Career Paths & Specialties With a Masters in Counseling

One of the most fulfilling careers you can have is in counseling. You have the opportunity to help others as they attempt to put the pieces back together. When you have a masters in counseling, you can guide others as they try to reach their own personal goals.

When you have a masters in counseling, you have a variety of options available to you. You can follow different career paths, choosing a specialty that best appeals to your abilities, and your desire to help others. Below are some of your options for careers with a masters in counseling degree:

Rehabilitation Counselor

A rehabilitation counselor works with those who need help establishing their own independence. You can help those who have difficulties socially, vocationally and personally to learn to acquire the skills that allow them to live more independently. This career path can include helping to provide skills training for a job, or for daily needs, such as balancing a checkbook. You can also help individuals learn how to interact socially with others. A rehabilitation counselor helps those with difficulties from birth, or from accident or illness. You might even help with physical rehabilitation, working with a physical therapist as a team. The average salary for a rehabilitation counselor is right around $36,500 a year.

Clinical Therapist

A clinical therapist works in a clinical setting, helping to counsel those with a variety of problems. Clinical therapists may work with groups or with individuals. Your masters in counseling can come in especially handy in this setting, since you will be working to counsel clients and patients in a way that can help them work through personal issues. In many cases, psychological problems are dealt with in a clinical therapy setting. You may also work with those who have problems with depression. According to PayScale, clinical therapists can expect between $30,700 and $61,254 a year. In some cases it is possible to earn more, with the help of private practice clinics.

Mental Health Counselor

With a masters in counseling, you can specialize in mental health counseling. You will need to go through specialized training in order to be effective, however. It is important to learn about what you need to know in order to provide these special services. Mental health counselors can provide a number of services, according to the American Mental Health Counselors Association:

  • Diagnosis of mental health issues
  • Treatment planning
  • Psychotherapy
  • Crisis management
  • Psychoeducation programs

There are a number of ways that you can help clients and patients as a mental health counselor, and you can find employment in a variety of settings, from clinical to corporate to educational. reports that the average salary for a mental health counselor is $46,000 a year.

Chemical Dependency Counselor

If you want to help people battle chemical dependency, you can be certified as a chemical dependency counselor. You should understand, though, that this specific certification is often controlled by states. You can use your masters in counseling as a basis for your further certification, but you might need to go through additional training as a chemical dependency counselor.

Once you are properly certified, though, you will be able to counsel those with addictions to help them with their treatment. In some cases you will work with medical or clinical personnel, and you might also create a program that involves pharmacological therapy. The average salary for this job is right around $40,000, although some clinical positions might pay more.

School and Career Counselor

You can help those in schools prepare for the future as a school and career counselor. School and career counselors mainly provide guidance for teens as they choose their academic studies and consider career paths. School counselors often get to know students so that they can provide helpful hints for the future. Your masters in counseling degree can help provide you with a foundation for helping students. You are likely to need extra certification, depending on the state that you work on.

Elementary school counselors may need to be certified and knowledgeable in childhood development, as well as having a masters in counseling. Elementary school counselors often help children with social and developmental issues, as well as mediate problems and help correct disruptive behavior.

School counselors often do more than direct career opportunities and watch the academic progress of students. Often, school counselors are required to be involved in other aspects of school life. Sometimes, school counselors are used in mediations between students, and they may be required to provide some drug programs. Many school counselors are involved in various education efforts about issues that might affect students. Those school counselors working in elementary school and secondary school settings an expect to earn about $51,000 a year, according to the Department of Labor.

Marriage and Family Counselor

If you are interested in helping couples and families understand each other, you can do so as a marriage and family counselor. Family therapy is a way for some who are having difficulties to reconnect. Marriage counseling is meant to help couples learn more about each other, and learn how to understand each other better, and get along.

Family counseling can also help when children are having trouble, or when substance abuse is involved. Sometimes it helps to have a counselor who can help other family members understand troubles that are not theirs. The point of such counseling is to help people understand each other, and to help them resolve their differences. It can help to have additional training on top of your masters in counseling degree.

