If you have a passion for guiding others, a career in counseling could be incredibly gratifying for you.
Youth and young adulthood are times of potential, growth, and change that can be difficult for some to navigate. Counselors offer students support and advice for any situation. They may want to discuss lighthearted and celebratory events. Or they could be looking for a friendly ear for difficult personal issues that can need further intervention.
Counselors must obtain a Master of Science in Counseling. Leading institutes such as SBU offer online counseling master's degrees that can be completed in just 30 months. Some also have a 100-hour in-person practicum to develop skills in therapeutic communication.
Students with a counseling degree work in a variety of careers including clinical mental health counseling. Here are some of the top counseling careers.
Mental Health Counselor
A concentration in clinical mental health counseling will prepare you for many jobs. Mental health counselors are in high demand for their skills. Students have excellent career flexibility with their ability to specialize.
The Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision reported specialized counseling leads to higher job satisfaction.
U.S. News and World Report ranks mental health counseling as the 8th best social services job. This field is predicted to experience a 20% growth between 2016 and 2026. The job prospects range from addiction counseling, mental health counseling, and marriage counseling.
Career counselors listen to the career concerns of students and other professionals. They can serve as education counselors in K-12 schools and higher education institutes. Some need help to resolve issues with their current careers or advice on how to pursue a different path. Counselors often perform aptitude and personality assessments before offering guidance. This helps to determine their ideal careers or advise them on issues in their present jobs.
Those with a school counseling degree may help many people get a proper direction for the future. Their reputation often precedes them, and they receive word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients. Some career counselors visit schools, colleges, universities, and various workplaces. Other successful career counselors hold seminars and webinars to reach a wider audience.
Recent trends show that most people have around six jobs during the duration of their career. This means a rising need for career counseling, a trend that is expected to increase with time.
There is a high demand for education counselors in elementary, middle, and high schools. They advise and guide students through the difficult times of growth and transition. They play an important role in helping students prepare for success in adult life. A New York Times report said that education counseling programs have helped students a lot. It has even helped to boost standardized test scores. A higher percentage of students with access to educational counseling pursue higher education as opposed to those who do not.
Counseling jobs come with good salary and benefits too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that K-12 school counselors earn a median wage of $62,990.
Benefits of Becoming a School Counselor
School counselors’ work makes a lasting impression on their students’ lives. Children and young adults are vulnerable groups and undergo some difficult changes during these times. Counselors help school-age individuals develop coping skills, interpersonal, and conflict resolution skills, all of which will benefit them throughout the rest of their childhood and adulthood. Becoming a school counselor leads to a fulfilling career that will help improve the lives of many.
Another benefit of becoming a school counselor is that those with children can enjoy working during school hours and spending time with their families in the evenings. Counselors have the summers off while school isn’t in session, leaving plenty of time for travel, personal projects, relaxation, and spending time with friends and family. Many counselors for public schools also enjoy excellent public employee benefits and retirement.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in School Counseling?
Before applying for graduate school for an online Master’s Degree in School Counseling, candidates must first earn a bachelor’s degree. This degree may be in any field, although majors such as psychology, human services, education, or health-related studies will be especially beneficial for students. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years of full-time education to earn, although there are online programs with flexible schedules that allow students to continue to work and complete their degree at their own pace.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, the graduate school program for school counseling at St. Bonaventure University can be completed in approximately two years, studying full-time. While attending SBU’s counseling program, students complete an internship and two residencies to put their knowledge into practice and develop their skills as professional counselors.
After graduating with Master’s Degree in School Counseling, graduates then follow their state’s protocol for becoming school counselors. Each state’s Department of Education has different regulations, and steps to becoming a counselor often include completing background checks, providing an institution recommendation, and in some states, taking the PRAXIS exam.
Ready to Make Your Next Career Move?
St. Bonaventure University’s online Master of Science in Education School Counseling degree provides students a balance of flexibility and support. Classwork may be completed online, allowing students to study and learn according to their own schedule. Students receive one-on-one attention from faculty, who are available via email, phone, and video conference to answer questions and assist you with your professional goals.
If you’re a dedicated individual with a passion for helping children and young adults, you can begin your journey to a rewarding career as a school counselor today by reaching out to our admissions counselors, who are happy to answer your questions and get you on the right track to achieve your personal goals.