How to Become a Counselor
Counselors offer support and advice to people facing personal and professional struggles. They assist their clients set goals, work towards mental wellness, including stress management and self-worth building. Counselors may work in private practices, schools, healthcare agencies, hospitals or rehabilitation facilities.
Educational requirements for counselors differ by region and specialty. In many states, candidates for positions such as social workers and clinical mental health counselors must possess either a master’s degree in counseling or psychology.
Earning a graduate degree can provide you with the perfect platform to launch your career and prepare you for licensing. Make sure your program is accredited by CACREP (Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs), so that your training meets industry standards.
Completing a counseling master’s degree requires at least two years of full-time study. This education typically involves theoretical lessons in counseling theory as well as hands-on experience working with experienced clinicians.
After earning your master’s degree, you must submit a counseling licensure application and pass the qualification exam for your state. In addition to meeting minimum academic and internship requirements in your area, you must also accumulate thousands of supervised hours in an accredited work setting.
Counselors must possess patience, as it often takes time for them to see positive outcomes with their clients. Patience is especially key for school counselors who often assist students when they feel the strain of having to finish homework, test prep or other academic or social tasks.