You might also need to be able to refer your clients to other resources in some cases. The median annual salary for marriage and family counselors is $45,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Choosing a Career Path

With your masters in counseling degree, you can decide on a career path that appeals to you. Consider your interests, and the ways you can help others. You can get continuing education, and the certifications you need beyond your masters in counseling, to achieve your dreams — and help others.

Guide to Online Masters in Counseling Programs

Walden University MS in Human and Social Services - Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention MS in Human and Social Services - Family Studies and Interventions MS in Human and Social Services Walden University – Walden has long been a leader in online masters in counseling programs. They offer a degree for those that want to pursue crisis counseling as well as a family counseling degree and finally a degree designed for those who want to become mental health counselors. Finally, for those that already have a master of counseling degree, Walden offers two PHD level counseling degrees; one generally in counseling and another in counseling psychology
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Liberty University MA in Counseling - Crisis Response and Trauma MA in Counseling - Criminal Justice MA in Counseling - Executive Leadership MA in Counseling - Life Coaching Liberty University – One of the nations leading Christian evangelical colleges, Liberty offers a number of online masters in counseling degrees, such as programs for those that want to become a professional counselors, become school counselors, or become certified to be marriage and family counselors. These courses are designed to be completed with in two years and most require a bachelor degree.
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University of the Rockies MA in Counseling MA in Career Counseling MA in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling MA in Addiction Counseling University of the Rockies – In response to growing interest in online education, University of the Rockies has made an accredited online program available for its Masters in Career Counseling degree. This degree takes a look at the behavioral patterns and psychological aspects behind decision making and job seeking, using curriculum designed to be relevant in today"s work environment.
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University of Southern California MSW - Families and Children MSW - Mental Health MS - Applied Psych: Consumer Psych MS - Applied Psych: Organizational Psych University of Southern California – The University of Southern California now offers fully accredited online master degrees which focus on a variety of subject relevant to counseling like social work, consumer psychology, and mental health. Students in these fully online programs can complete the 60-credit degree in less time than it would require at a traditional campus school. Graduates will obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue lucrative careers in psychology.
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Chicago School of Professional Psychology MA in Counseling Psychology MS in Alcohol/Drug Counseling MS in Clinical Counseling Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Students looking for fast-paced curriculum and industry-driven education should consider Chicago School of Professional Psychology's accredited, online program for Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Student will be able to apply their skill and knowledge to real-world situations upon graduation. Students will stidy a variety of counseling skills like prevention, early intervention, assessment, and advocacy.
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Purdue University MS in Human Services MS in Human Services - Family and Community Services MS in Human Services - Organizational and Social Services MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Purdue University – Purdue University is a nation-wide leader in accredited online education. Students gain knowledge and skills they need to fill high in demand positions. This places them in the center of lucrative careers and a field that is always seeking skilled individuals. Students can choose from a masters in Psychology, General Psychology, Addictions Psychology, and Behavioral Psychology.
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Grand Canyon University MS in Professional Counseling MS in Addiction Counseling MS in Professional Counseling - Marriage and Family Therapy MS in Professional Counseling - Trauma Grand Canyon University – Grand Canyon University is an accredited college that is backed by years of experience in helping students pursue high level positions and in-demand careers. Programs can be completed on your own timeline, and better yet, they can be worked on at school, home, or even on the go. GCU offers two degrees, a Masters in Professional Counseling as well as a MS in Addiction Counseling.
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Northcentral University MA in Marriage & Family Therapy PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy Northcentral University – A rigorous masters in counseling degree that is now offered through accredited online courses. Northcentral’s program, which focuses on rehabilitation counseling, involves rigorous coursework and an internship in your local area which provides you with the hands on skills you need to succeed in a counseling career. This gives students a greater understanding and experience in dealing with real-world situations and human interaction.
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