Counseling Degrees

Career summary: Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

Average Salary

$41,500

National Average, Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

Excellent

29% job growth by 2022, which is much faster than average

Earn a degree in counseling from an accredited college

Counselors provide other people with advice and guidance to assist in resolving problems or concerns they may have regarding personal, family, health, education, or other issues. Such issues may be of a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual nature. The specific duties performed by counselors vary significantly depending on the persons being served and the particular work setting. Counselors generally need to be effective listeners with the ability to skillfully analyze and resolve problems, communicate ideas and provide thoughtful support and wise direction.

Overview

Counseling original

Why would I want a counseling degree?

A degree in counseling will give you the knowledge and skills you need to have a fulfilling career by helping others work through their questions and problems, not to mention that jobs in this field are plentiful. If you enjoy getting to the root of problems and decision making, like helping others, and are patient and a good listener, then a degree in counseling may be a good fit for you.

Job Description

What do people with counseling degrees do?

A large majority of people who get their degrees in counseling go on to become professional counselors who specialize in one of a variety of areas. These counselors seek to help families and individuals with a variety of issues and problems ranging from mental health disorders to disability and employment needs. Some of the most common careers and specialties that counseling graduates go into are listed below.

  • Educational and School Counselors: They provide advice and direction to students of all levels (from elementary school to university). Their main responsibilities lie in evaluating students’ abilities, interests, talents, and personalities to develop realistic academic and career goals, but they may also provide other counseling on a more personal level, especially the ones counseling children and teenagers.
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: People who are going through rehab due to physical or emotional problems need counseling as a part of their rehab. Rehabilitation counselors help these patients get through rehabilitation by offering emotional support, giving advice, and giving them resources they can draw from to help get them through the rehab process.
  • Mental Health Counselors: They are trained in a variety of therapeutic techniques to help their patients work through a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, suicidal impulses, stress, trauma, low self-esteem, and grief.
  • Substance Abuse Counselors: They help people overcome unhealthy dependencies. Some of these dependencies include substance abuse problems (alcohol and drugs), gambling, and eating disorders. Therapy may include individual and group sessions, as well as working with family members who are affected by the addictions.
  • Marriage and Family Therapists: They work with individuals and families to help promote healthy family relationships. In doing so, they help to modify people’s perceptions and behaviors and enhance communication and understanding among family members.

Salary

How much do professional counselors make?

The median salaries for the most common careers and specialties in counseling are listed below. This data was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based on surveys which were taken in 2008.

The median annual salary for educational and school counselors was $51,050. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,740 and $65,360. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,360, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,330.

The median annual salary for rehabilitation counselors was $30,930. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,110 and $41,240. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,550.

The median annual salary for mental health counselors was $36,810. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,930 and $48,580. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,580, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,100.

The median annual salary for substance abuse counselors was $37,030. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,410 and $47,290. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,240, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $59,460.

The median annual salary for marriage and family therapists was $44,590. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,840 and $56,320. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,810, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,830.

Career Outlook

How popular are professional counseling jobs?

Jobs in counseling are quite popular, and they will continue to be popular into the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate among all counseling professions is expected to grow by 18% through the year 2018, which is faster than the average growth rate among all jobs. Aside from the growing need for professional counselors of all specialties, another thing that is spurring the growth in this field is the growing recognition of the effectiveness of their work.

Career Path

How do I become a professional counselor?

Certification and licensing requirements vary from state to state. One thing that is quite standard, though, is that most positions require at least a master’s degree in counseling or psychology in order to become a licensed counselor or therapist. Some positions actually require a doctorate degree in counseling or psychology in order to become licensed.

Salary and career outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Learning Format

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