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Area
Employer
Information/Strategies

Mental Health

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Program Planning
  • Administration
  • Counseling Therapy and Speciality Areas Include:
    •     Eating Disorders
    •     Grief
    •     Hypnotherapy
    •     Animal-assisted
    •     Equine
    •     Expressive Arts: Music, Art, Dance, Play

    See other areas of specialty below

  • Residential treatment facilities
  • In/Outpatient psychiatric care units
  • Mobile crisis units
  • Hospitals
  • Behavioral health programs
  • Social service agencies
  • Nonprofit 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 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
    • Correctional facilities
  • Private or group practices
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Obtain a master’s degree in mental health counseling or related area.
  • 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 organization to test interest in working with different populations or presenting problems.
  • 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, listening, and organizational skills, along with a sense of empathy.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Cultivate multicultural and diversity competence.
  • Develop the ability to work well under pressure and manage stress.
  • Join professional organizations such as Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) or American Counseling Association (ACA) to learn about current issues in the field.
  • Research government hiring procedures and state licensure regulations.
  • Obtain national certification as a Mental Health Service Provider (MHSP) through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and/or state dependent certification.
  • Many professional associations offer training and certification in specialty areas.  Research your area of interest for opportunities.


Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Pre-marital Counseling
  • Couples’ Counseling
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Sexuality Counseling
  • Sexuality Education
  • Child/Spousal Abuse Counseling
  • Private or group practice
  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Social service agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Religious and pastoral organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Family planning centers
  • Obtain a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or related graduate degree.
  • 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).
  • Join professional organizations such as American Counseling Association (ACA) and/or American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) to learn more about the field.
  • Consult the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB) for more information on state licensure regulations.


School Counseling

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • College/Career Planning
  • Student Services
  • Public and private schools, K-12
  • Departments of Education
  • Earn a master’s degree in school counseling.
  • 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 National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  • Join professional organizations such as American School Counselor Association (ASCA) to learn more about the field.


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 development for student affairs positions. Complete an internship or graduate assistantship in a college setting to be competitive for jobs.
  • Acquire an educational specialist (EdS) degree beyond a master’s for further training within the field of education.
  • 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 such as Association for Counselor Educationand Supervision (ACES) or ASCA and attend relevant conferences.


Career Counseling

  • Individual and/or Group Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Career Planning
  • Job Searching
  • Employee Evaluation
  • Program Development
  • Outplacement
  • Large corporations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Vocational schools
  • Local, state, and federal government including:
    • Armed forces
    • One Stop Career Centers
    • Employment offices
    • Correctional facilities
    • Probation services
  • Career development centers
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Private practice
  • Obtain practical experience through part-time or summer jobs, internships, assistantships, or volunteer work 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.
  • Obtain a master’s degree with a special emphasis in career counseling to increase marketability (not required but preferred).
  • Become familiar with government hiring procedures.
  • Join the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and apply for Master Career Counselor (MCC) or Master Career Development Professional (MCDP) status.


Rehabilitation

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Vocational Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Advocacy/Intervention
  • Administration
  • Hospitals
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs
  • Group homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted/independent living facilities
  • Senior centers
  • Adult service programs
  • Therapeutic recreation centers
  • College/university disabilities offices
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Local, state, and federal government including:
    • Department of Social Services
    • Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Correctional facilities
    • Probation services
  • Gain practical experience working with people who have physical disabilities, the elderly, veterans, adolescents, 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.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling to increase marketability (not required but preferred).
  • 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 Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).


Substance Abuse

  • Addictions Counseling
  • Behavioral Disorders Counseling
  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Assessment
  • Hospitals
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Group homes
  • Community mental health organizations
  • Private or group practices
  • Local, state, and federal government including:
    • Department of Social Services
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Correctional facilities
    • Juvenile detention facilities
    • Probation services
  • 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 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (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) through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).


Social Services

  • Case Management
  • Program Development
  • Community Education
  • Administration
  • Advocacy
  • Community Relations
  • Mental Health Services
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Research
  • Grant Writing
  • Child guidance clinics
  • Consulting firms
  • Non-profit and social service organizations
  • Research organizations
  • Hospitals: military, psychiatric, VA, or general
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Local, state, and federal 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
    • Correctional facilities
  • 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.
  • 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. Since licensure is state specific, most counselors choose to also pursue licensure as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  • 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 NBCC or NCDA (for career counseling) 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 information regarding professional issues.


 

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