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How many years of college is needed to become a career counselor?

Brandon Scott

in Higher Education

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Caroline Campbell on February 1, 2019

Education and training requirements for counselors are often very detailed and vary from state to state and specialty. Prospective counselors should check with State and local governments, employers, and national voluntary certification organizations to determine which requirements apply.. Education and training. The education requirements vary based on occupational specialty and State license and certification requirements. A master's degree is usually required to be licensed as a counselor. Some States require counselors in public employment to have a master's degree; others accept a bachelor's degree with appropriate counseling courses. The counselor education programs in colleges and universities often are found in departments of education or psychology. Fields of study include college student affairs, elementary or secondary school counseling, education, counselling, gerontology, marriage and family therapy, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, agency or community counseling, clinical mental health, counseling, career counseling, and related fields. The courses are often grouped into eight core areas: human growth and development, social and cultural diversity, relationships, group work, career development, assessment, research and program evaluation, and professional identity. In an accredited master's degree program, 48 to 60 semester hours of graduate study, including a period of supervised clinical experience in counseling is required.. Some employers provide training for newly hired counselors. Others may offer time off or tuition assistance to complete a graduate degree. Often, counselors must participate in graduate studies, workshops, and personal studies to maintain their certificates and licenses.. Licenses. Licensing requirements vary greatly by State, occupational specialty and work environment. Many States require school counselors to hold State school counseling certification and to have completed at least some graduate course work; most require the completion of a master's degree. Some States require that school counselors of the license, which generally requires continuing education credits. Some States require public school counselors to have both counseling and teaching certificates and to have had some experience in teaching.. For the counselors outside of schools, 49 States and the District of Columbia have some form of counselor licensing that governs the practice of counseling. The requirements typically include the completion of a master's degree in counseling, the accumulation of 2 years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience beyond the master's degree level, the passage of a State recognized exam, adherence to ethical codes and standards, and compliance with annual continuing education requirements. However, counselors working in certain settings or in a particular specialty may face different licensure requirements. For example, a career counselor working in private practice may need a license, but a counselor working for a college career center may not. In addition, the substance abuse and behavior disorder counselors are generally governed by a different State agency or board than other counselors. The criteria for their licensure vary greatly and in some cases these counselors may need only a high school diploma and certification. Those interested in entering the field of research State and specialty requirements to determine what qualifications they must have.. Other qualifications. Persons interested in counseling should have a strong desire to help others and you should be able to inspire respect, trust, and confidence. They must be able to work independently or as part of a team. Counselors must follow the code of ethics associated with their respective certifications and licenses.. Counselors must possess high physical and emotional energy to handle the array of problems they address. Dealing daily with these problems can cause stress.. and Certification of progress. Some counselors elect to be certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors, Inc., which grants a general practice credential of National Certified Counselor. To be certified, a counselor must possess a master's degree with a concentration in counseling from an accredited college or university in the region or of the university; have at least 2 years of supervisory field experience in a counseling setting (graduates from counselor education programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs are exempted); provide two professional endorsements, one of which must be from a recent supervisor; and you must have a passing score on the exam board. This certification is voluntary and distinct from State licensing. However, in some States, those who pass the national exam are exempt from taking a State certification exam. The board also offers certifications of specialty in the school, clinic of mental health and addiction counseling. These certifications of specialty require the approval of a supplemental examination. To maintain their certifications, counselors retake and pass the exam or complete 100 credit hours of continuing education every 5 years.. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification offers voluntary national certification for rehabilitation counselors. Many State and local governments and other employers require rehabilitation counselors to have this certification. To become certified, rehabilitation counselors usually must graduate from an accredited educational program, complete an internship, and pass a written examination. Certification requirements vary, however, according to an applicant's educational history. Work experience of, for example, is necessary for those with a counseling degree in a specialty other than rehabilitation. To maintain their certification, counselors must retake successfully the certification exam or complete 100 credit hours of continuing education every 5 years. Other counseling organizations also offer certification in particular counseling specialties. Usually, the certification is voluntary, but having certification may enhance job prospects.. the Prospects for advancement vary by counseling field. School counselors can become directors or supervisors of counseling, guidance, or pupil personnel services; or, usually with further graduate education, become counselor educators, counseling psychologists, or school administrators. (psychologists and education administrators are covered elsewhere in the Handbook .) Some counselors choose to work for a State department of education. Some marriage and family therapists, especially those with doctorates in family therapy, become supervisors, teachers, researchers or advanced clinical in the discipline. Counselors also may become supervisors or administrators in their agencies. Some counselors move into research, consulting or college teaching or go into private practice or group. Some may opt for a doctoral degree to improve their chances of promotion.. Of the source and more detailed information concerning your request, click on the related links section (u.s. Department of Labor) indicated below.


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