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:
Physical and mental health
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.
Support for School Counselors in Colorado
Students seeking to become school counselors in the state of Colorado will find a plethora of support. From 2008 to 2019, the State of Colorado has spent millions to improve counseling programs, especially for low-income middle and high schools throughout the state. With support from the Colorado School Counselor Corps grant, Colorado schools can increase the number of school counselors and availability of effective services.1
Aimed at curbing the dropout rate, improving graduation rates and sending more students to postsecondary programs, the Corps grant is designed to offset a growing achievement gap in this diverse state. Please note that the Corps grant is not directly involved in the SchoolCounseling@Denver program.2
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
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 72-quarter-credit Master of Arts in School Counseling program is designed to adhere to the standards set 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.
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