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Become A Counselor

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Working As A Counselor

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $33,895

    Average Salary

What Does A Counselor Do

A Counselor helps people to explore feelings and emotions that are often related to past and present experiences. They work with individuals, groups, and communities to improve their mental health.

How To Become A Counselor

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Education

To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Training

Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Licenses

All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Counselor jobs

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Counselor Career Paths

Counselor
Program Director Clinical Director
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Assistant Director Office Manager
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Coordinator Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Social Worker Therapist
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Manager
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Case Manager Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Licensed Practical Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Hostess Home Health Aid Direct Support Professional
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinical Director
Outpatient Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Assistant Director
Owner/Director
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Sales Consultant Leasing Consultant
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Security Officer Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Office Manager Case Manager
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Project Manager Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Director
Unit Director
5 Yearsyrs
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Counselor Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    62.3%
  • Male

    35.4%
  • Unknown

    2.3%

Ethnicity

  • White

    80.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    10.8%
  • Asian

    6.8%
  • Unknown

    1.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    60.7%
  • French

    11.4%
  • Italian

    3.4%
  • German

    3.1%
  • Mandarin

    2.6%
  • Chinese

    2.5%
  • Portuguese

    2.4%
  • Arabic

    2.2%
  • Russian

    2.2%
  • Hebrew

    1.7%
  • Japanese

    1.5%
  • Hindi

    1.0%
  • Korean

    1.0%
  • Cantonese

    1.0%
  • Vietnamese

    0.7%
  • Polish

    0.7%
  • Tagalog

    0.6%
  • Greek

    0.6%
  • Swahili

    0.4%
  • Urdu

    0.4%
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Counselor

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Counselor Education

Counselor

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Real Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Counselor Phil Art Studio & Sci Toefl In Ny New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $95,313
Counselor B Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Sep 02, 2015 $65,900
Tourist Business Counselor America Asia Travel Center Inc. Monterey Park, CA Sep 28, 2013 $65,720
Business Counselor Wealth Ocean Inc. Irvine, CA Oct 01, 2013 $65,000
Counselor Sathya LLC Cedar Park, TX Jun 01, 2016 $62,800
Counselor Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY Jan 10, 2016 $61,466
Counselor Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY Oct 01, 2016 $61,466
Counselor Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $59,676
Animal Behavior Counselor The Pet Wellness Center, P.C. Plainview, NY Nov 01, 2013 $59,250
Counselor Safe Harbor Retreat LLC East Hampton, NY Jun 15, 2016 $58,436
Counselor Safe Harbor Retreat LLC East Hampton, NY Jun 22, 2016 $58,436
Business Counselor Wealth Ocean Inc. Irvine, CA Oct 01, 2013 $58,427
Business Counselor Pacific Asian Consortium In Employment Los Angeles, CA Jan 10, 2014 $44,000
Counselor State University of New York College at Plattsburg Plattsburgh, NY Aug 30, 2014 $43,907
Counselors, All Other Misericordia Home Chicago, IL Jul 01, 2014 $43,827
Counselor KEIO Academy of New York NY Jun 17, 2014 $43,700
Mfpa Counselor MFPA Inc. Atlanta, GA Sep 30, 2015 $43,250
Counselor Search To Involve Pilipino Americans Los Angeles, CA Mar 29, 2016 $43,000
Counselor Advocate (Chinese-Speaking) New York Asian Women's Center New York, NY Sep 11, 2013 $43,000
Rehab Counselor III (Direct Care Professional) The Devereux Foundation Holden, MA Oct 27, 2015 $37,918 -
$63,468
Counselor Lone Star Community Health Center, Inc. Conroe, TX Mar 02, 2015 $37,752 -
$61,000
Counselor First In Quality Care LLC Waldorf, MD Sep 04, 2015 $37,566
Counselor Search To Involve Pilipino Americans Los Angeles, CA Mar 29, 2013 $37,566
Counselor First In Quality Care LLC Waldorf, MD Sep 12, 2014 $37,566
Counselor Search To Involve Pilipino Americans Los Angeles, CA Jul 01, 2013 $37,440
Counselor Search To Involve Pilipino Americans Los Angeles, CA May 29, 2015 $37,440
Counselor Middle Georgia State College Warner Robins, GA May 09, 2013 $37,000

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Top Skills for A Counselor

IndividualTreatmentPlansCrisisInterventionEnsureSafetyCounselorsMentalHealthIssuesSubstanceAbuseIssuesChildIntakeAssessmentsSuperviseDailyActivitiesAlcoholLifeSkillsCustomerServiceAngerManagementDailyLivingSkillsRecreationalActivitiesSocialSkillsGroupTherapySessionsCommunityResourcesDomesticViolence

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Top Counselor Skills

  1. Individual Treatment Plans
  2. Crisis Intervention
  3. Ensure Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and implemented individual treatment plans.
  • Provide crisis intervention for residents.
  • Enforced rules and regulations of recreational facilities to maintain discipline and ensure safety.
  • Mentored new counselors encouraging them to get certification Skills Used Motivational interviewing Computer skills Addiction certification CBT Time management
  • Completed extensive course and training in mental health issues, reflective listening, and conflict resolution.

Top Counselor Employers

Counselor Videos

Social Services Counselor, Career Video from drkit.org

A Counselor provides Parenting Advice for Parents of High School Students from drkit.org

A Day in the Life of a School Counselor

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