Guidance Counselor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Guidance Counselor, or School Guidance Counselor, provides advice and helpful resources to students regarding certain personal and academic situations. Their main duties include offering counseling to students or Teachers, conducting group counseling sessions to help students develop their personal and academic skills and providing career advice and guidance to high school students.

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Guidance Counselor duties and responsibilities

There are several essential duties and responsibilities a Guidance Counselor must fulfill in order to do the job correctly. Advising students on academic matters is just the beginning and can lead to long-term personal relationships with students and their parents. Here are the most important duties and responsibilities:

  • Oversee and fulfill a guidance program designed to allow students to voice concerns without fear of punishment or judgment.
  • Analyze student performance in class and identify sources of problems.
  • Get to know students and their unique needs to offer specialized solutions.
  • Help students develop a plan for their academic career that corresponds with their skills and interests.
  • Host crisis intervention and prevention programs.
  • Facilitate communication between parents, Teachers, administrators and students about behavior and academic problems.
  • Assist with school programs and events.

Guidance Counselor Job Description Examples


Example 1

*Opportunity Summary* Bronx Charter School for the Arts is seeking a seasoned Guidance Counselor who will be critical in supporting the Middle School Placement process for 5th graders. This includes developing relationships with Middle Schools in the community, supporting families through the application process and supporting the transition of members of our 2021 stepping up class. This individual will also provide mandated and at risk counseling to students as needed. *Responsibilities include but are not limited to: * Direct Services * Uses the majority of the time to provide direct services to students and families through preventive and responsive services, including individual student planning for academic achievement and middle school placement * Consult with families and staff to appraise student needs and interests and to discuss appropriate recommendations for educational options * Prepare identified for Specialized Middle School and Gifted and Talented Programs * Assesses student needs and make referrals to appropriate school personnel, social agencies, community agencies and alternative programs * Intervenes during crisis situations by following self harm protocol and trauma protocol * Prepares students for the transition to the next level by using group work and individual work * Provide individual counseling to mandated and at risk students. Responsible for planning sessions * Attends programs such as middle school fairs for selected students * Advertise and encourage attendance at middle school fairs and open houses * Assist students in navigating their academic, and community experiences, through the use of individual student planning which includes individual portfolios, student interviews and other planning tools Support and Accountability * Uses the remaining time in development of middle school partnerships, system support and accountability * Track all applications through an online system to ensure timely completion. * Collect and write letters of recommendations for students * Develop relationships with stakeholders in middle schools around New York City by setting up visits, attending fairs and presenting School Support Services and Data Collection (on-going) * Maintain clinical paperwork in a timely fashion: school records, clinical notes, collateral information, student folders, group notes * Support teachers and staff in completing and understanding DESSA data * Participate in meetings that promote overall mission (eg. social emotional learning curriculum, attendance, academic performance) * Facilitate professional development curriculum for peers and provide support and consultation on social emotional related issues to staff * Attend Professional Development opportunities as determined by interest and need Experience * Masters in Guidance Counseling * Bilingual Spanish/English required * Knowledge of Middle School Application System and New York City Schools * Knowledge of the developmental milestones of 4 -11 year olds * Knowledge of the counseling needs of that same population and intervention modalities * A strong desire to work within an urban educational program * Knowledge of Powerschool Qualifications: * Must be COVID-19 vaccinated * Excellent oral and written skills as well as a desire to collaborate with various stakeholders to help develop a whole-school community * Experience managing and developing family leadership * Demonstrated ability to create and maintain a warm and orderly environment * A strong sense of personal accountability for student achievement * Unwavering conviction that all students can learn at a high level Compensation packages are competitive and commensurate with experience. Benefits include: Health, Paid Time-Off, Short-term Disability, Life Insurance, Commuter Benefit Program. Optional benefits include: Retirement Investment (403 Plan), Dental Insurance, Vision Plan, and Medical Flexible Spending Account. Bronx Arts is an equal opportunity employer. Bronx Arts does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin. Job Type: Full-time Schedule: * Monday to Friday Work Location: One location

