Counseling Profession Pathways – Begin, Change, Or Refresh Your Career

Counseling Profession Pathways

When people first hear the term “counseling”, they may think professional counselor, addiction counselor, or even school counselor. However, many counseling careers are sometimes overlooked. When serving different populations, professional counselors may wish to obtain additional certifications to better advocate for their clients. In fact, some counselor education programs offer degrees in specialized fields, such as college or rehabilitation counseling. Other fields may call for a certification add-on to a counseling license. Nevertheless, knowing the possibilities within the counseling field can provide professionals with a wider outlook on serving diverse populations.

Career Counselor →

Role

Help individuals make important decisions about career paths, teach job search skills, work on conflict resolution techniques through the utilization of tools, assessments, and evaluation of current skills.

Licensure Or Certification

Some counselor education paths offer career counseling degrees as a part of their masters in counseling programs. Professional career counselors are licensed through their state and can earn the National Certified Career Counselor or Master Career Counselor title. The National Career Development Association compares different career providers in their comparison chart.

College Counselor →

Role

Differing from academic advisor and school counselor, a college counselor provides post-secondary students with emotional difficulties, mental health, academic counseling, substance abuse, or other concerns that affect their academic goals. Outlined by the American Counseling Association on the role of college counselors, college counselors engage in counseling, consulting and prevention programming, and assessing risk.

Licensure Or Certification

Otherwise known as student affairs professionals, college counselors can earn a master’s degree with college counseling designation. After pursuing professional licensure, certifications can be earned in student affairs in higher education by a variety of universities.

Mental Health Counselor →

Role

Perhaps the most well-known type of counseling, mental health counselors provide their client populations with treatment and support on a variety of mental, emotional, and behavioral health concerns in individual, group, family, and couples counseling. Through client-centered rather than illness-influenced approaches, mental health counselors engage in assessment, treatment planning, psychoeducational program offerings, and crisis management.

Licensure Or Certification

Licensure for mental health counseling varies state-to-state. But, often requires meeting the postgraduate clinical supervision hours, a nationally recognized counselor exam, and continuing education for renewal.

Military Counseling →

Role

Professional counselors, who are on active duty and service the U.S. military personnel and their families, provide mental health services to address military lifestyle challenges, mental illness, adjustment related concerns, marital problems, and stress management, to name a few.

Licensure Or Certification

Counselors who provide services to the military population are licensed through their state of designation or practice. Some counselor education programs offer degrees or certification on military related concerns. This is to help professional counselors best serve and advocate for this population. States like North Carolina offer an additional certification for clinical military counseling.

Rehabilitation Counselor →

Role

Sometimes confused with substance abuse rehabilitation, professional counselors who are designated in rehabilitation address concerns that individuals with physical, mental, development, and/or emotional disabilities face in their life and work. Rehabilitation counselors work to address environmental barriers for individuals with disabilities to lead a successful and fulfilling life.

Licensure Or Certification

Some counselor education programs offer rehabilitation counseling as a graduate degree. After successful licensure as a professional rehabilitation counselor, certification can be earned through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) to illustrate the dedication to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Substance Abuse/Addiction Counselor →

Role

Counselors addressing substance abuse and addiction behaviors build trusting relationships with their clients facing challenges with drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviors to assess their needs in intervention, aversion therapy, stress management, solution-focused brief therapy, and social skills training.

Licensure Or Certification

State-by-state requirements on substance abuse counselor licensure and certification varies. Some states require peer counselors to address the need of their population faced with these challenges. While others require completion of a master’s degree program. More information can be found through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Scope of Practice & Career Ladder for Substance Use Disorder Counselors.

The field of professional counseling is expansive. With specialty certifications for various presenting concerns or populations, individuals pursuing a career in this helping profession may find that their skills are far-reaching. These different careers may be just the beginning or a career change for some. Above all, it is important for counselors-in-training, new professionals, and seasoned counselors to continue to advocate for the profession, their clients, and mental health.

 

Syrenna Kononovitch is a certified school counselor in New Jersey and the editor of OnlineCounselingPrograms.com – offering individuals interested in the field of counseling, supportive resources on counselor education, career pathways, and mental health advocacy.

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