What Does A Youth Counselor Do? Roles and Responsibilities

What Does A Youth Counselor Do? Roles and Responsibilities


A youth counselor works with children and adolescents to support their personal, social, and emotional development. Youth counselors play a vital role in helping young people navigate challenges, build resilience, set goals, and thrive.

Core Responsibilities

  • Provide individual and group counseling focused on issues like self-esteem, relationships, substance abuse prevention, anger management, trauma, and crisis intervention
  • Develop treatment plans tailored to each client’s unique strengths, needs, and goals
  • Teach life skills like communication, decision making, and conflict resolution
  • Advocate for youth and connect them with community resources and support services
  • Maintain confidential records and documentation
  • Collaborate with teachers, parents, and other stakeholders to comprehensively support the young person

Traits and Qualifications

Effective youth counselors have:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or related field
  • A state license to provide counseling services
  • Strong listening, communication, and interpersonal abilities
  • Empathy, compassion, and cultural sensitivity
  • Understanding of child development and psychology
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Patience and the ability to set appropriate personal boundaries

Why This Role Matters

Youth counselors provide critical guidance and care during the formative years. By offering a safe space for young people to process challenges, counselors empower them to thrive into adulthood.


What issues do youth counselors help with?

Youth counselors help young people work through issues like bullying, learning disabilities, family changes, trauma, depression, anxiety, anger problems, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, abuse, relationships, self-esteem, and more.

What age group do youth counselors work with?

Youth counselors generally work with children and adolescents between the ages of 4 and 18.

Do you need a master’s degree to become a youth counselor?

In most states, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like psychology, counseling, or social work to become a youth counselor. A master’s degree allows you to provide more specialized counseling services.

What is the difference between a youth counselor and a social worker?

While roles overlap, youth counselors tend to focus more on personal and emotional issues through talk therapy techniques, while social workers focus on connecting clients with practical community resources and services.

Do youth counselors make good money?

The average youth counselor salary is $46,810 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a graduate degree and specializations, salaries can reach above $60,000.