I don't work in the field, but I believe that a high school (or elementary school or middle school) counselor usually has a master's degree which may have taken about six years of college if having attended school on a full-time basis. Some school/guidance counselor jobs require some teaching experience so that the individual must have at least gotten a bachelor's (four-year) degree in "Education" (secondary education for teaching at the middle school or high school level as opposed to elementary education for children in elementary school) . A college counselor may need a doctorate (Ph.D.) such as in counseling psychology. (I'd heard that in order to become a career counselor at a college or perhaps in private practice that it is advised to get a doctoral degree in counseling psychology.)
For general career information: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos067.htm
Please also be aware that those interested in the field of counseling should only consider schools accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs: http://www.cacrep.org
(Perhaps you can include that in your paper :)
For more information about school counseling - American School Counselor Association: http://www.schoolcounselor.org
If you're interested in attending school to become a counselor, please avoid those private overly priced For-profit schools such as capella, argosy, devry, aiu, walden, university of phoenix, regis and others as they are merely out to "make a profit" (** and their course credits may NOT transfer to other schools).
Please instead consider the state/public university (or even the local community college) as long as the program is accredited within the industry. Just fyi that "american public university" is actually a For-profit school.
For U.S. colleges: http://www.utexas.edu/world/univ