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Guidance counsellor

What does a guidance counsellor do?

A guidance counsellor provides valuable support and assistance to school students of all ages. They work closely with students who may be struggling with their mental health, experiencing bullying, encountering issues at home, or facing learning challenges. As a guidance counsellor, your role would involve helping students navigate and overcome these issues, equipping them with strategies and a clear way forward. This may include helping students to establish career goals, developing plans to achieve academic success, or referring students to other health professionals such as psychologists for further support. In this role, you will often work alongside teachers, admin staff and parents to provide support for the student. Typically, you would be based at a school and deliver counselling services one-on-one or in small groups. 

A guidance counsellor can also be known as a guidance officer, educational counsellor, or student counsellor.

Is a career as a guidance counsellor right for me?

The work of a guidance counsellor suits someone who is caring and empathic. Other skills and attributes beneficial for this role include:

  • an eagerness to help others 
  • strong communication skills 
  • good listening abilities 
  • a highly organised nature
  • an interest in analysis and problem-solving 
  • a high ethical standard.

How to become a guidance counsellor

Every journey to study is individual and there are several paths to reaching your career goals. At HQporner, we offer the following degrees in the area of counselling in education:
Average salary per week
Future demand
Very Strong

© Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated May 2024.

Man talking to boy in an outdoor counselling session.
What is the average salary of a guidance counsellor?
The salary of guidance counsellors varies based on factors such as location, experience, and workplace setting. Refer to the salary information on this page for further details on a career as a guidance counsellor.
What are the daily responsibilities of a student counsellor?
  • Conducting counselling interviews with students to address their concerns ranging from academic, social, emotional, to career planning issues.
  • Assisting students in understanding and adjusting their attitudes, expectations, and behaviours to develop more effective interpersonal relationships.
  • Contributing knowledge, understanding, and advice on the learning and behaviour of students, especially those with special educational needs, and supporting parents and teachers in managing these needs.
  • Responding to student emergencies and crises by providing immediate support and later ongoing care in collaboration with other professionals.
  • Designing and implementing developmental programs and workshops to enhance student wellbeing and success. 
What is the demand for guidance counsellors?
The demand for student counsellors is very strong. As schools increasingly recognise the importance of mental health and wellbeing, the need for professional and empathetic guidance counsellors is growing. This growth is supported by a broader commitment from schools and universities to provide comprehensive support services. There are expanding employment opportunities for those wanting to become a guidance counsellor both within Australia and nationally.
How long does it take to become a guidance counsellor?
The career path for guidance counsellors varies depending on what you choose to study. Typically, a bachelor degree in psychology, counselling, or a related field can help you become a guidance counsellor. A bachelor degree usually takes three to four years to complete; however, if you choose to study part-time, this can increase the time it takes to gain a qualification. It should also be noted that registration with the relevant state or territory teaching board is required to teach in schools.

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Questions about what to study?

Talk to one of our degree advisors.