Counselors can work in various work settings to provide help to people with various problems. Their functions and responsibilities may vary depending on their specialization and training. To become a counselor, you can inquire directly from various schools and colleges or you can also research online to determine the right pathway to take to become a counselor. Aside from learning the career path on how to be a counselor, you should also know the traits and characteristics suitable for aspiring counselors. You should know yourself first and think if you are really suitable for the job you want to take. Here are some of the traits you need to have to be a good counselor.
Qualities and Personal Characteristics to Become a Counselor
- Aspiring counselors should be caring and compassionate. You should have the desire to help people with their problems. You should be a good listener and should understand people’s difficulties and problems without prejudicing them.
- Emotionally stable. Since it will be your responsibility to help people with various problems, you should also be emotionally stable in order for you to properly handle the pressure of your job.
- You should also be open-minded and patient when it comes to handling patients. Some patients will be quite difficult to talk to and interact. You should be able to handle various situations no matter how difficult it is for the sake and welfare of your patient.
Licensed Professional Counselor: Education Requirements and Career Path
Since a counselor deals with health and medical problems, a master’s degree is required on how to become a licensed counselor, whatever field or specialization you choose. If you have decided to be a counselor, the next decision you should make is to choose what specific counseling career you will take. There are different kinds of specializations in the field of counseling. Examples are school counselors, mental health counselors, substance abuse counselors, marriage counselors.
How to Become a School Counselor?
School counselors can work in elementary schools or high schools depending on their specialization. Elementary counselors usually work with the school administrators and teachers in developing various educations programs suitable for children. High school counselors guide students in terms of deciding the right career path to take. They also help students with personal and social problems.
Finishing a bachelor’s degree program is required in order to proceed to a master’s degree program. There are no specific degree programs for counseling profession in college but you should take the degree connected to your target profession like psychology. After finishing your undergraduate degree, the next step on how to become a certified counselor is to earn a master’s degree in school and educational counseling. Licensing is also needed but the license requirement may vary from country to country, or state to state. Learn the license requirements for school counselors in your place and comply with the law so you can practice your profession.
How to Become a Marriage Counselor?
Another popular counseling career is marriage counseling. Just like the requirements for school counselors, people who to become a marriage counselor should also finish an undergraduate degree that can be approved for a master’s degree in counseling. To proceed to a master’s degree, you should take standard courses like statistics, general psychology and research methods. After the undergraduate degree, you should obtain a master’s or doctorate degree like the DMFT or Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy degree program to become a certified marriage counselor.
How to Become a Mental Health Counselor?
Mental health counselors are also one of the most popular counseling careers today. These professionals help individuals with their emotional and mental problems, as well promote better mental health. They can address various mental and emotional issues like anxiety, depression, stress, grief, addiction and suicidal impulses. To become a certified mental health counselor, one must obtain formal education and trainings like a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. Examples are Master of Science in Counseling and a P.D in Mental health Counseling.
Obtaining higher educational attainment would be great if you want to obtain better job opportunities. After finishing the necessary education requirements and trainings, you should also pass the licensing exam required in your country or state for you to legally practice your career as a mental health counselor.
How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor?
One of the common problems people face is addition to toxic substances like alcohol and drugs. To overcome this problem, you need a good substance abuse counselor. To become a certified counselor specializing in substance abuse, you need to obtain an undergraduate degree within four years and proceed to higher education like a master’s degree or doctorate degree.
After completing your higher education requirements, you should then complete some practical training and internships supervised by a professional counselor. The practical training programs usually takes 460 hours or more depending on the requirements imposed on your state. Once you finish your trainings, get some certifications or pass the licensure exam require by the regulating board in your country so you can practice as a private substance abuse counselor or you can also work in various mental health institutions and companies.
Knowing the career paths for your chosen specialization are important in order for you to devise a career and study plan to achieve your career goals. Aside from the mentioned counseling jobs, other popular counseling careers in demand today are career counselors, family counselors, and rehabilitation counselors.