How to Hire a Guidance Counselor

Does your education facility need a guidance counselor? Guidance counselors can provide a judgment-free zone for students to field their concerns and plan for their futures.

Here are some tips to help you find great guidance counselor candidates and make the right hire for your staff.

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Guidance counselors searching for jobs on Indeed*

26,358

Job seekers that clicked guidance counselor jobs

3,154

Resumes for job seekers with guidance counselor experience on Indeed

429

Guidance counselor jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring guidance counselor?

  • Common salary in US: $51,901 yearly
  • Typical salaries range from $14,000$113,000 yearly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, guidance counselor jobs in the U.S. are moderately competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 61 job seekers per guidance counselor job.

Why hire a guidance counselor?

The need for new staff can affect both your existing team and bottom line. A great guidance counselor can help you by:

• Assessing student performance in classrooms and identifying problems and advantages
• Engaging teachers, students and parents in any behavioral programs
• Assisting students with developing careers and educational plans after graduation

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance guidance counselor

Before drafting a job description, consider whether your organization would benefit more from a full-time or freelance guidance counselor.

Guidance counselors typically work exclusively for one school. As employers, schools require accountability and that their guidance counselors comply with established work schedules. Moreover, this traditional work arrangement allows schools to provide the necessary oversight to ensure their guidance counselors follow established rules, procedures and guidelines.

But as the freelance community grows, the role of the guidance counselor is evolving as well. Nontraditional educational organizations may find it convenient to contract with flexible freelance guidance counselors. Businesses that offer tutoring, college prep, career counseling and other related services may benefit from offering on-demand guidance counseling services. This arrangement may be helpful for both brick-and-mortar businesses and online providers.

What are the types of guidance counselors?

Guidance counselors are trained and educated in several subjects. They may specialize in specific areas or offer generalized educational and career counseling services. When you’re looking to fill a guidance counselor position, it’s helpful to learn more about the different services they provide and the types of guidance counselors available. Here are a few common categories:

  • Middle school counselor: They help middle school adolescents with learning strategies, social skills and personal management techniques.
  • High school counselor: These counselors play a traditional role in assisting high school students with determining their career goals and the educational requirements to attain them.
  • Personal and social guidance counselors: They offer positive reinforcements and tools to help students competently navigate the high school experience.
  • Collaborative school guidance counselors: The collaborative counselor advocates for students, the school, community resources and parents. They help their charges realize their potential, support their emotional well-being and achieve academic success.

Where to find guidance counselors

To find the right guidance counselor for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Search in-house. Your teachers or other staff may be looking for a new career challenge. Post your guidance counselor position internally to evaluate potential talent in this area. 
  • Seek out industry referrals. Tap into the local educational network and invite referrals for qualified guidance counselors. 
  • Use social media. Post your guidance counselor job opening on your organization’s social media accounts to expand your candidate search.
  • Explore campus recruiting. Reach out to local colleges and universities to put out the word that you’re looking for guidance counselors. New graduates and alumni often use college job boards to find employment.
  • Post your job online. Try posting your guidance counselor job on Indeed to find and attract quality guidance counselor candidates.

What are the types of guidance counselors?

Guidance counselors are trained and educated in several subjects. They may specialize in specific areas or offer generalized educational and career counseling services. When you’re looking to fill a guidance counselor position, it’s helpful to learn more about the different services they provide and the types of guidance counselors available. Here are a few common categories:

  • Middle school counselor: They help middle school adolescents with learning strategies, social skills and personal management techniques.
  • High school counselor: These counselors play a traditional role in assisting high school students with determining their career goals and the educational requirements to attain them.
  • Personal and social guidance counselors: They offer positive reinforcements and tools to help students competently navigate the high school experience.
  • Collaborative school guidance counselors: The collaborative counselor advocates for students, the school, community resources and parents. They help their charges realize their potential, support their emotional well-being and achieve academic success.

Writing a guidance counselor job description

A thoughtful description can help find qualified guidance counselor candidates. A guidance counselor job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your guidance counselor job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on guidance counselor jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • School counselor
  • Guidance counselor
  • Counselor
  • Education
  • Counseling
  • School
  • Social worker
  • Career counselor
  • School guidance counselor
  • Academic advisor

Interviewing guidance counselor candidates

Strong candidates for guidance counselor positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• Previous counseling experience
• The development of education and career plans
• Conflict and crisis management for at-risk students

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of guidance counselor interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a guidance counselor

Do guidance counselors impact student achievement?

Guidance counselors can make a measurable difference in students’ academic achievements, but it’s important to maintain an acceptable student-to-counselor ratio. The recommendation is 250:1. When students have accessible guidance counseling services, they’re better able to meet their educational and career goals with personalized planning and realistic goal-setting.

What are some of the responsibilities of guidance counselors?

Guidance counselors must be adept at administering career aptitude evaluations and explaining the results clearly to students. They should have a strong network of student resources so they can offer referrals for mental health therapy, family counseling, tutoring and other support services. Guidance counselors must also take on advocacy roles for the students they work with to help them overcome academic and social challenges.

What certification is required for guidance counselors?

Requirements vary by state. However, most certification programs have a few basic criteria, such as a state license, an exam qualification, supervised clinical hours, a higher education varying from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s or a PhD and demonstrating essential skills.

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