At some point in our lives, every one of us has had something bothering us or has wished we had someone to talk to and express our concerns. If you'd like to be one of the individuals who are able to help those in need, you may find working as a counselor a good fit. Learn about the different counseling degrees and the career options for counselors.
The type of counselor you want to become will play a big part in the type of counseling degree you'll pursue. Counselors are found in many types of businesses. The most common types of counselors are school and careers counselors; rehabilitation counselors; substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselors; mental health counselors; and marriage and family therapists.
Counseling degrees at the doctoral degree level are generally chosen by individuals who seek careers in research, in academia or just want the highest level of education and salary for their careers. A doctoral degree candidate must have a master degree in the field already. This 76-credit program requires the student to complete core psychology coursework, a supervised practicum, a 2,000 hour supervised internship, and a dissertation.
States often vary in their requirements regarding licensure and certification; however, most states require counselors be state-licensed and/or certified in almost all counseling professions. To obtain licensure, counselors typically must pass a state-approved exam, have a master’s degree and complete from 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. They must also complete continuing education credits to maintain their certification/licensure. The master degree programs will typically require that student already have a bachelor’s degree.
Counseling degrees can also be earned online. Many colleges offer counseling or psychology programs through distance learning.
Depending on their areas of interest and study, graduates of counseling programs may find many career opportunities open to them once they become licensed. School and career counselors help students work with behavior problems; help students determine career goals; provide students with information on important issues that can affect their learning; refer students and family members to outsider sources when necessary.
Substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselor provide services and counseling to victims of drug or alcohol abuse or those with behavioral problems. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists work with patients who suffer from mental or emotional issues and provide family and relationship counseling. Rehabilitation counselors help disabled or sick people deal with their issues and lead as normal and productive lives as possible.
Guidance counselors work in a bit of a different capacity, advising students on which path their education and career should take them, but they also overlap into all of the aforementioned areas of behavioral, special needs, and substance abuse.