California School Counselors

Far beyond basic academic and career guidance, California school counselors are committed to the individual well being of each and every student. Their aim is to improve students’ educational levels, social successes, and community interactions, while providing a keen understanding of diverse backgrounds and common future goals.

Known as the “Golden State,” California shines brightly in the area of dedicated school counselors ready to light the way for every student to achieve academic, career, and social success. During the 2018 California Association of School Counselors conference, the keynote speaker, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D., reminded attendees to “be the light that shines hope for every student.” There is, perhaps, no better way to describe the mission of school counseling in this west-coast, golden state.

While school counseling candidates in California are required to obtain a Pupil Personnel Services Credential, or PPS Credential, earning this certification is necessary in order to pursue a career as an accepted, credentialed counselor in the state. Applicants must already possess a clinically-based master’s degree from a regional, accredited university. This can include coursework in counseling, social work, or clinical Psychology.

What do California school counselors do?

With more than 30,000 guidance, education, and vocational school counselors in the state, California employs more school counselors than any other state in the nation. The crucial decision to hire more counseling services, in recent years, has greatly reduced average counselor-to-student ratios statewide. Their future goal is to reduce this average even more, to ensure individualized counseling and focused support for every student.

Having adopted specific standards from the American School Counselor Association, (ASCA), California upholds these position statements for their specific counseling services. This is simply an overview of what California school guidance counselors do:

  1. Focus on student safety by implementing safety education and action plans, while upholding a safe and caring school environment.

  2. Foster mental health awareness and support by focusing on best-practices in mindsets and behaviors.

  3. Work closely with students of special needs and emphasize strong family-school-community relationships.

  4. Offer individual and group counseling sessions based on students’ particular needs.

  5. Guide educational and career planning for students at all levels while providing opportunity for the most rigorous coursework possible.

  6. Instill effective conflict resolution programs.

  7. Teach bullying and violence prevention.

  8. Perform yearly student evaluations to ensure no student falls behind.

California school guidance counselors take seriously the task of guiding each student into his/her best field of opportunity. Especially for students who are at risk of dropping out or failing to complete their secondary high school education, California school counselors work extra hard to offer support and motivation for them to re-engage and succeed.

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Why should someone consider becoming a school counselor in California?

Job Market Trends

California School Counselor Salary (average) 1


Number of School Counselors Employed 1


Projected employment growth in California 2

11.6% from 2018 - 2028

1.) May, 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market and salary figures for Educational, Guidance and Career Counselors and Advisors represents state data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July, 2021.

2.) School Counselor projections data pulled from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections in collaboration with California State Employment Projections. Data accessed July, 2021.

Not only do California school counselors have the benefit of seeing the positive impact they have on students’ lives, they experience great rewards of guiding the next generation in their educational, social, and career goals.

If you’re considering a career in guidance counseling, here are a few reasons school counseling in California might be a great fit for you:

  • School guidance counselors are in high demand, and the demand is continually growing.
  • They play an integral role in advocating for youth, and help students deal with both home and school life.
  • They are encouraged to develop and implement comprehensive programs that educate, motivate, and inspire.
  • The annual salary of a school counselor in California is more than $80,000 per year, with the opportunity to earn more than $100,000 per year.

A great amount of support is offered to California school counselors, from the help of school psychologists, to the teamwork of social workers and administration. This support network is a big reason why school counselors in California find this career path to have so much potential. Together, school counselors and their support team work hard to provide healthy learning environments, strong student advocacy, and personalized counseling services to help students make the most informed decisions about their future.

Contact schools offering school counseling or mental health counseling programs and learn how you can begin a career as a California School Counselor.

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