“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.

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Average School Counsellor Wage

Counsellors can work in GP surgeries, schools, universities, charities, or even for themselves as private practitioners or freelancers.

What is the average wage for school counsellors?
On average, school counsellors' wages increase very little until they're in the later stage of their careers. (Source: KelvinStuttard)

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.

  • Location
  • Experience
  • 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?

Find out more about becoming a school counsellor

Career Prospects

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.

What career prospects are there for school counsellors?
A school counsellor could end up being in charge of others counsellors in the local area. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

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
  • PR
  • 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.

Learn about the skills and qualifications counsellors need

Changing Careers

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.

What other careers can school counsellors transition to?
Counsellors can always transition into other related fields. (Source: Sozavisimost)

Learn more about where counsellors can work

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.

What career choices do school counsellors have?
Some may consider freelancing to have more time with their family. (Source: sarahbernier3140)

There’s a broad range of careers that you can do.

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Sports psychologist
  • Therapist

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.

Find out more about what counselling entails

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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.

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Joseph

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.