Counselor as expert - Sometimes people in counseling jobs serve as expert guides or advisors, helping people navigate difficult situations in their lives. You may seek financial counseling, for example, if you have a problem with debt management. Perhaps you want career counseling to decide which career path you should pursue. You may set up an appointment for spiritual counseling with a minister at your church.
If one of these counseling jobs is appealing, then you need to be knowledgeable in that specific field. Financial counselors, for example, need to know a good deal about personal finance and money management before being qualified to advise others with their money. These counselors use their knowledge to advise others how to manage a specific situation.
Licensed counselors - When someone says "I'm going into counseling," they usually mean they will be receiving advice from a licensed counselor. These types of counseling jobs often require a bachelor's degree in addition to a post-bachelor's graduate degree (MA or PhD) from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In addition to this education, most states require certification, resulting in titles such as Certified Mental Health Counselor (CMHC), Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (NACCMHC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).
Licensed counselors do not necessarily give specific advice: they try to guide a patient through a particular life situation by teaching coping skills and ways to change behavior.
Trends in licensed counseling - Counseling jobs have changed quite a bit over the past few decades. The aging of the baby boomer generation, coupled with a growing awareness about mental health, have increased demand for quality counselors. Today, a growing number of counselors have master's degrees, and some health insurance plans include counseling services. These changes have led counselors to operate more like a medical practice than ever before.
Last Updated: 04/27/2014