroom lessons and annual academic, career/college access/affordability/admission, and social-emotional planning for every student; and group and individual counseling for some students. School counseling is an integral part of the education system in countries representing over half of the world's population and in other countries it is emerging as a critical support for elementary, middle, and high school learning and/or student health concerns.
An outdated term for the profession was guidance counselor; school counselor is preferred due to school counselors' role in advocating for every child's academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social success in every elementary, middle, and high school. In the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific, some countries with no formal school counseling programs use teachers or psychologists to do school counseling with a primary emphasis on career development.
Countries vary in how a school counseling program and services are provided based on economics (funding for schools and school counseling programs), social capital (independent versus public schools), and school counselor certification and credentialing movements in education departments, professional associations, and national and local legislation. In 2013, school counseling is established in 62 countries and emerging in another seven.
An international scoping project on school-based counseling showed school counseling is mandatory in 39 countries, 32 USA states, one Australian state, 3 German states, 2 countries in the United Kingdom, and three provinces in Canada. The largest accreditation body for Counselor Education/School Counseling programs is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). International Counselor Education programs are accredited through a CACREP affiliate, the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs (IRCEP).
In some countries, school counseling is provided by school counseling specialists (for example, Botswana, China, Finland, Israel, Malta, Nigeria, Romania, Taiwan, Turkey, United States). In other cases, school counseling is provided by classroom teachers who either have such duties added to their typical teaching load or teach only a limited load that also includes school counseling activities (for example- India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Zambia). The IAEVG focuses primarily on career development with some international school counseling articles and conference presentations.
Both the IAEVG and the Vanguard of Counsellors have promoted school counseling internationally.
The rate of job growth and earnings for school counselors depends on the country that one is employed in and how the school is funded—public or independent. School counselors working in international schools or "American" schools globally may find similar work environments and expectations to the USA. School counselor pay varies based on school counselor roles, identity, expectations, and legal and certification requirements and expectations of each country. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the median salary for school counselors in the USA in 2010 was (USD) $53,380 or $25.67 hourly. According to an infographic designed by Wake Forest University, the median salary of school counselors in the US was $43,690. The USA has 267,000 employees in titles such as school counselor or related titles in education and advising and college and career counseling. The projected growth for school counselors is 14-19% or faster than average than other occupations in the USA with a predicted 94,000 job openings from 2008-2018. In Australia, a survey by the Australian Guidance and Counseling Association found that school counselor salary ranged from (AUD) the high 50,000s to the mid 80,000s.
Among all counseling specialty areas, public elementary, middle and high school counselors are (2009) paid the highest salary on average of all counselors. Budget cuts, however, have affected placement of public school counselors in Canada, Ireland, the United States, and other countries due to the global recession in recent years. In the United States, rural areas and urban areas traditionally have been under-served by school counselors in public schools due to both funding shortages and often a lack of best practice models. With the advent of No Child Left Behind legislation in the USA and a mandate for school counselors to be working with data and showing evidence-based practice, school counselors able to show and share results in assisting to close gaps are in the best position to argue for increased school counseling resources and positions for their programs (Hatch & Bowers, 2003, 2005; ASCA, 2012).
Source: School Counselor