How do I Become an Intake Counselor?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 February 2019
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Intake counselors are typically counselors who obtain initial information from prospective clients when they come to a psychiatrist's office, psychologist's office, or mental health facility. The work might entail giving a prospective client an intake form to fill out which asks for basic information such as name, address, and the reason the patient is seeking mental health treatment. Also, the work entails starting a file on the prospective client, determining which therapist a client will work with, keeping records, and doing referrals to other community agencies or services. If you hope to become an intake counselor, generally you will need at least a college degree and a post-graduate degree.

The typical path to become an intake counselor begins with getting a bachelor's degree. Most likely you would choose to major in counseling, psychology, or human development, as these subjects are most closely aligned with the type of information a counselor is expected to know. Also, getting good undergraduate grades is helpful if you want to become an intake counselor. A high grade point average (GPA) distinguishes you from the competition and communicates to prospective graduate programs you can handle the rigors of graduate training in counseling.


During the final year of the bachelor's degree, if you aspire to become an intake counselor, apply for graduate study in counseling. Decide whether you wish to apply for a Master of Science (MS) degree program in counseling or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in counseling. You will need to obtain official copies of your college academic transcripts and letters of recommendation from your professors which highlight your academic strengths. You will additionally need to fill out the applications for each school you are interested in, take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and have your scores sent to the schools you are applying to so they can be evaluated along with the rest of your application materials.

Once you are accepted to either a master's degree or doctoral program in counseling, you then take courses, do practicum and research, and meet any other program requirements. Then, once you get the graduate degree, you can become an intake counselor. Your job might entail being an intake counseling all the time, or it might involve doing therapy sessions with clients part of the time while doing intake counseling the other part of the time. Also, depending on the needs of your employer, you may also have to get certification in substance abuse counseling or some other area of counseling.



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