Example 2

Minimum Qualifications: * Master’s Degree (required) * Licensed School Counselor (required) * Bilingual Spanish (preferred) * Demonstrate the possession of critical skills and competencies that are required for effective school leadership Essential Duties and Responsibilities: System Support * Program Management: develop processes and procedures for planning, implementing, and evaluating a developmental guidance and counseling program * Consultation: consult with teachers, administrators, and other individuals as appropriate to enhance their work with students Guidance Curriculum * Guidance: teach small and large groups by actively engaging students in the learning process * Consultation: Collaborate with others in the school and community to implement a guidance curriculum that promotes learners’ development in all domains, including cognitive, social, and emotional areas Responsive Services * Counseling: counsel individuals and small groups using appropriate counseling theories and techniques in response to student needs * Consultation: support responsive interventions by effectively communicating with teachers, administrators, and community members * Coordination: implement effective referral procedures to facilitate the use of special programs and services Advocacy * Advocate for a school environment in which diversity is acknowledged and respected, resulting in positive interactions across cultures * Understand learner differences, including those related to cultural background, gender, ethnicity, and learning styles, and knows ways to create and maintain a positive school environment that is responsive to all learners Program Leadership * Facilitate learning and achievement for all students, including special populations, by promoting a cooperative, inclusive, and purposeful learning environment * Apply research-based practice to improve the school guidance and counseling program Professional Standards * Demonstrate effective communication through oral, written, and nonverbal expression * Strive toward the highest level of professionalism by adhering to and modeling professional, ethical, and legal standards Job Types: Full-time, Contract Pay: $266.31 - $375.41 per day Benefits: * Dental insurance * Employee assistance program * Health insurance * Life insurance * Retirement plan * Vision insurance Schedule: * Monday to Friday Education: * Master's (Preferred) Experience: * Leadership: 1 year (Preferred) Work Location: One location

Example 3

*Summary/Objective* Responsible to counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services as needed. *Essential Functions* · Meet with students prior to and during the registration process, inform the students of classes relative to course selection and assist the administration in the registration and scheduling process. · Conduct follow-up meetings with students after the master schedule is developed to make any necessary changes in students’ schedules. · Participate in professional growth activities and complete a professional development plan. · Attend professional conferences and workshops related to the overall guidance program. · Provide individual counseling for students regarding scheduling upon request of the student or his/her parent/guardian. · Advise students regarding the accuracy and completeness of records and credits and perform periodic credit checks from grades 9-12 with an emphasis on the senior year. · Provide information to students needing to attend summer programs to make up credit deficiencies. · Assist outside agencies visiting the school and speaking to groups of interested students. This shall include military, college and technical school representatives and representatives of careers available without post-secondary training. · Provide newsletters and other information to parents/guardians and students that relate to testing dates, college visitation dates, deadlines for filing applications, presentations that are held for career speakers and dates of military recruiter visits. · Maintain a library of catalogs, pamphlets and directories from colleges, technical schools and military academies. · Other duties as assigned. *Supervisory Responsibilities* There are no supervisory responsibilities with this position. *Competencies* · Critical thinking · Active listening · Ability to relate to students and parents · Public speaking skills · Problem solving · Time management · Oral and written communication *Work Environment* This position operates in a school environment and requires walking, sitting, standing, bending and the use of office equipment such as computers, copiers, fax machines and phones. Summit Management Consulting, LLC provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Summit Management Consulting, LLC complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training. Summit Management Consulting, LLC expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of Summit Management Consulting, LLC’s employees to perform their job duties may result in discipline up to and including discharge. *Required Education and Experience* Master’s degree in appropriate discipline required along with 2-5 years of work experience as a guidance counselor. Valid school counselor license required. Job Type: Full-time Benefits: * 401(k) * 401(k) matching * Dental insurance * Flexible spending account * Health insurance * Life insurance * Paid time off * Retirement plan * Vision insurance Schedule: * Monday to Friday Application Question(s): * Do you reside in the State of Michigan? * Please include an email address and phone number you can be reached at. * School Counseling Certification in MI (Required) Work Location: Multiple Locations

