“People don't choose their careers; they are engulfed by them.” - John Dos Passos
School counsellors can work to help students with their mental or emotional wellbeing and their career and academic choices.
Whether they work in a primary school, secondary school, college, sixth form, or university, they can be crucial in a lot of young people’s lives. Some people are tempted into becoming a school counsellor long before they hear what the salary is.
In this article, we'll look at the average wage that counsellors can expect to earn, the prospects for those considering a career in counselling, how you can retrain as a counsellor, and how counsellors can transition into other lines of work.
Average School Counsellor Wage
Counsellors can work in GP surgeries, schools, universities, charities, or even for themselves as private practitioners or freelancers.
Before you become a school counsellor, you’ll need to complete your training and, like other jobs, the wages for school counsellors will increase with experience.
However, the average school counsellor’s wage doesn’t increase by that much during the first 10 years so you might want to be fairly certain that becoming a counsellor is right for you before committing to it as a career.
The average school counsellor earns £28,000 a year. However, there are a lot of factors to consider.
- The type of counselling you offer
As we mentioned, there are a lot of different options for counselling and you could be based in a school or work across several schools.
Who knows where you’ll end up after a few years in the career?
There are several different options for those wanting to work in counselling. Whether they’re working in primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms, colleges, or universities, they can help students with their mental health and career choices.
Counsellors may also work with students who have special educational needs to make sure they get the most out of their time at school.
With so many different specialisations and options, counsellors have a lot of career opportunities and after a few years, there are ways to climb the ladder.
They may end up moving away from schools while still working in counselling, but there’s also the option of working in management or heading up teams of counsellors outside of schools. In this type of work, you may be responsible for the approaches and policy for counsellors in schools.
You may also move into a career working for professional counselling bodies and again choosing the types of counselling that are approved and accredited for use in schools.
Generally, these types of jobs are more hands-off and may include:
- Managing projects
- Organising teams
- Working on security and safety training
- Financial management
- Working with partner organisations and establishments
- Providing analysis
- Running groups and workshops
- Visiting schools and other educational establishments.
These kinds of jobs won’t have you spending much time seeing and helping students, but the work you do will help them indirectly and, after all, you could be responsible for the counsellors they see.
You could also be responsible for counsellor training. In this case, you’d be directly training and educating the counsellors that go on to help students. While you won't decide the policy or approaches, you can ensure that the next generation of school counsellors are equipped with the skills and experience they'll need to help young people navigate their way through school.
Sometimes, we all need a change of scenery. For a counsellor, it’s nice to have the option to change career paths at any given moment. With the right experience and qualifications, you can always make a lateral career move.
This can be useful if you find yourself in a rut or feel you’ve lost the spark in your current job. After all, a counsellor has to be passionate about helping those in their care and if you feel like this isn't you anymore, you might want to step back or make a change.
In other cases, some counsellors may feel like they want to do even more and have a greater effect on young people's lives and move into social services where they feel they can do more to help children who are at risk. They may want to offer counselling to young people outside of school.
They may work for the NHS or another counselling service for example. In these instances, they’ll have less of a focus on career choices and more of a focus on their mental and emotional wellbeing.
With a degree in psychology or counselling, there are a lot of jobs you can do and there’s no reason a counsellor can’t retrain to work in a related line of work.
There’s a broad range of careers that you can do.
- Clinical psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Sports psychologist
In many careers, psychologists will need to specialise in a particular field before they can start working in it.
If they’re interested in working with young people, they may want to look to special educational needs, where they can still help students.
They may also be interested in pedagogy and how children are taught in our schools whereas some may be interested in working purely in child psychology. After all, child psychology is important when it comes to teaching them. If you want to teach children, you have to understand how their minds work. The kinds of work you do could influence how the youngest generation are taught and counselled in schools. Child psychology isn’t just for seeing children in therapy.
There are plenty of different careers for those interested in looking after children’s and teens’ emotional wellbeing.
If you're interested in learning more about counselling, psychology, or psychiatry, consider getting help from one of the many excellent private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors in a wide variety of subjects and skills offering face-to-face, online, or group tutorials to those looking to learn new things.
Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons in terms of pedagogy and cost so make sure that you think carefully about which one would be right for you and your budget before you start your lessons.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most common and are probably what you'd imagine private tutorials to be. These are one-on-one sessions with a tutor and a student and can take place anywhere both parties are happy to meet, though they often take place in either the student's or the tutor's home. With every minute of the session dedicated to the student, these are often the most effective type of tutorials, but you can expect to pay a premium for all the extra planning and travelling the tutor will do. However, it still tends to be the most cost-effective type of tutoring available.
Online tutorials are an excellent choice for those unable to find any tutors in their local area as you can enjoy these types of tutorials from tutors all over the world. While online tutoring isn't ideal for certain hands-on subjects and skills, it can be just as effective as face-to-face tutorials with more academic subjects like counselling, psychology, or psychiatry, for example. Furthermore, since the tutor doesn't have to travel to their students, they often charge less than face-to-face tutors.
Group tutorials are great for those on a tighter budget. While you won't get to enjoy one-on-one tuition, you will end up paying less since the cost of the tutor's time and expertise will be shared amongst the students in attendance. This type of tutoring also gives you a great opportunity to learn as part of the group and learn from one another both during and outside of your tutorials.
Before you start contacting tutors, it's always wise to have a clear idea of what you're looking for in a tutor. Make a list of requirements before you start browsing for tutors on the Superprof website. Once you've found a few tutors that are what you're looking for, you can start getting in touch with them, discussing what kind of tutoring your after, and arranging sessions.
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free so you can try potential tutors out before deciding upon which one is right for you and your budget.