Careers in Counseling – Making a Difference in the Community
When considering mental health and psychological well-being, the frightening reality is that at least one in four people battle some type of condition. Whether this is anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, or any other type of mental health condition, hundreds and thousands of people live with these struggles every day.
For those who want to make a difference and want to address the growing issue of mental health, a career in counseling is becoming a more popular job every year. Moreover, given how easy it is to access counseling degrees, the number of trained professionals is rising.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in counseling, this is the guide for you. We will be taking a look at careers in counseling, why you should seek a career in counseling, what types of jobs exist, as well as how to access them. All of this will be framed with the primary format of online counseling degrees, being the dominant form of learning in a digital and post COVID-19 world.
Why pursue a career in counseling?
So, why pursue a career in counseling? Online counseling degrees are not a small commitment. There are various benefits, which span a broad selection of criteria for anybody looking to make a career change but let us take a look at the primary reasons why someone might consider a career in counseling. They might just convince you to take this career path too!
If you are looking for a career that allows you to make a difference and sustains you financially, counseling is a good option. Because there are so many different careers that can be obtained through counseling degrees, you have many choices. With salaries starting out at a minimum of $31,000 and rising well above $100,000, there is plenty of financial incentive for trained professionals. The actual figure you can earn as a trained counselor will be determined by geographical location, overall skill level, and the type of services you provide, but there is considerable earning potential.
Ultimately, a lot of people enter the world of counseling to help others. This is the primary reason they train, and what makes the online counseling degrees such a worthwhile investment is the reward that comes at the end. Many people take a lot of job satisfaction from being able to help others. Have you ever looked at a relative and seen that they have grappled with a mental health condition and wanted to do something for them?
Many people have, but the reality is that there is nothing you can do all too often because you are not a professional. This can often incentivize people into training so that no one else has to go without the proper support they wish they could’ve had themselves or a relative could have had.
Plenty of job opportunities
It is thought that one in four people battle a mental health condition. This number is growing every year. Ultimately, this means that the need for mental health professionals is rising. However, it is doing so at a disproportionate rate to the number of newly qualified counseling staff entering the industry. Not everybody has the time, commitment, or inclination to pursue online counseling degrees, which means that there are not as many people as are needed to tackle the mental health crisis faced by a lot of Western countries.
If you train as a counselor, then you will have plenty of job opportunities available. Because there is a growing need for these types of services, employment opportunities are opening up everywhere. There has never been a better time to get trained, get qualified, and then start providing vital help to people who need canceling.
Different careers in counseling
When it comes to pursuing a career in counseling, you do have quite a few options available. It is essential to take a look at what is on offer with online counseling degrees to get the best possible choice. Let us take a look at the different careers in counseling, what type of work you would be doing within them, and any other valuable facts you need to know.
The first type of job on offer is a clinical or counseling psychologist. These types of professionals are tasked with identifying and treating a wide variety of mental health conditions and dealing with injuries and traumatic events.
However, once you have your online counseling degree, you will need to complete a further study on either doctorate disciplines of Ph.D. or PsyD. These courses can take anywhere from 5 to 7 years to complete, and the average salary for a clinical psychologist is upwards of $70,000.
Marital and Family Therapists
Your typical family and marriage therapist specializes in helping people who have problems within their relationships. Online counseling degrees in this area will prepare you for dealing with challenges like broken families due to divorce, grief, and loss of a loved one, an unhealthy relationship between two people, a broken-down marriage, or a dysfunctional family.
A master’s degree in marital or family therapy is required, and a typical salary for a position of this caliber is around $50,000.
Clinical Social Worker
The job of the clinical social worker is to diagnose emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders in their patients and then to provide group or individual therapy to treat these disorders. To get to this position, one must have a master’s degree in social work. Reaching this position is available through online counseling degrees, but there will be more required than the standard qualification. However, the average salary for such a position is $63,000, so the financial incentives are worth the effort.
A psychiatric nurse is a registered nurse who works specifically in mental health and psychiatric work. Their counseling degrees enable them to deal with patients’ behavioral, mental, and emotional issues. Quite a few types of counseling degrees include psychiatric/mental health education courses, so it is possible to pick up the basics in a wide variety of different fields. The average salary for this position is $70,000.
