Counseling Degree Programs
There are many different career paths for people looking to enter the world of counseling. However, most have one particular subject in common: psychology. If you decide to pursue your life goal of becoming a counselor, the best way to begin is to take psychology courses in high school. Consult your guidance counselor for a list of helpful courses that will help you prepare for further education to become a counselor.
After earning a bachelors degree in psychology or related field, consider exploring opportunities to earn a masters degree in counseling. A masters degree can help you further expand your career possibilities and allow you to focus building your education around the field that most interests you. Completing a masters degree will add to your qualifications, increasing the likelihood of finding a job in your field.
The Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Science at Capella University offers master degrees in five specific areas of counseling: addiction counseling, marriage and family counseling/therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling, and human behavior. Each masters degree program is designed to fulfill the needs of students wishing to achieve proper education necessary to enter the fields of their choices. Earning a masters degree in counseling online can be highly beneficial for the nontraditional student or a student whose work schedule prevents him or her from attending on-campus classes on a regular basis. Capella University’s online courses take a scientific approach to counseling and are valued as an excellent way to earn degrees to become any of a number of different counselors.
The Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts offers a list of master degrees in various types of counseling. From a Master of Science in Family Therapy to a Master of Science in Mental Health, graduate students are able to earn their degrees by attending classes on campus or online or by taking a mixture of both on-campus and online courses. Students enrolled in degree programs in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology study subjects like human development, abnormal behavior, physiology, and more. They will also become familiar with the laws and regulations around which their future professions revolve, which helps them gain better understanding of how to legally handle certain situations. UMass also stresses the importance of ethics and communication, and courses often include both information and training to prepare students to tackle their career goals.
Located in San Antonio, TX, Our Lady of the Lake University offers graduate students the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology. This degree program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and is an excellent end to further education in psychology. It prepares graduate students to practice psychology in multiple states, with a focus on performing counseling services and administering psychological assessments. In addition, Our Lady of the Lake University also offers undergraduate degrees in social work, psychology, and other relevant degrees in preparation for earning graduate degrees in counseling.
Careers in Counseling
What can you do with a counseling degree? With so many different areas of psychology, there are many different types of counselors scattered throughout the world. While enrolled in a counseling degree program, you should be familiar with the various types of counselors in order to best determine which particular career path you should travel. This section contains just a handful of examples of counseling positions available to people with psychology degrees and specific counseling degrees.
Geriatric CounselorA geriatric counselor focuses his or her services on helping individuals or families cope with aging. Many clients need assistance in dealing with deaths of loved ones and close friends, especially later in life. Geriatric counselors also help clients face the loss of specific bodily functions as they get older, because losing bladder control can be quite embarrassing and the loss of the ability to hear can be particularly stressful. Geriatric counselors may have degrees in mental health counseling or other counseling services from degree programs accredited by the American Psychological Association and often work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Geriatric counselors may earn around $31,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Mental Health Counselor
A mental health counselor may both diagnose and treat patients with mental disorders. Mental health counselors may assist people individually and in groups who are facing particular difficulties in coping with low self esteem, stress management, and life changes. They may work in psychiatric wards, other health facilities, or they may have their own practices. A mental health counselor may possess a masters degree or doctoral degree in mental health counseling or another relevant type of psychology.
Mental health counselors may earn over $50,000 annually, depending on their education and experience levels as well as where they are employed.
A spiritual counselor helps guide people in their religious journey by providing them with passages from scripture or helping them understand that every life has a purpose, that there is something worth living for. A spiritual counselor often focuses their sessions around one particular religion, whether New Age religious beliefs or Christianity, and offers prayer services as well. Spiritual counselors may possess degrees in mental health or other counseling services with a focus on a specific religion and are very secure in their faith.
Spiritual counselors may earn around $37,000 a year, based on education and experience levels.
Substance Abuse Counselor
A substance abuse counselor provides services to people who are struggling with drug addictions, severe alcohol problems, and more. He or she treats patients who may seek help for themselves or who have been sentenced through court to attend sessions in place of doing jail time for crimes committed while under the influence. Substance abuse counselors possess outstanding communication and listening skills. Entry level positions may be obtained after achieving an associates degree or bachelors degree in psychology, but higher-paid and more advanced positions often require a masters degree in counseling or psychology.
Substance abuse counselors may earn over $40,000 with higher degrees and a few years of experience in their field.
Companies that Hire People with Counseling Degrees
Once you earn a degree in counseling, you’ll need to venture out into the job market. Counseling is a very popular field, and although there are many job opportunities available, it’s a rather high competition you’ll have to face. Below are just a few examples of places you can work after you earn a degree in counseling.
Southwest General Health Center – located in Middleburg Heights, OH; hires positions for mental health specialists, assistant clinical managers, home health care case managers, home health care attendants, etc.
Affiliated Sante Group – various locations throughout MD; hires positions for psychiatric recovery specialists, psychiatrists, various types of therapists, etc.
Fidelis Hospice – located in Havehill, MA; hires positions for spiritual counselors, bereavement counselors, hospice aides, etc.
Treasure Coast Recovery – located in Stuart, FL; hires positions for addictions counselors for individuals and for group therapy sessions, etc.
Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries – locations in MD and PA; hires positions for drug and alcohol counselors, family life services counselors, mental health therapists, etc.
Counseling services are reaching a higher demand as time progresses, so the profession will always be necessary. People have difficulty coping with personal struggles, including everything from verbal to physical abuse and even mental health issues; and with the way the world is constantly changing, the need for counselors is growing stronger by the day. If you have a passion for helping others face their conflicts and you possess sincere compassion for the human race, then you should consider a counseling career.