School counselors provide a number of services to students. At the elementary school level, these employees observe individual and group behavior and offer teachers assistance with better organizing the classrooms and lessons to meet the needs of students. At the high school level, guidance counselors help students apply for college, secure financial aid, develop a resume or identify realistic career prospects and plans for achieving such goals. The salary range for counselors in Florida depends heavily upon location.
Florida School Counselor Pay
Florida spent $313 million on the salaries of 5,996 public school guidance counselors during the 2008-09 school year, according to figures from the state legislature. Simple division tells us that each of these employees earned an average of $52,201 annually. In the same period, Florida employed 1,400 psychologists as school counselors at a cost of $83 million, meaning each earned an average annual salary of about $59,285. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average school counselor in Florida earned a salary of $54,930 annually as of May 2010.
Salary by Location
The pay of school counselors in Florida depends upon location. The Port St. Lucie metro area constitutes the ninth highest paying region in the U.S. for school counselors, with an average annual salary of $71,160 as of May 2010. The Jacksonville metro area, on the other hand, pays a relatively low salary of $52,800 annually. Few public school counselors in Florida earn an average salary of more than $60,000. Other than Port St. Lucie, only the Orlando metro area, the Sebastian-Vero Beach region and the Cape Coral-Fort Meyers area pay more than $60,000. Counselors in some areas, such as the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area, earn less than $50,000 annually as of 2010. Most counselors in Florida, however, earn between $50,000 and $58,000 annually.
The average school counselor in the U.S. earned an annual salary of $55,970 in 2010, or slightly more than the average school counselor in Florida for the same period. Florida pays relatively well for its region. The abutting states of Georgia and Alabama both pay a lower average annual wage as of 2010, or $54,870 and $52,410, respectively. Counselors in nearby Mississippi earn a significantly lower average of $47,440, while counselors in Texas earn the highest wages of the Gulf Coast with an average annual of $55,420.
The Port St. Lucie area, which maintains the highest wages for guidance counselors in Florida as of 2010, employs few counselors. Only 220 professional counselors work in the area as of 2010. Large metro areas in Florida, such as Jacksonville and Miami, pay relatively low salaries for counselors, though in the Orlando area and north Florida, which includes the Gainesville area, earn a higher annual salary than the state average. All schools in Florida may elect to employ a psychologist as a counselor as per Florida state law, though only 1,400 of these individuals work in the 67 school districts in the state as of 2010. Due to their high level of education, these counselors earn more than standard counselors.
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