As far as career fields go, counseling is a rather broad one, with a great number of job opportunities. Counselors work in schools, hospitals, churches and community centers. They are often on hand in times of crisis to help the victims and survivors of natural disasters or people who are dealing with an unexpected death or other trauma. Counselors can be employed by either private organizations or government entities.
Most of the time, counseling career opportunities require specialized education, which means that prospective counselors usually must decide on the kind of work that they want to go into well in advance of seeking job placement. Counselors usually must have an undergraduate degree in social work or a related field, as well as a master’s degree in some more-nuanced type of practice. Master’s degree programs usually require students to engage in extensive research related to their field of interest.
Counseling career opportunities are not specific medical jobs, but many positions have similar licensing and certification requirements. In most places, counseling practices are regulated by local or national governments. Candidates usually must pass a test and prove their education to start nearly any counseling career opportunity.
School counselors — that is, counselors who work with students who are struggling in classes, are experiencing behavioral problems or otherwise are in need of some sort of intervention — are often the most highly regulated. Most of the time, school counseling career opportunities are highly specialized, with professionals focusing on one or two areas. Licensing authorities are stringent in part to assure that anyone who provides care to young children is both qualified and trustworthy.
Counselors who offer services to adults also specialize in certain areas, but their licensing typically is more generic. Just the same, most adult counselors select one of four tracks for counseling career opportunities: rehabilitation, mental health, substance abuse or marriage and family. Counselors in all of these disciplines can find work opportunities in a wide array of locations, including private offices, referral centers to churches and community centers. Many also work independently and, depending on the jurisdiction, are sometimes permitted to accept payment from the patients’ health insurance for their services.
There are counseling career opportunities basically anywhere people have a need to work through life issues or process major setbacks or changes. Caring individuals who have an interest in listening to others and helping others solve problems often find few limits in the world of counseling career opportunities. Professionals commonly find job security in counseling by being flexible with their offerings, pricing and locations, because their services are always in demand.