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Educational Counsellor

Educational counsellors advise students on educational, personal, and career-related issues. They co-ordinate counselling services for students, parents, and teachers.

Also Known As

Career Advisor, (Career / College / Employment / Guidance / School / University) Counsellor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 4143: Educational Counsellors

2006 NOC-S

  • E133: Educational Counsellors

2011 NOC

  • 4033: Educational counsellors

2016 NOC

  • 4033: Educational counsellors

2021 NOC

  • 41320: Educational counsellors

2023 OaSIS

  • 41320.00: Educational counsellors
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Educational counsellors include school guidance counsellors and university and college counsellors. School guidance counsellors work in elementary, junior, and senior high schools while university and college counsellors work in post-secondary schools and technical institutes.

Educational counsellors work with individual students and student groups. In general, they:

  • Counsel students who have personal, social, educational, or behavioural problems, with a focus on overall wellness
  • Provide career or vocational counselling services, such as conducting tests and inventories to help students identify their interests, aptitudes, and abilities
  • Collect and make available a wide range of information about occupations, required education, and financial assistance (such as awards and scholarships)
  • Establish and supervise peer-counselling and peer-tutoring programs
  • Act as a resource for teachers and faculty members who are involved in helping their students and graduates find employment
  • Present self-help or information sessions on subjects related to education and career planning
  • Help students improve their study habits
  • Help students research travel-and-study programs
  • Assess the impact of their work on students and other clients
  • Assess the success of their work with teachers and other professionals
  • Refer students to appropriate services and agencies when required
  • Develop and maintain community partnerships with social agencies

School guidance counsellors also help students choose programs and courses to fit their goals and schedule classes. They may have teaching duties, as well. They may advocate for individual students or student groups. They also may create programs to support student development.

Counsellors in secondary and post-secondary schools may supervise work experience programs for students.

Educational counsellors work closely with various other professionals. School guidance counsellors work with teachers, speech therapists, school psychologists, social workers, and public health nurses. University and college counsellors work with instructors and personnel from the registrar’s office, work experience programs, and placement services.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Educational counsellors usually work standard school or office hours. However, they often spend time during evenings and weekends supervising extracurricular activities, attending meetings, and advocating for students. Counsellors may spend extra hours developing workshops or other programs, and planning for meetings with students, parents, or other professionals. They tend to work in offices and classrooms. The work can be emotionally demanding and stressful, especially when caseloads are high.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Educational Counsellors

2006 NOC: 4143

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in mentoring in order to counsel students on personal and social issues such as substance abuse, depression, sexuality, eating disorders, anxiety, self-esteem, family problems, relationship and interpersonal skills, and anger management; and in crisis situations such as dealing with the death of a friend or family member, suicidal tendencies and abuse situations


Interest in co-ordinating information to provide counselling and information services to students, parents, teachers, faculty and staff on matters related to student orientation, career or vocational issues, professional development, co-op and school-to-work transition programs, and interaction with other educational institutions


Interest in administering and interpreting standardized intelligence, personality, vocational, aptitude and interest tests, and in supervising peer counselling programs in school settings; may supervise field experience for graduate students in counselling; may teach regular classes

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Educational counsellors need:

  • An interest in helping people resolve their problems
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • The creative skills to develop new programs or new ways of doing things
  • Organizational skills
  • A tolerance for ambiguity and an ability to adapt to change quickly
  • The ability to listen with empathy and understanding, without prejudice or judgment
  • The ability to keep clear, ethical boundaries
  • The ability to show the impact of the services they offer

They should enjoy counselling students, co-ordinating information, and developing innovative approaches to problems. They should be comfortable administering and interpreting standardized tests.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Educational counsellors

2016 NOC: 4033

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 32 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 04, 2021 and Jun 13, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Construction Specialization: Organized
Tasks: Counsel students regarding educational, career or vocational issues
Tasks: Refer students to other specialized services when required
Attention to detail
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Tasks: Co-ordinate the provision of counselling and information services to students, parents and teachers
Tasks: Counsel students regarding personal and social issues
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Work under pressure
Tasks: Participate in staff meetings, educational conferences and workshops
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

Educational counsellors need a master’s degree in educational psychology, applied psychology, or counselling.

Educational counsellors who have a master’s degree with related courses may become registered psychologists. For more information, see the Psychologist occupational profile. Career advisors who work in educational settings do not require a related master’s degree. For more information, see the Career Development Professional occupational profile.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Educational counsellors work for:

  • Primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools
  • Correctional facilities
  • Government agencies
  • Private practices

Opportunities to advance to administrative positions vary. Factors include the size and nature of the employing organization and the counsellor’s qualifications.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 4033: Educational counsellors occupational group, 89.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 4033: Educational counsellors occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.3% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 92 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Salaries for educational counsellors vary. Factors include the size and type of employing organization and the counsellor’s qualifications.

Counsellors with teaching certificates are paid according to the same salary grid as primary and secondary school teachers in their school jurisdictions. For more information see, the Elementary School Teacher and Secondary School Teacher occupational profiles.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Educational counsellors

2016 NOC: 4033
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4033 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.51 $38.16 $28.57 $28.48
Overall $23.08 $50.86 $34.74 $33.88
Top $24.10 $58.36 $40.32 $39.56

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) website:

The Guidance Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association website:

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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