Career Development

What Does a Middle School Counselor Do?

Learn more about what it takes to succeed as a middle school counselor, the skills you'll need to become one, and what you can expect on the job.

Middle school counselors are responsible for providing guidance and support to students as they transition from childhood to adolescence. They commonly work with students on issues such as academics, social development, career planning, and personal growth.

Middle school is a critical time in the lives of young people. It’s when many begin to question their identity and place in the world. Middle school counselors help students navigate this period by offering advice and support on everything from friendships to family relationships.

Middle School Counselor Job Duties

Middle school counselors typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing academic counseling to students, including helping them set goals for improvement on specific subjects or topics
  • Supporting students who are struggling with issues such as bullying, family problems, self esteem issues, or substance abuse problems
  • Coordinating activities for students such as dances, field trips, and class parties
  • Helping students develop appropriate coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors in their lives
  • Assisting students with homework and providing assistance in subjects where they are having difficulty
  • Providing support to students with disabilities or special needs who are having difficulty in school
  • Meeting regularly with teachers to discuss students’ progress in school and any concerns that they may have regarding classroom behavior or progress toward academic goals
  • Providing counseling services to students who have been victims of bullying or discrimination
  • Conducting assessments of students to determine their strengths and weaknesses in various academic areas such as reading comprehension, writing, and mathematics

Middle School Counselor Salary & Outlook

Middle school counselors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of school they work in. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $78,000 ($37.5/hour)

The employment of middle school counselors is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Schools will continue to hire counselors to help students and families address issues such as substance abuse, bullying, and mental health concerns. In addition, counselors will be needed to help students navigate the college admissions process and plan for their futures. However, schools may limit hiring because of budgetary constraints.

Middle School Counselor Job Requirements

A middle school counselor typically needs to have the following:

Education: Middle school counselors are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in education, counseling, psychology or a related field. Some schools offer a degree in school counseling, which is a specialized degree that focuses on the education system.

Some school counselors pursue a master’s degree in school counseling to further their education and increase their earning potential.

Training & Experience: Most middle school counselors receive on-the-job training in their first year of employment. This training may include shadowing a more experienced counselor or supervisor and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to work independently.

Certifications & Licenses: Like many other education professionals, middle school counselors need to be licensed or certified. Requirements vary from state to state, but most require candidates to have a master’s degree, complete a certain number of classroom teaching hours and pass an exam.

Middle School Counselor Skills

Middle school counselors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: As a school counselor, you may be responsible for communicating with parents, teachers and students. It’s important to be able to communicate effectively in order to convey important information and answer questions. Strong communication skills can also help you build relationships with others.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings and perspective. As a school counselor, it’s important to be empathetic to the needs of your students. You can use empathy to help students understand their emotions and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with challenges. You can also use empathy to help students understand each other’s perspectives and resolve conflicts.

Problem-solving: As a school counselor, you may work with students who have behavioral issues or who are struggling to meet academic goals. Being able to solve problems is an important skill for a school counselor because it can help you help students overcome challenges and improve their performance. You can use problem-solving skills to help students develop positive habits, manage their emotions and improve their academic performance.

Organization: As a school counselor, you may have many responsibilities, including overseeing student schedules, planning events and maintaining student records. Having strong organizational skills can help you manage your workload and keep track of important information. You can use organization skills to keep track of student schedules, grades and attendance records.

Leadership: School counselors often work with other members of the school staff, including administrators, teachers and other support staff. As a school counselor, you may be responsible for overseeing a team of other school counselors. Leadership skills can help you to manage a team of staff and ensure that everyone is working together to meet the needs of students.

Middle School Counselor Work Environment

The work environment for middle school counselors is usually a school office. The counselor’s desk is usually in a private office, although sometimes it is in a shared office. The counselor’s work hours are usually during the school day, although there may be some evening or weekend meetings. The counselor’s work is usually with students, but may also include working with parents, teachers, and administrators.

Middle School Counselor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how middle school counselors work. Middle school counselors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Attention to Mental Health

Mental health is becoming a more important topic in schools, as educators are beginning to realize the impact that mental health can have on students’ learning.

As a result, middle school counselors will need to be prepared to address mental health issues with their students. This may include providing counseling services or training teachers and parents on how to recognize signs of mental health problems.

More Collaboration Between Schools and Families

The trend of increased collaboration between schools and families is a result of the growing emphasis on student achievement. As schools look for ways to improve academic performance, they are increasingly turning to counselors for help.

Middle school counselors can capitalize on this trend by developing strong relationships with families and creating a positive environment for communication. They can also work to create programs and initiatives that support student success both inside and outside of the classroom.

Greater Emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

The trend of social-emotional learning (SEL) is gaining popularity in schools across the country. SEL focuses on teaching students skills such as empathy, self-control, and conflict resolution.

Middle school counselors can play an important role in implementing SEL in their schools. They can do this by working with teachers to develop curriculum and by providing support and guidance to students.

How to Become a Middle School Counselor

A career as a middle school counselor can be incredibly rewarding. It offers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students, and to help them navigate the difficult transition from elementary school to middle school.

To become a middle school counselor, you’ll need to have a degree in counseling or social work. You’ll also need to be licensed by the state in which you plan to practice. Once you have your license, you can begin working as a middle school counselor.


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