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A day in the life of a guidance counsellor

By Emily Gee | 28 November 2019


If the idea of helping young people gain confidence in their studies and in themselves appeals to you, you may have considered working as a school guidance counsellor.

Guidance counsellors help students with their personal, academic and career goals, as well how to cope with a variety of social challenges. The goal of a guidance counsellor is to ensure every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

Guidance counsellors can work in a school or university setting, helping students find their place in the world. 

SkillsTalk will take a look at what a day in the life of a guidance counsellor involves and how to get started in this career path if this is something that interests you.

The challenges of working as a guidance counsellor

teenager speaking with guidance counsellor

Successful guidance counsellors are compassionate, trustworthy and patient individuals who believe in their students and enjoy celebrating their successes alongside them.

Working with young people can be tremendously rewarding, but it’s important to take the time to get to know your students and to understand how their circumstances may affect them, their choices and their attitudes to work and study.

Some of the challenges associated with this role include dealing with the effects of bullying, offering support to students with mental health issues, advising parents and teachers about students with special needs, understanding the changing pathways towards higher education or career programs and working within the framework of the education system.

Main job responsibilities

The day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of a guidance counsellor may vary depending on who your students are and what level they are at in their schooling—whether they’re in primary school, high school or university. Here are some general responsibilities you’ll most likely take on while working in this role:
  • Facilitating programs to help with the emotional and educational development of students
  • Managing individual and group counselling sessions
  • Providing counselling support for personal issues
  • Advising students and parents on university entry requirements
  • Assisting students with queries regarding tertiary education or job applications
  • Maintaining standards of practice as outlined by the board of studies
  • Arranging university campus visits for students and parents
  • Establishing or delivering guidance related educational programs
  • Ensuring that students meet the necessary requirements for graduation
  • Coordinating special needs services
  • Meeting with parents/guardians to share outcomes
  • Developing processes that ensure the safety of students during a crisis
Guidance counsellors must also be familiar with any academic prerequisites that the school has in place. They will also need to assess individual students with test scores, reports and career counselling sessions.

The positive impact you can make as a guidance counsellor

guidance counsellor providing support to student

As a guidance counsellor, you are an authority figure without taking on the role of a teacher or disciplinarian. In many ways, you are impartial and non-judgemental. This means that with the right approach, students are far more likely to seek your advice and open up to you about their concerns. This can make a profound impact on a young person.

School can be a challenging environment especially for a young person who doesn’t quite have the confidence to make decisions about their future. Your work as a guidance counsellor can mean the difference between a student quitting and succeeding.

Average salary of a guidance counsellor

According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a guidance counsellor is $56,200 which translates to an hourly rate of $40. The salary range is expected to increase with experience, with those in their late career earning up to 33% more.

Want to work your way towards a career as a guidance counsellor?

Being a guidance counsellor is a rewarding career path if you’re passionate about helping young people find their purpose. Upskilled’s CHC51015 - Diploma of Counselling provides a pathway towards becoming a counsellor that can practice privately. 

In this course, you’ll learn the skills to help you further your studies and choose your counselling specialisation. For more information, chat to one of Upskilled’s education consultants or call 1300 009 924 to make an enquiry today.
 
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