The job of a counselor has unselfish connotations to it. They help people who experience challenges in their lives. The challenge could be their struggle with substance abuse, relationship issues and upheavals, marital problems, and emotional and mental health issues.
However, the actual job of the counselor depends on the needs of the patients. Regardless of the job type, you need skills and education to perform your job effectively. To become a counselor, you need a master’s degree in counseling to work as a skilled family or marriage therapist or a substance abuse counselor.
You can work in school, colleges, and universities and as an independent career counselor and social service manager. The demand for counselors increases with more acceptance of mental health issues. The criminal justice systems, government departments, and even medical professionals recognize the need to treat the patients’ mental health and provide all-inclusive care.
People now view counseling as an important treatment method. There is an increasing demand for counselors. But when you consider a career in counseling, you must consider what type of care you want to provide to your clients and the clientele you want to help.
There are many ways to start your career as a counselor. You could get an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in counseling to kick start your career. A master’s degree introduces you to various specializations available only in this degree program. Here is all you must know about the master’s in counseling program.
Online and On-campus programs
As an aspiring counselor, you have the option to enroll in an online master’s counseling or an on-campus degree. If you are already working, an on-campus program can be a hindrance. You might need to stop working too. An online program is also preferred when you have a family to manage with work.
You might not be able to take physical classes alongside work and kids. On the contrary, if you are ready to dedicate your time to on-campus classes, need social interaction, and want to engage in face-to-face discussions with professors, you could opt for an on-campus program.
Learning during master’s degree program
The next thing is to know what you will learn during your degree program. You will learn about advanced counseling practices and theories guiding the counseling principle. Over time, you will have theoretical knowledge and practical experience of working in the field.
The courses and practical aspects of the degree intend to develop analytical skills, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. Effective communication is also necessary to convey your message and interpret meanings. Your communication skills can coax your patients to confide in you and discuss their issues.
In most masters in counseling programs, you need to show 600-700 hours of practical work by a clinical internship in an organization.
You cannot earn a state license without having these clinical hours on your resume. You can choose one of the many programs, but some core concepts, such as group counseling theory, treatment assessment, diagnosis, orientation, ethics, etc., remain the same.
Specialization in a master’s in counseling
Concentrations, commonly known as specializations, play an important role in developing your profession and defining your career trajectory. Your concentration decides where you will work, what clients you will treat, and what kind of support you will offer. Here are some of the concentrations open to you with a master’s level degree.
In this specialization, you will study the academic, social, and developmental challenges that students from Kindergarten to 12th standards face.
You will learn to manage and understand sensitive issues such as academic and social bullying, low self-esteem, learning difficulties, and inabilities. Your thorough understanding of the sensitivities involved in these issues can help develop these kids into better citizens.
You will learn to help students with disabilities to live independently and live a better social and academic life. People with disabilities often have low self-esteem and an inability to identify their potential. Your special focus can be on students with autism, veterans, the elderly, etc.
Marriage and Family Therapy
As the specialization title entails, the focus of this concentration is to prepare the individuals to understand the interplay of family relationships. You will be skilled in understanding the problem and helping your clients resolves their often intimate issues. As a student, you will explore intervention strategies, domestic violence, and issues with blended families.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
In this specialization, you will learn to help your clients cope with mental and emotional challenges. You will explore crisis intervention, contemporary issues, and advocacy. You might be dealing with clients who have been through addiction and had their lives severely impacted.
You will help your clients manage stress and the challenges they face when on the road to recovery. Your goal is to build your clients’ self-esteem and restore their relationships and careers.
The need for counselors increases as their job becomes more relevant across the fields. The demand for therapy and counseling continues to increase in healthcare, social work institutions, schools, colleges, and rehabilitation centers. As their efforts become more mainstream, more job opportunities are available for graduates with a Master’s in counseling. Therefore, it is the best time to develop your career in this field.