How to become a Counsellor through High Degree
Perhaps you are a high school student that is interested in pursuing a psychology degree. Or perhaps you are in college struggling to find the major that fits your personality. If you are en empathic and caring person with good communications skills and would enjoy helping others, counseling psychology may be a field for you to consider. Here we will review a counseling job description, read about various types of counselors and what it takes to become a counselor.
Counseling Job Description Professional counselors work with a wide variety of people in a variety of social and emotional situations. The job of the counselor is to listen empathically and understand a client and their situation without judgment. Many of the people whom counselors work with have situational stressors or are in crisis situations, such as with a loss of job or death of a family member. However, it is also the job of the counselor to assess and diagnose clients with mental disorder.
Counselors are trained to create and follow treatment plans for their clients based on psychological theory and the issue at hand. Counselor can be found working in mental health clinics, hospitals, schools and private practice.
Types of Counselors
• Mental Health Counselor:
The mental health counselor is what most people think of when they think of counseling. Mental health counselors help those with mental disorders or those in times of crisis or stress. All mental health counselors must be licensed in their state of practice.
• Marriage and Family Counselor:
Marriage and family counselors focus on the relationships between family members and the family unit as a whole. Marriage and family counselors may see couples or groups of family members to resolve family issues.
• School Counselor:
School counselors guide younger students through difficulties in adjusting to school life. Those who work with older students often provide guidance through the college preparatory process but may also provide mental health counseling in the school.
• Addictions Counselor:
Addictions counselors focus on helping those that are addicted to, or recovering from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Other addictions that these counselors face are gambling, internet and sex addictions.
How to Become a Counselor
Knowing the differences in mental health counselors is important in planning your career steps to becoming a counselor. After high school, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. A psychology degree may be your best option, however, other possible majors include communications, social work, or another type of human services degree. This credential is necessary to the next step in the process of becoming a counselor; applying to graduate school.
Although you can attain a PhD or other doctoral degree and become licensed as a mental health counselor, you only need to attain a master’s degree to become qualified to practice. One of the most common master’s degree programs for becoming a mental health counselor is Counseling Psychology.
However, other master’s level degrees exist that satisfy the requirements and may be a better fit if you wish to practice in marriage and family, addictions or school counseling. All mental health counselors must become licensed in their state to practice. This takes not only the master’s degree but experience in the field that is gained both within and after the counseling program.