How to Become a Career Counselor

how to become a career counselor

What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree? Consider Career Counseling

Graduating from college can be more daunting than graduating from high school since you will now have to make important career choices that will impact your life as an adult. Finding the right fit for you is important.

Many people find the field of psychology interesting to them but you may be wondering, “what can I do with a psychology degree?” Fortunately, finding jobs with a psychology degree is easier than you might think. This degree gives you many choices as to which direction to take in your new career. One interesting job we will discuss is career counseling. As a career counselor, you would help others identify their education and career goals, a job many people find extremely satisfying and rewarding.

What Does a Career Counselor Do?

A career counselor works with high school or college students in a variety of areas. One of the main duties of a career counselor is to assist students with making a decision on a career path. Once their career path is discovered, you will then direct them towards the appropriate educational program that would benefit them the most in this career.

For instance, if a particular individual chooses to become a physical therapist, you will assist that student in choosing an appropriate undergraduate degree that would be most helpful when they attend school for their graduate degree in physical therapy. Interviews and aptitude tests will help you evaluate a student to identify their interest and individual abilities. You will also provide tools that help students learn how to be organized and establish good time management skills.

As a career counselor, you have the potential to be one of the most influential people in the lives of these students. It is so difficult for students to differentiate between a career they think may be fun and one that is truly a good fit for them. You would be able to help them solve those problems and find the very best program for them, therefore changing their lives for the better.

Many high school and college students are confused about what their major should be. Selecting the right education path right away will eliminate future headaches over transferring credits and completing the appropriate course work for their desired program of study. You will help create realistic goals to achieve in their education and may provide small group counseling sessions as are needed by the student body.

Where Does a Career Counselor Work?

Many career counselors are hired as part of a college or university staff to work with incoming freshman, transfer students, and established students who may need assistance. In a college atmosphere, you will be working with students and their parents to help them discover the right path for them and help them meet their educational goals.

Career counselors can also be employed by middle and high schools. A career counselor in a middle or high school is referred to as a school counselor. As a school counselor you will be assisting middle and high school students in creating a plan to complete the necessary high school prerequisites that will help them with their overall education goals. You will also help them decide what colleges to apply to in regards to their program of choice.

If they choose to enter the work force or military, school counselors will identify what area would be most suited to their needs. School counselors can assist students in writing college application essays, filling out applications and writing a referral letter for that particular student. School counselors will also help to develop strategies with teachers, administrators and parents to help all students succeed with their education goals. You will also be expected to conduct classes on various issues surrounding high school students such as drug and alcohol abuse, planning for college, bullying and other topics.

Some career counselors will also work in government career centers. If you work in a government career center, you would focus on job placement for individuals. Private practice counseling groups also employ career counselors. All types of school and career counselors are generally employed full time.

How Can I Become a Career Counselor?

Career counselors must possess a bachelor’s degree and have credentials. Career counselors who work in a private practice are usually licensed individuals. Most employers do prefer their career counselors to have a master’s degree in counseling with a focus in career development. This is due to the fact that these programs will better equip students to be able to accurately assess client’s skills and interests.

A master’s degree is not mandatory, so a degree in psychology will suffice for this type of job. A degree in psychology can be earned at a university or by pursuing a psychology degree online. Many online colleges and online psychology schools offer programs to earn an online psychology degree, which is ideal if you do not have time to attend a physical university full time.

Some states require counselors to hold a state-issued license before they can practice school counseling. Each state has specific licensing requirements.  Career counseling does not always require a license, so this is the perfect entry-level career for an individual with a degree in psychology. A person applying for a job in career counseling should possess good communication, listening skills, interpersonal skills and compassion for the individuals they work with.

Why Choose Career Counseling?

Career counseling is expected to grow as fast as the average for most careers. As student populations rise, there will be a greater need for counselors in schools. The average salary for a career counselor is around $53,000. Wages vary from about $32,000 to $85,000, dependent on education level, experience and what institution is employing the individual.  Some school counselors also have summers off when school is not in session. Career counseling is a great job to build a path towards other occupations such as psychologist, mental health therapist, or human resource management.

A job in career counseling is a great choice if you are wondering what to do with a psychology degree. It offers diversity with its various job duties and the individuals that you will assist. If you complete your psychology degree, you will be well equipped for this job.

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