Example 4

*TITLE: High School Guidance Counselor Status: Exempt* *Reports TO: Campus Principal TERMS: 213 - 223 Days* *Department: Assigned Campus PAY GRADE: AP5, Chapter 21 Contract* *Primary Purpose: * To advocate for and support all students in their personal, social, academic and career development through guidance curriculum, individual and group counseling, and individual student planning. *Qualifications: * *Education/Certification: * Master’s degree from an accredited college or university preferred (Must be enrolled in an SBEC approved program) Valid counselor certification required. *Special Knowledge/Skills: * Knowledge of state and national policies as related to school counseling program Knowledge of College Career Readiness Knowledge of state graduation requirements Knowledge of technological and computer applications as related to guidance/counseling functions *Experience: * Previous satisfactory school counseling experience preferred Such additions and alternatives to the above qualifications as the Board of Trustees may find appropriate and acceptable. *Working Conditions: * Mental Demands/ Physical Demands/Environmental Factors: Maintain emotional control under stress. Occasional prolonged and irregular hours; Frequent district wide travel and occasional out of district travel. Steady phone interactions; moderate standing, walking and bending; occasional lifting up to 35 lbs. *Essential Functions: * 1. Manages and leads the counseling program by planning, organizing, implementing and delivering program activities to improve students’ Intrapersonal Effectiveness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Personal Health and Safety. 2. Delivers classroom guidance by teaching the school guidance curriculum components through the use of effective instructional skills and intentionally planned structured group sessions for students based on campus needs. 3. Coordinates and assists campus staff in orientation activities regarding the developmental guidance plan. 4. Provides leadership in guiding individuals and groups of students, and parents or guardians, through the development and monitoring of educational, career, personal, or social plans. 5. Ensures appropriate educational placement for students with special needs by assisting with referral procedures for at-risk and 504 students. 6. Provides responsive services to any student whose immediate personal concerns or problems put the student’s continued education, career, personal or social development at risk. 7. Coordinates with school and community personnel to bring together resources for students. 8. Maintains confidentiality and accuracy of records and related information and assists with the management of student records. 9. Serves as a member of the campus Crisis Response Team (CRT). 10. Collaborates in the development of the yearly course selection guide. 11. Demonstrates ethical and professional behaviors and standards as set forth by the district, the American School Counselor Association, and the State of Texas. 12. Guides and advises students and their parents/guardians regarding the importance of post-secondary education, coursework designed to prepare students for post-secondary education, and financial aid availability and requirements. 13. Coordinate College and Career Readiness activities, including exploration of post-secondary options, completion of college applications, and applying for financial aid and scholarships. 14. Provide the principal with data on scholarship recipients. 15. Maintain confidentiality of information. 16. Meet regular and predictable attendance requirements. 17. Observe all safety rules and keep work area clean and orderly at all times. 18. Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor. The above statements are intended to describe major job functions of this position and are not intended to represent an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required. The Superintendent or designee may assign additional duties when deemed appropriate. _To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed in the job description are representative of the knowledge, skills, ability, and physical demands required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions._ ALL Interested Applicants MUST APPLY TO THE NCISD JOB BOARD: Applicants *MAY APPLY TO ONE OR BOTH OF THE Counselor Vacancies (NEW CANEY HIGH School AND/OR Porter HIGH School)* Job Types: Full-time, Contract Pay: From $65,000.00 per year Benefits: * Dental insurance * Flexible spending account * Health insurance * Health savings account * Life insurance * Retirement plan * Vision insurance Schedule: * Monday to Friday Work Location: One location

What does a Guidance Counselor do?

