Counselors work in diverse community settings designed to provide a variety of counseling, rehabilitation, and support services. Their duties vary greatly, depending on their specialty, which is determined by the setting in which they work and the population they serve. Although the specific setting may have an implied scope of practice, counselors frequently are challenged with children, adolescents, adults, or families that have multiple issues, such as mental health disorders and addiction, disability and employment needs, school problems or career counseling needs, and trauma. Counselors must recognize these issues in order to provide their clients with appropriate counseling and support.
There are many types of counselors:
Counseling Education and Training
- Educational, vocational, and school counselors
- Rehabilitation counselors
- Mental health counselors
- Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
- Marriage and family therapists
Education requirements vary with the occupational specialty and State licensure and certification requirements. A master's degree usually is required to be licensed or certified as a counselor. Counselor education programs in colleges and universities often are found in departments of education, psychology, or human services. Fields of study may include college student affairs, elementary or secondary school counseling, education, gerontological counseling, marriage and family therapy, substance abuse or addictions counseling, rehabilitation counseling, agency or community counseling, clinical mental health counseling, career counseling, and related fields. In an accredited master's degree program, 48 to 60 semester hours of graduate study, including a period of supervised clinical experience in counseling, typically are required.
Often, counselors must participate in graduate studies, workshops, and personal studies to maintain their certificates and licenses.
Licensure requirements differ greatly by State, occupational specialty, and work setting. Some States require school counselors to hold a State school counseling certification and to have completed at least some graduate coursework; most require the completion of a master's degree. Some States require school counselors to be licensed, which generally entails completing continuing education credits. Some States require public school counselors to have both counseling and teaching certificates and to have had some teaching experience.
| The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The nation's oldest graduate school focused exclusively on psychology and related behavioral sciences.
Named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2009 (for the third consecutive year) and the only school of professional psychology to receive this award with distinction.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Master of Arts
The online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at The Chicago School prepares students to provide high-quality mental health services to a diverse clientele in a variety of community settings. The program includes in-depth training in all aspects of the counseling profession, including ethics, research, program evaluation, and diagnosis, and provides students with skills specific to clinical mental health counseling such as prevention, early intervention, assessment and advocacy. Offered as an online degree, the program provides students with an innovative way to attain a licensure preparation master's degree.
This online master's program combines rigorous coursework with residencies and supervised clinical training that provide opportunities to put theory into practice in real-world settings. Graduates will be prepared to provide counseling services to individuals, families, couples and groups, and will have the skills to help clients work through a wide variety of issues including depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, stress, relationship difficulties and suicidal impulses.
The M.A. CMHC online program is based upon the standards developed by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program also incorporates the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master's level.
| University of Southern California
Master of Social Work
The USC School of Social Work offers a 35-credit advanced standing MSW program with both full-time (three semesters) and part-time (five semesters) options. Admission to the advanced standing program allows students to complete their MSW degree in less time than the traditional MSW program by waiving the first-year foundation course requirements. Students applying for this option must demonstrate their readiness to perform at the level of a second-year MSW student.
Students develop skills in the psychosocial assessment of commonly encountered mental health problems, design of appropriate intervention plans and delivery of preventive and rehabilitative mental health services. They learn to deal with issues relating to outreach, advocacy, program evaluation and organizational or governmental policies.
| Union Institute and University
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Master of Arts
The Master of Arts with a concentration in Counseling Psychology is designed to offer traditional courses and supervised internship experience required by state and national credentialing bodies. Offered as a hybrid program with on-ground and online courses, students meet coursework requirements for national certification by the NBCC and may be eligible to sit for the National Counselor's Exam while in their final term. Whether enrolling full-time or part-time, students must plan on attending three weekends per year at Union's Academic Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, within driving distance to areas of New England, the Northeast and to Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT.
| University of the Southwest
Mental Health Counseling
Master of Science in Education
USW's graduate program in Mental Health Counseling prepares candidates to become counselors as defined by the American Counseling Association's (ACA, 2014a) definition of professional counseling as “…a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” Candidates are prepared (ACA, 2014a) to “facilitate client growth and development in ways that foster the interest and welfare of clients and promote formation of healthy relationships.” Coursework will include learning and human growth and development, career development/life planning,group work, the helping relationship with children, adults and families, psychoeducational assessment, psychopathology, professional orientation and ethics, theoretical foundations, and research/program evaluation. USW's program in Mental Health Counseling also offers a variety of elective courses including but not limited to Play Therapy, Program Development and Management, Clinical Supervision, Counseling Traumatized Clients,Addictions Counseling, Human Sexuality, and Psychopharmacology. All programs include practicum and internship requirements wherein students complete hours in professional settings observing and working with licensed therapists and clients.
|Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Behavior Analyst
Brain Trauma Rehab Consultant
Business Intelligence Analyst
Director of Education
Performance Management Consultant