Elementary School Counselor Job Duties and Career Information

Elementary school counselors require significant formal education. Learn about degree programs, job duties and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

Elementary school counselors provide support to students, teachers, and parents with the overarching goal of student success. Elementary school counselors work with youth both individually and in groups to develop academic and social skills.

Essential Information

An elementary school counselor works within the elementary school system to provide guidance to children. This generally involves observation, as well as speaking with teachers and parents to evaluate a student's individual strengths or special needs. School counselors work with all students to maximize their academic and social skills. Most states require that school counselors hold a master's degree in school counseling or a related field. State licensing is mandatory, but requirements vary.

Required Education Master's degree in school counseling or related field
Licensing License required in all states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (school and career counselors)*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $61,260 (elementary and secondary counselors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Elementary School Counselor Job Duties

The primary duty of an elementary school counselor is to ensure that students have access to the resources necessary for academic and social development. Elementary school counselors work with teachers and parents to make sure that developmentally challenged students have the proper tools and guidance to effectively learn within their skill sets. They also ensure that curricula and programs address the developmental and educational needs of students.

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Career Information

Elementary school counselors have begun to take on more roles and responsibilities. Many now provide children with counseling related to issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, parents in rehabilitation or prison settings and death or suicide. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, employment for school and career counselors was projected to increase by 8% from 2014-2024.

Elementary school counseling licensing requirements vary by state, occupational specialty and work setting. Some states require elementary school counselors to pass state school counseling exams, while others require elementary school counselors to have a master's degree and/or some teaching experience. Some elementary school counselors earn voluntary certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Educational Requirements

Educational training for elementary school counselors varies by state. To earn school counselor licensure or certification, candidates are generally required to earn a master's degree in school counseling through a college of education or psychology.

Students enrolled in an elementary school counseling program might take courses in cultural diversity, human development, counseling techniques, psychological testing procedures, educational program evaluations and professional ethics. Most elementary school counseling programs include an internship or practical experience, which might vary in length from 30-400 hours. To maintain elementary school counselor licensure, candidates are usually required to complete continuing education courses.

Elementary school counselors serve to help students to become successful academically and socially, which includes collaborating with faculty and parents.

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