If you have a strong desire to help others overcome the challenges of daily living, a career in counseling may be a good fit for you. However, if there’s a specific category of people you aspire to target, choosing a specialization would be the right thing to do.
Therapists and counselors help their clients in numerous ways, mainly by hearing and validating other peoples’ emotions and thoughts. Although it is possible to become a general counselor, assisting clients in a series of situations, facing all sorts of problems, many candidates aim to specialize. That said, if you’re entering the field of counseling, it’s wise to give some thought to which of the many specializations you would find most appealing.
When choosing a counseling specialty, you have to determine the class of people you wish to help and in what capacity. Continue reading to learn about the several kinds of counseling specialties and careers you can study and practice.
Marriage & Family Counseling
Graduates of marriage and family counseling receive professional training to work with couples, individuals, and families across various emotional and mental disorders, including communication or relationship issues. Moreover, these professionals are available in different settings, such as community mental health centers, inpatient facilities, social service agencies, and private practice offices.
Thanks to the new norm – online education – it is now easier than ever for a working professional to expand their knowledge while getting ahead in their career. So if you think you’d be better off helping families and couples tackle relationship challenges, a post-graduate degree in marriage and family counseling will help you reach that goal. On the other hand, if you reside in California and can’t seem to find a reputable source of guidance, fear not. That said, you can find various online MFT programs in California from accredited organizations with a simple Google search. With this degree, you’ll learn how to develop individualized treatment plans for patients while helping them turn their weaknesses into unbeatable powers.
School counselors function in private and public institutions and offer guidance to students struggling with their personal or interpersonal relations. In addition, their responsibilities can include helping students prepare for college, teach them how to empathize with others, and encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities.
For this profession, candidates will need to earn their master’s degree in school counseling. Additionally, your intended state of practice may also demand different credentials. Furthermore, in terms of salary, school counselors earn an annual income of $53,660.
Before you proceed to this specialization, know that this profession demands outstanding and practical skills, ensuring you are up for the task.
Addiction counseling programs train graduates to work with families and individuals affected by drug, alcohol, gambling, and other addictive disorders. These programs prioritize models of prevention, treatment, and relapse along with a decent addition of interventions.
Furthermore, graduates of addiction counseling specialties may choose to work in various community agencies or private practices offering counseling services for substance abuse.
College Counseling & Student Affairs
These programs prepare candidates to assume various roles in student affairs and higher education offices after graduation.
Such designations might include:
- Working at a university or college’s residential and housing life.
- Helping with management activities.
- Offering orientation sessions.
- Providing counseling.
- Conducting leadership activities.
- Multicultural support services.
Candidates must have a robust counseling knowledge base: philosophy of the profession, history, theory, assessment, and ethics. Other than that, candidates must learn about the values of higher education, its administrative structure, and organizational dynamics to help in student development issues.
Mental Health Counselor
Mental health counselors diagnose psychiatric and emotional disorders, and they guide their patients on how to live with such conditions.
A state license and master’s degree are necessities for becoming a mental health counselor. Other than that, clinical experience is also necessary, along with a passing grade on various examinations in your future state of practice.
These professionals typically function full-time at youth guidance organizations, rehabilitation centers, senior centers, and similar organizations. One of their primary roles is to help newly disabled individuals adjust to life with their frailties.
Rehabilitation counselors might also discover work helping mentally or physically disabled people handle their personal life, social life, or careers.
To be a rehabilitation counselor, you are supposed to earn a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, along with a license and certification. In terms of income, rehabilitation counselors earn an annual salary of $34,390. Moreover, this is a popular and fast-growing field of counseling with remarkable prospects for future growth.
This specialty may appear self-explanatory because these professionals guide individuals in choosing suitable careers or help prepare them for them. Candidates for this position can be found in universities, governmental organizations, career centers, and colleges. Some counselors operate in private sectors as well.
When it comes to the requirements, they vary in the state of practice and organization. Besides that, having a master’s degree is essential. Also, a remote career counseling practice may demand a state license.
Other Types of Counselors
It is not necessary to pick a specialty before you begin your career in counseling. However, most students step into the counseling field with a purpose in mind.
Don’t be surprised if, during your year of post-graduate work and two-year degree, you end up in an area you had not considered before. Keep an open mind, and until you genuinely figure out what type of counseling specialty you would like to pursue, select a counseling degree that offers various options.
In addition to the main options listed above, counselors can also help people using techniques in areas such as these:
- Art therapy
- Grief counseling
- Musical therapy
- Debt counseling
- Eating disorder therapy
- Child development counseling
So there you have it, a guide to all the specializations you can pursue in the field of counseling and become a blessing to others. While you’re at it, ensure to find the right counseling degree program from an accredited institute. Suppose you’ve determined that counseling is the best career for your life goals and skill set. In that case, it’s worth tailoring your academic schedule to synchronize with whichever of these counseling specializations appeals most to you. Also, keep in mind that folks don’t always need assistance. Sometimes all they really want is an ear to listen, a hand to hold, and a heart to understand them. Therefore, be the light at the end of the tunnel that helps individuals unleash their true selves.