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A counselor is a professional responsible for providing assistance, such as methodical treatments, to clients in order to help them understand and overcome their mental, behavioural, and emotional issues. Getting to know and building business relationships with their clients are but a part of their duties; they must also assess patients through sessions of conversations and observation, diagnose the mental and emotional disorders, and create effective and personalized plans for patients to follow in order to deal with their afflictions. Working closely with patients is a critical part of this process as is answering their questions and explaining coping mechanisms.

Summary. We reviewed real candidate profiles to learn the best path to become a counselor. We'll guide you through the education, experiences, and skills hiring managers look for in a counselor.

  • Most companies require a counselor to have a bachelor's degree degree in a related field, such as psychology or social work.

  • Common job titles before becoming a counselor include internship, cashier, and volunteer.

  • Hiring managers expect a counselor to have soft skills such as analytical skills, compassion, and listening skills.

  • Once you have all the required skills and experience, it doesn't take any job training to become a counselor.

  • Getting a certification as a Pastoral Counseling Certification will help you to earn more as a counselor.

How to become a Counselor in 4 steps:

  • Step 1: Explore counselor education
  • Step 2: Develop counselor skills
  • Step 3: Research counselor duties
  • Step 4: Prepare your resume
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Key Steps To Become a Counselor

  1. Explore Counselor Education

    If you're interested in becoming a counselor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 58.6% of counselors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 17.7% of counselors have master's degrees. Even though most counselors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

    Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a counselor. When we researched the most common majors for a counselor, we found that they most commonly have psychology, social work and business.

    Counselor Degrees


    58.6 %


    17.7 %


    11.3 %

    Counselor MajorPercentages
    Social Work9.50%
    Criminal Justice8.30%
    Other Degrees48.30%

  2. Develop Counselor Skills

    It'll be a good idea to develop counselor skills before applying for a job. Here are some skills commonly requested in counselor job descriptions:

  3. Research Counselor Duties

    When you decide to become a counselor, It's important to know what duties and responsibilities are required for this position. Some common responsibilities are a part of most counselor jobs. Here is a list of the main duties that define the role:

    • Maintain a safe program through ongoing CPI training.
    • Utilize de-escalation skills (CPI) when necessary.
    • Instill confidence, improve all components of writing and reading, and study strategies.
    • Arrange ESL tutoring and perform as liaison between students, parents, and school administrators.
    • Advise students into their major field of study, and assisting them with choosing the correct curriculum.
    • Operate a full service litigation office that evolve from general litigation to criminal litigation to federal criminal trials.

  4. Prepare Your Resume

    Finally, when you already have checked the skills and responsibilities for this role, you can start creating your resume. Everything that goes into creating a perfect resume can take hours, days, or even weeks. No worries, we created a resume builder to make this process as easy as possible with tips and examples of skills, responsibilities, and a summary.

    Choose From 10+ Customizable Counselor Resume templates

    Build a professional Counselor resume in minutes. Browse through our resume examples to identify the best way to word your resume. Then choose from 10+ resume templates to create your Counselor resume.

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  5. Apply For a Counselor Job

    With your ready resume, it's time to start searching for a new job. Consider the tips below for a successful job search:

    1. Browse job boards for relevant postings
    2. Consult your professional network
    3. Reach out to companies you're interested in working for directly
    4. Watch out for job scams

    Counselor Jobs

  6. How To Become a Counselor
    How To Become a Counselor Career Overview

Becoming a Counselor FAQs

Can A School Counselor Become An Lpc?

Yes, a school counselor can become an LPC. To become an LPC, a school counselor must complete the requirements for licensure by their state board, which typically includes additional coursework and clinical hours beyond the educational requirements for school counselor licensing.

How To Become A Counselor Without A Degree

To become a counselor without a degree, follow these steps:

  • Figure out which type of counseling that doesn't require a degree you want to pursue; these include peer counselors, life skills counselors, and drug and alcohol counselors

  • Do some research on available certification options; these can be obtained through universities or professional institutions

  • Determine which certification program fits your needs

  • Think about working or volunteering in a related position during your certification program

  • After completing your certification, apply to entry-level counseling positions in your field

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