What Does A School Counselor Do?

School counselors serve and advocate for P–12 students from diverse backgrounds, shaping lives along the way. While the specific duties of a school counselor may vary by school and location, each counselor plays a critical role in students’ lives by providing support in academic, career, and social or emotional domains.

A Day in the Life of a School Counselor

School counselors are compassionate and creative individuals tasked with engaging and supporting students in various scenarios and circumstances. Their scope of expertise is wide, allowing them to provide one-on-one, group, classroom and school-wide support to help students prepare for and navigate:

  • Family/home issues
  • Mental health
  • Post Secondary and Career Readiness
  • Academic planning
  • Social issues

Counselors also collaborate with parents and guardians, teachers, administrators and other mental health professionals. Using academic, attendance and behavioral data, these professionals create comprehensive programs and effective initiatives that provide solutions and remove barriers to individual and systemic challenges.

Types of School Counselor Jobs

School counselors serve students in various settings, including public, private and charter schools. Graduates of Denver’s Master of Arts in School Counseling program are prepared to serve all P–12 students within elementary, middle or high school settings.

Elementary School Counselor

As an elementary school counselor, you will help students gain the necessary skills to build a strong social and academic foundation, while building awareness of the world of work. You will work with parents, guardians and other educational professionals to highlight individual strengths, identify areas of improvement, and address any unique needs or behavioral challenges. Additionally, you will implement curricula that addresses the developmental and academic needs of students.

Middle School Counselor

School counselors are a key resource for students entering young adulthood—a critical and dynamic period of personal change and development. You will help students to embrace their interests and skills and to develop necessary academic and social skills during an exciting and challenging time in their lives. These students are just beginning to develop their own personal identities, and they need support from an empathetic and resourceful counselor to help navigate their changing needs.

High School Counselor

High school counselors serve as a vital resource for students as they mature and adjust to large life changes, including preparing for college or the job market and other postsecondary transitions. You will provide information and support for students while they consider and apply to colleges, training programs or internships, including resume writing, interview practice, and financial aid or scholarship information.

School Counselor Salary and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rising student enrollment across elementary, middle and high schools is expected to lead to an increased need for educated, experienced school counselors.3


Projected employment increase for school/career counselors between 2019 and 2029


Median annual wage in 2020

Earning potential is strong for experienced school counselors. In 2020, the top 10% of school counselors earned more than $97,910.4

Why SchoolCounseling@Denver?

Our program’s mission is to develop the next generation of school counselors to become agents of change in Colorado and beyond. We embrace a holistic approach to meeting the academic, career, and social or emotional needs of students from diverse backgrounds within the P–12 school system and across the communities in which they serve.

The 90-quarter-credit Master of Arts in School Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program is rooted in skill development and self-reflection, helping school counselors become more aware of their own experiences, strengths and opportunities for growth, allowing them to better serve students.

Start Your Career in School Counseling in as Few as 24 Months*

*Applies to full-time students who start in the Summer Terms.

1Colorado Boost Funding for School Counselors, U.S. News and World Report, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2021.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

2Colorado School Counselors, School Counselor License & Career Guide, 2021. Accessed June 2, 2021.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

3Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021. Accessed June 2, 2021.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

4Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021. Accessed June 10, 2021.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference