How Much Do College Admissions Counselors Make?

College counselors assist students with finding a school and career path.
College counselors assist students with finding a school and career path. (Image: Andrea Morini/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Even the brightest students often need assistance, not only in deciding what direction to go in college, but also how to begin pursing those goals. College admissions counselors help these students when choosing a major and advise them on how to obtain the necessary admission requirements, prepare for exams and apply for financial aid. They also commonly revise, edit and develop a student's resume and interviewing skills. The amount that a college admissions counselor can make will depend on several factors.

General Salary Range

For those counselors specializing in schools and preparing students for college or vocational training, the average salary was $55,030 a year based on a May 2009 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The majority of these counselors fell into the middle 50 percent of wage earners, making between $40,260 and $67,160 on average. Some, perhaps the least experienced or those holding positions with less profit-based schools, may earn wages in the bottom 10 percent, averaging only $31,140. However, highly coveted positions held by the most accomplished admissions counselors average as much as $84,080 a year, representing the top 10 percent of wages in the field.

Different Areas and Wages

The location of a job may have a great influence on salary for admissions counselors, often due to cost of living, tax revenue for schools in the area or demand for counselors. For example, Louisiana has not only a relatively low cost of living, but the highest concentration of educational counselors in the nation, and an annual mean wage of $50,430 in 2009, which is below the national average. However, several states pay more than average, such as New York, Rhode Island, Maryland and Alaska, all of which pay between $61,020 and $64,000 a year on average. According to BLS data, the highest-paying area of the country is the state of New Jersey, boasting an annual mean wage of $71,600.

Type of School or Counseling Organization

The majority of school counselors in the United States are employed by elementary, middle and high schools. Those positions pay a national average wage of $61,190 a year based on the 2009 BLS report. However, colleges and universities also employ admissions counselors at an average salary of $49,050 a year. A counselor working for a junior college in 2009 can expect an average salary of $56,130 a year. However, according to the BLS, the highest-paying employer in 2009 was the federal government. Admissions counselors in these positions earn an average of $69,770 a year.


There are different expectations of counselors in each state, but most positions are reserved for those with a master's degree. Common fields of study include education, psychology, social sciences, career development and, of course, counseling. After formal schooling, many states require school counselors to obtain certification and maintain it through continuing education. On a personal level, counselors should have a natural desire to help people.

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