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5 Degree Paths to Become a School Guidance Counselor

School Guidance Counselor Degree Paths

  • Elementary School Counseling
  • Career Counseling
  • Academic Advising
  • Student Life Counseling
  • Special Needs Counseling

There are many degree paths that students can take to become a school guidance counselor. This is a highly flexible field that provides many satisfying career opportunities. Whether school guidance counselor majors would like to work with elementary school students, high school students, or college students, there is a degree path that will help them achieve their career goals.

Related resource: 30 Most Affordable Christian Master’s in Counseling Online

1. Elementary School Counseling

One of the most popular degree paths for school guidance counselor students is elementary school counseling. Individuals who choose this degree path are responsible for counseling students, speaking with parents about issues with children, developing intervention programs, and referring students to other professionals in and outside of the school when necessary. To obtain a position in this area, students will typically need to earn a master’s degree in school guidance counseling.

2. Career Counseling

Another popular degree path for school guidance counselor majors is career counseling. Persons who choose this path are typically employed by high schools and community colleges to help students determine what career would be best for them according to their abilities, interests, and academic prowess. In most cases, a minimum of a master’s degree in school guidance counseling with a minor or special coursework in career counseling is required for these positions.

3. Academic Advising

Academic advising is another great degree path for school guidance counselor students. Students who choose this path often work as academic advisers after graduation. These professionals are typically employed by colleges and universities, and their main responsibilities are to help students choose the best programs for their goals and to ensure that students enroll in the proper courses to meet their programs’ completion requirements. According to, these positions paid an average salary of $48,367 at the beginning of 2019.

4. Student Life Counseling

Yet another degree path for persons majoring in school guidance counseling is student life counseling. Sometimes referred to as student life skills counselors, life counselors are often employed by colleges and universities to help students build their motivation and work on skills that can improve their lives. Students who choose to take this path will need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in school guidance counseling with a minor or special coursework in life skills counseling.

5. Special Needs Counseling

A degree path that is ideal for school guidance counselor majors who would like to work with special needs children is special needs counseling. Special needs counselors work with a broad range of children including those who are autistic, deaf, learning impaired, and speech impaired. The main goals of these professionals are to make sure that special needs students succeed in school and receive the services they need inside and outside of school. A bachelor’s degree in school guidance counseling with a minor in special needs counseling is the minimum requirement for these positions.

Students who are interested in completing a school guidance counseling program have many options to choose from if they wish to specialize. These programs offer several great degree paths to becoming a school guidance counselor, and some of the more popular paths are described above.