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Career Development
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Counseling Major Careers

Counseling Career Information

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies


Mental Health

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Program Planning
  • Administration
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • In/Outpatient psychiatric care units
  • Mobile crisis units
  • Hospitals
  • Behavioral health programs
  • Social service agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Religious and pastoral organizations
  • Hospices
  • Child guidance clinics
  • Family planning centers
  • Adult service programs
  • Group homes
  • Public and private schools
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies including:
    • Armed Forces
    • Department of Child and Family Services
    • Department of Corrections
    • Department of Human Services
    • Department of Mental Health
    • Department of Justice
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Private or group practices
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Gain practical experience with children, families, and individuals with mental health issues.
  • Become familiar with government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Volunteer with a local social service or non-profit organization to test interests.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow professionals in a variety of fields.
  • Participate in community events to become familiar with local organizations and community members.
  • Develop strong communication skills and the desire to help others.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Cultivate multicultural competence.
  • Develop ability to work well under pressure and manage stress.
  • Research government hiring procedures.
  • Obtain certification as a Mental Health Service Provider (MHSP) and/or a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC).
  • Consult the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) for state licensure requirements.

Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Pre-marital Counseling
  • Couples’ Counseling
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Sexual Counseling
  • Child/Spousal Abuse Counseling
  • Private or group practice
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Social service agencies
  • Religious and pastoral organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Gain practical experience with children and families.
  • Acquire knowledge of group dynamics and stressors unique to families.
  • Develop skills in conflict mediation.
  • Cultivate multicultural competence and an understanding of how values may impact practice.
  • Obtain certification as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT).

School Counseling

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • College/Career Planning
  • Student Services
  • Public and private schools, K-12
  • Departments of Education
  • Gain experience through mentoring, tutoring, or volunteering with a school based organization.
  • Acquire knowledge of stressors unique to children and families.
  • Plan to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams including teachers, social workers, school administrators, therapists, and others.
  • Become familiar with various assessments and evaluations utilized in educational settings.
  • Obtain certification as a school counselor (NCSC).
  • Consult ASCA for state certification requirements.
 

School Education

  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Student Support Services
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
Colleges and universities:
  • Academic departments
  • Student affairs units
  • Research centers
  • Counseling centers
  • Obtain a PhD to teach in post-secondary schools.
  • Specialize or take additional courses in college student personnel for student affairs positions.
  • Complete an internship or graduate assistantship in a college setting to be competitive for jobs.
  • Develop strong communication and writing skills.
  • Assist faculty members with research projects.
  • Develop strong background in statistics and research for higher education program development and evaluation.
  • Join professional associations and attend relevant conferences.
 

Career Counseling

  • Individual and/or Group Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Career Planning
  • Job Searching
  • Employee Evaluation
  • Program Development
  • Out Placement
  • Large corporations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Vocational schools
  • Government agencies including:
    • Armed forces
    • One Stop Career Centers
    • Employment offices
  • Career development centers
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Private practice
  • Obtain practical experience through part-time or summer jobs, internships, assistantships, or volunteering in a career center or employment agency.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Develop strong communication skills.
  • Acquire knowledge of effective interviewing and resume writing skills.
  • Investigate a wide variety of careers, areas of study, and related assessment tools.
  • Become familiar with government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Seek certification on various assessments.
  • Become familiar with government hiring procedures.
  • Join the National Career Development Association and apply for Master Career Counselor (MCC) status.

Rehabilitation

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Vocational Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Hospitals
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs
  • Correctional facilities
  • Probation services
  • Group homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Senior centers
  • Adult service programs
  • Therapeutic recreation centers
  • College/university disabilities offices
  • State and federal government including:
    • Department of Social Services
    • Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
    • Veterans Affairs
  • Gain practical experience working with people who have physical disabilities, the elderly, children, and families.
  • Become familiar with human development and issues specific to aging and disabilities.
  • Volunteer with agencies providing services to these populations such as Meals on Wheels, Project Live, etc.
  • Seek knowledge of assessment procedures and therapeutic recreational activities.
  • Research government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Expect to work on multidisciplinary teams.
  • Obtain certification as a rehabilitation counselor (CRC) through the CRCC.

Substance Abuse

  • Addictions Counseling
  • Behavioral Disorders Counseling
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Assessment
  • Hospitals
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs
  • Vocational rehabilitation agencies
  • Correctional facilities
  • Probation services
  • Group homes
  • Community mental health organizations
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Gain practical experience working with people who have alcohol and drug issues and/or behavioral disorders.
  • Become familiar with assessment procedures and typical interventions.
  • Volunteer with local hospitals, detox centers, or residential treatment facilities.
  • Investigate government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Attend community meetings such as AA or NA.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Develop multicultural competence.
  • Seek knowledge of psychopharmacology and dual diagnosis issues.
  • Obtain certification as a Master Addictions Counselor (MAC).

Social Services

  • Case Management
  • Program Development
  • Community Education
  • Administration
  • Advocacy
  • Community Relations
  • Mental Health Services
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Research
  • Grant Writing
  • Child guidance clinics
  • Correctional facilities
  • Consulting firms
  • Non-profit and social service organizations
  • Research organizations
  • Hospitals: military, psychiatric, VA, or general
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Federal, state, and local government including:
    • Department of Child and Family Services
    • Department of Corrections
    • Department of Human Services
    • Department of Justice
    • Department of Mental Health
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Some graduates of counseling programs may choose social service roles in which they are not providing clinical counseling but perform other functions.
  • Volunteer with a local social service or non-profit organization to test interests.
  • Participate in community events to become familiar with local organizations and community resources.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people from varying socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
  • Develop a wide range of skills such as presenting, grant writing, and fund raising. Sometimes professionals in nonprofit organizations fill multiple roles in their jobs.
  • Become familiar with government hiring procedures.

General Information and Strategies

  • Many undergraduate majors serve as good preparation to enter counseling professions. Sometimes even seemingly unrelated majors, such as communication studies, can work. If pursuing a graduate degree, some programs require certain undergraduate coursework while other programs are open to any undergraduate degree. Research requirements at schools of interest.
  • Graduate entrance exams are required for entry into a master’s or PhD program. Though most will require only the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), some may also require the GRE in Psychology.
  • Graduate programs should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in order to ensure a smooth transition towards licensure or certification.
  • Most counseling PhD programs require a master’s degree in counseling or a related field and/or several years of experience for admission. However, many programs accept, if not require, bachelor’s level applicants.
  • Many counseling positions require credentials as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in order to provide services or to go into private or group practice. Licensure can require an additional 2-3 years of supervised experience after graduation depending upon state requirements.
  • Additional credentials may be required for specialized fields such as Marriage and Family Therapy, Career Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, or School Counseling. Refer to the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and state licensure requirements to determine which credentials are needed.
  • Employment opportunities are expected to grow in each of the counseling areas due to changing legislation, expansion of services, increasing student enrollment, improved reimbursement from managed care companies, and decreased stigma surrounding seeking professional help.
  • It is important to join and utilize professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association throughout your studies, as well as when looking for employment. These organizations often advertise grants, promote networking, advocate for students and professionals, and provide resources and important information regarding professional issues.

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