|Requirements to Become...|
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What are the Requirements to Become a Counselor?
If you love people and seek to help them with their problems, counseling could be the career for you. Counselors are called upon to help clients manage a myriad of personal and social difficulties. There are many different specialties within the field, including college student affairs, elementary or secondary school counseling, gerontology counseling, marriage and family therapy, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, community counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and career counseling.
State, Specialty, and Workplace Variables
The requirements to become a counselor vary based on the specialty you choose, the state in which you want to practice, even your work setting. Prospective counselors should first check with state and local governments, employers, and national voluntary certification organizations to learn what qualifications are necessary. Almost all states require a master's degree in counseling and an accumulation of supervised clinical experience for licensure. Other states accept a bachelor's degree with relevant counseling courses. Some employers may provide training for newly hired counselors, or offer time-off or tuition assistance toward a graduate degree. And once you're licensed, counselors are often required to take graduate studies, and/or workshops to maintain their certificates and licenses.
If you are interested in a counseling career, you should also consider the interpersonal demands (and rewards) of the job. Being able to command the confidence and respect of your clients will serve you well. Stamina is another trait that comes into play--constantly dealing with other people's problems can cause stress and drain energy. Finally, counselors are held to a code of ethics associated with their respective certifications and licenses. You'll need to abide by these rules.
The following colleges offer programs that can help you become qualified for a career as a Counselor:
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