Guidance Counselors are professionals who work in schools or other educational institutions providing academic, personal and career advice to students. They work to examine and assess any potential or skills students may have and communicate this to them to help boost their self-esteem and wellbeing. Guidance Counselors typically conduct either group or individual counseling sessions with students to learn about any social or academic challenges the student is facing and provide advice to help them succeed at school or in their personal lives. 

As they speak with students during each session, the Guidance Counselor identifies any behavioral problem and societal or cultural issues that may be negatively impacting the child’s personal or social life.

Guidance Counselor skills and qualifications

Considering how much is expected of a Guidance Counselor, there are extensive skills and qualifications candidates need. While there are many interpersonal and academic skills required that may be different depending on the school or district, the following skills and qualifications are the most important to consider when crafting an effective job description:

  • Many students come to get help with problems, so a quality Guidance Counselor will need to have exceptional problem-solving skills to address a variety of issues.
  • A Guidance Counselor needs great listening skills to fully understand the students’ issues before offering help.
  • The smallest details can make all the difference in solving a problem for a student, so a good Guidance Counselor will be able to identify the details and adjust solutions accordingly.
  • Students need to feel comfortable and welcome when talking with a Guidance Counselor, so applicants should have a friendly and personable attitude about them.

Guidance Counselor salary expectations

A Guidance Counselor makes an average of $49,103 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location

Guidance Counselor education and training requirements

Education is essential for Guidance Counselors. A bachelor’s degree in counseling is the most common essential education requirement, though higher degrees may be preferable or required for some Guidance Counselor positions. A master’s degree or Ph.D. in social services or psychology, for example, can go a long way towards making a candidate more experienced.

Guidance Counselor experience requirements

Most Guidance Counselor positions will require some experience in counseling or general social work. For applicants with only general social work experience, they must also be able to demonstrate knowledge of academic counseling in order for the experience to be relevant. Specifically, about three years of experience is a common minimum required for mid-level positions that pay near the average salary.

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Frequently asked questions about Guidance Counselors


What makes a good Guidance Counselor?

Guidance Counselors must be good listeners and have strong communication abilities, as they pay close attention to students’ thoughts, challenges and opinions and provide thoughtful advice. They should be empathetic and understanding to demonstrate their compassion and care to the students to make them feel more comfortable in a counseling environment. 

Guidance Counselors should have effective problem solving and critical thinking abilities to successfully identify a problem and come up with a logical solution that improves the students’ personal or academic life.


What are the different types of Guidance Counselors?

All Guidance Counselors work in an academic environment but may specialize and serve in different areas. Elementary School Guidance Counselors may work with children in Kindergarten through 5th grade, handling children’s developmental and social skills. They also work to identify any special or mental health needs and will report these to their Teachers and parents. 

Middle School Guidance Counselors typically work with 6th through 8th grade, providing students with guidance and advice for their personal and academic lives. They’ll help students develop study skills and educate them on topics like drug or alcohol abuse and bullying. High School Guidance Counselors often hold similar responsibilities as Middle School Guidance Counselors, except they also focus more on career counseling efforts. They’ll help high school students discover which career to pursue after graduation and which institutions to attend to receive the education needed for their desired job.


What's the difference between a Guidance Counselor and a Therapist?

Though both a Guidance Counselor and Therapist work on offering guidance and advice to individuals, their roles greatly vary when it comes to their environment and education. Guidance Counselors typically work primarily in an educational setting and have a basic understanding of mental health and psychological therapy methods. 

Therapists can specialize in a wide variety of counseling fields and often pick a field that requires in-depth knowledge and advanced education. They usually obtain master’s degrees and licenses for the specific type of field they go into, which can include social work, marriage and family therapy or psychology.   


Who do Guidance Counselors report to?

Guidance Counselors typically report to the Principal, Dean or Headmaster of their academic institution. If the Guidance Counselors have any concerns or questions about a student or parent’s behavior, they’ll typically report to the Principal, Dean or Headmaster, who will quickly resolve the issue for them. Some Guidance Counselors may also report to the Superintendent in certain academic institutions for any questions or concerns about their role or responsibilities.

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