If you are considering a career in counseling, you should expect to take a range of courses in psychology, human development, counseling and psychotherapy theories, and patient diagnosis and assessment. In addition, students may opt to specialize their training in a specific area such as couples or family therapy or addictions counseling, depending on their individual interests.
Counseling programs may be offered at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, or graduate levels. However, most jobs in this field will require at least a master’s degree. In addition to core seminar and survey courses, students will also complete their own research and field work as well, to apply the theories and concepts they have learned in a real-world setting.
Counselors will work with clients and patients to help assess their mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns and plan options for treatments. They may conduct therapy sessions with individuals, families, couples, or groups. They will also help clients and patients set goals for their treatment.
Jobs may be available with mental health facilities, hospitals, community centers, schools, or in private practice, to name a few options. Some positions may also be available with substance abuse centers or non-profit organizations. In most cases you will need to be licensed in your state as a counselor, which will require a graduate degree, a certain number of hours of supervised clinical practice, and a passing score on a state-approved exam. For more specifics on what state regulating boards are responsible for licensure in your area, check with the National Board for Certified Counselors.