A typical psychiatrist is a particular type of doctor. These physicians have gone to medical school for at least four years after earning a degree. Online counseling degrees will obviously benefit you, but there is no substitution for a four-year residency in psychiatry. You also have to have a medical license and certification to practice. Ultimately, the wage for a practicing psychiatrist can be upwards of $200,000, so it is worth doing if the money is what you are looking at.
How to become a counselor
Completing the training to become a counselor will require you to follow a four-stage process. Let us take a look at each of the steps together to make sure you understand what is expected of you.
1. The degree
The first thing that you need to do is earn a degree. This is where online counseling degrees can shine because they give you the resources required and qualifications while working at your own pace. Online counseling degrees are everywhere and provide you with a broad benchmark jump into a wide variety of different careers.
It is worth noting that you may need to take additional qualifications depending on your geographical location, and some courses and qualifications are tailored to a specific area. However, online counseling degrees are a good place to start.
2. The training
It is not just enough to get the degree, but you also need the training for any kind of counseling profession. It is important to make sure that you have trained adequately in all areas of counseling, especially within the field you wish to enter. There are many ways you can do this. There are quite a few online courses that can help, and online counseling degrees will definitely be a useful resource for you in this area.
It is important to remember that the exact type of training you will have to undertake will vary according to your profession, as in some cases, you will be expected to obtain a master’s degree or even a doctorate. Online counseling degrees are more of a start point for some roles.
3. The clinical work
When it comes to completing any kind of training to be a registered professional counselor, one must undertake at least 2000 hours minimum of clinical work under a supervised professional. So, it is not just a case of looking at online counseling degrees and then being able to get started right away.
This does present a handful of difficulties for some people, as they will require a work placement, and where possible, a living wage, but the result is that you need at least 2000 hours, with a recommended upwards of 3000 to 4000 hours for the maximum chance at successful qualifications.
This time spent working with individuals and groups who require counseling services will give you valuable practical experience and make sure that you are qualified for the role not just in terms of your skills but in the correct temperament and personality. Many find they simply do not have the necessary fortitude required to deal with such a career, so this is a good place to hone your craft and identify if this is the right choice for you.
4. The license
When you are qualified to be a counselor and put in the necessary contact hours by doing clinical work, you will need to apply for a license. In addition, you will need appropriate licensing to function as a fully trained counselor. Applying for one of these will often require filling out the necessary paperwork, occasionally completing a test, and an interview with a regulatory board.
The next steps
So, it is not difficult to see that applying to be a counselor can be a very tricky thing. This is a position that does require a lot of commitment. Considering that you are going to be working with the mental health of people who may be in precarious positions from a psychological and emotional standpoint, it makes complete sense that you would require considerable training.
As previously stated, there are many different reasons why somebody might consider entering the world of counseling. The first instinct is to help people, of course, but there are some who choose to do it for the financial benefits and some who simply do it for a combination of multiple factors.
Being the right kind of person to deal with counseling regularly is tricky. First, you have to have a certain type of temperament and innate patience because you will be encountering graphic, highly disturbing subject matter on occasion. You will have to be able to provide sound advice and assistance for anybody who needs it, and at the same time, be able to deal with the subject matter without experiencing long-term psychological impacts yourself.
With that being said, online counseling degrees are the best way to break into the industry nowadays. Given that everything is now digital, and we are seeing a rapid shift towards online training and e-learning, online counseling degrees provide you with the necessary resources that you need to get started but at the same time mean that you can train at your own pace. You do not have to commit to a school session; you do not have to try and juggle travel demands; you can instead focus on training whenever and wherever you are.
It is worth thinking long and hard about whether or not you actually want to be a trained counselor. This is not something you do simply on a whim; it requires years of commitment, a lot of discipline, and the right level of training. It is recommended that you examine every part of the training process from beginning to end to make sure that you are going to be happy with what you will be doing. However, with the right online counseling degrees and plenty of patience, this could be the perfect career for you.