Youth Counselor

Guide teenagers through the challenges they face.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$24,000 – $64,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Youth Counselors do?

A Youth Counselor works with youths, usually considered to be teens 13 through 18, who are going through rough times due to mental illness, emotional problems, or outside factors like drugs or alcohol. The kids a Youth Counselor works with can be facing a variety of problems, and because of this, a Youth Counselor can work in a variety of places. You might find employment at a community center, jail, group home, mental hospital, religious center, or high school.

In each of these places, it’s your job to connect with the kids in your care, and encourage them to open up and deal with their issues. You employ different techniques, ranging from one-on-one talking therapy to group therapy or art classes. The purpose of your work is to give the kids the reassurance that there’s a person they can consider as a trusted friend, who can help them understand their problems.

To help the kids in your care, the first thing you need to know is what they’re dealing with. You not only talk with them, but you also work with Teachers, family members, and, in some cases, Social Workers or Parole Officers. You collect as much background information as you can in order to create a treatment plan that will best help them.

This treatment plan might have you suggesting anger management classes, social services, or even medicine to help with their problems. Throughout your work with your clients, you meet regularly to work towards an improvement on their issue, and keep detailed records of your sessions.

Should I be a Youth Counselor?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Social: You're happiest working on teams or with other people.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Direct Care Counselor, Elder Counselor, Human Service Counselor See More

    How to become a Youth Counselor

    Most Youth Counselors have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:akce9a&chl=|certificate+%2813%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29|bachelor%27s+%286%25%29|master%27s+%2876%25%29|doctorate+%281%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,76
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