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Counseling Schools

All counselors aim to help people work through challenges and make better decisions, but how they do this (and who they counsel) can vary tremendously. A school or career counselor's role is much different from that of a marriage and family therapist or mental health counselor -- and so is their training. This is precisely why counseling schools and degree programs so often allow students to specialize their educations, and why so many professional organizations offer certifications for those already in the field. The first step toward getting the right education for your career goals is knowing your options. Read on to learn more.

Counseling

Counseling specializations

Counselors can help people cope with personal difficulties, make better career choices and even excel in the classroom. With so much diversity in the field, specialized training is key. For students attending counseling trade schools, that usually means enrolling in a specialized degree program that suits their long-term career goals. In some cases, that means earning a different degree altogether (think: clinical mental health versus educational psychology). Some students may earn a more general degree in a field like counseling or psychology, but opt to specialize their training through coursework, minors and school-linked specializations. The following list of counseling specializations provides a snapshot for just how varied these specializations can be.

  • Mental health counseling. Mental health counselors treat individuals, families or groups dealing with a variety of issues, like anxiety, grief or depression. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports that students enrolled in these types of programs are trained to recognize and treat various mental and emotional disorders.
  • Marriage and family therapy. Marriage and family counselors tend to work with individuals, couples or families who want to improve their interpersonal relationships or overcome challenges in the family dynamic. According to the BLS, students enrolled in MFT programs study marriage, family life and other relationships that can impact one's mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • School counseling. School counselors help students overcome learning challenges, improve decision-making skills and make better school and (eventually) career choices. The BLS reports that school counselors typically specialize in working with elementary, middle and high school students, or college students specifically. Because the needs of each group vary, counseling schools often taylor programs accordingly.
  • Career counseling. Career counselors can work with individual clients, or in a college or organizational setting. They help students evaluate their skills, interests and career aptitudes so that they can find schools or jobs that speak to them. Some also counsel clients through the job-seeking process, helping them perfect their resume, interview and networking skills.
  • Substance abuse counseling. Substance abuse counselors help clients recognize and manage addiction, especially -- but not exclusively -- to drugs and alcohol.

Note that just as the duties and clientele of each of these professionals vary, so do their education and licensing requirements.

Counseling certifications and degrees

When evaluating programs at counseling trade schools, it pays to know what type of training employers prefer (or downright require) in your chosen field. Some counselors are required to invest in more training than others. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common counseling credentials available, and the professionals who earn them.

  • Postsecondary certificates. Postsecondary certificates are the most basic counseling credential available. They vary in breadth and length, but usually require less than two years of study. In many states, substance abuse counselors complete postsecondary certificates before entering the field.
  • Associate degrees. Associate degrees are a bit more thorough than postsecondary certificates, usually requiring at least two years of study. As with postsecondary certificates, associate degrees are a popular option for substance abuse counselors who do not intend to work in private practice.
  • Bachelor's degrees. Students attending counseling schools usually use bachelor's degrees as stepping stones to more advanced programs. The BLS reports that mental health, school and marriage and family counselors must each earn master's degrees before they can enter the field. Many master's level programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field for admission.
  • Master's degrees. As noted above, master's degrees are an entry-level requirement for many counselors, including mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and school and career counselors. The BLS notes that most states also require substance abuse counselors to earn master's degrees if they hope to work in private practice.
  • Doctoral degrees. Few counselors are required to earn doctoral degrees, but they are a must for those who want to segue into related fields, like clinical psychology or psychiatry. Counselors who want to teach, particularly at the graduate level, are also often required to earn doctoral degrees.

A note about professional certifications and licenses

Those who graduate from counseling vocational schools may choose to pursue additional professional certification, often through a professional organization, to further specialize and certify their training. States may also require certification or licensure, depending on the field. The BLS reports that mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists and public school counselors are required to be licensed to practice, as are substance abuse counselors who intend to work in private practice. The BLS notes that employers also increasingly prefer to hire licensed career counselors, though it is not usually a requirement of employment. Note that certification and licensure requirements vary tremendously, but usually entail meeting minimum education requirements, completing a certain number of clinical hours in the field and passing a state-recognized exam.

Counselor Salary and Career Outlook

Students attending counseling trade schools often want to know how much they can expect to earn -- and how quickly they can get a job -- upon graduation. This is tricky to answer since so many factors influence earnings and career outlook. There are some general trends, however. The following list of counseling careers along with their BLS-reported national median 2013 salaries may help provide perspective. Note that earnings tend to vary with location, education and experience.

  • Mental health counselors: $43,700
  • Marriage and family therapists: $51,690
  • School and vocational counselors: $56,160
  • Substance abuse counselors: $41,090

The BLS projects that demand for both marriage and family therapists and substance abuse counselors will grow by 31 percent between 2012 and 2022 -- much faster than the national average -- while demand for mental health counselors is expected to grow by 29 percent. Demand for school and career counselors is expected to grow by 12 percent during the same period, which is about as fast as average. Of course, a number of factors can influence how easily you actually land a job, not the least of which is geography. For instance, Projections Central projects that demand for marriage and family therapists will grow the fastest in Utah, Florida and Mississippi between 2010 and 2020; demand for substance abuse counselors, meanwhile, will grow the fastest in Georgia, Utah and New Hampshire. It pays to research and know your local market before settling on a degree program.

CareerAnnual Median WageProjected Employment ChangeProjected 2012-2022 Growth
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers325902,40013.6
Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants2090019,80018.1
Automotive Body and Related Repairers4032020,40013.3
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics3712060,4008.6
*This data is sourced from the 2013 BLS employment report (BLS.gov)

Education and experience can also impact career outlook. Generally speaking, the more you have of either, the better off you may be. That means counselors who invest in voluntary certifications or degrees that exceed baseline requirements may find a job faster than their lesser-trained career competition, and could advance through the ranks more quickly once hired. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however, so it pays to do your research. We recommend contacting prospective schools to learn more about specific programs. In many cases, schools can even provide career placement statistics and average beginning salaries for their graduates. The BLS and professional organizations can help, too.

Sources:

Mental Health counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm

School and Career Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Projections Central, State Occupational Projections, Long Term Occupational Projections, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: United States, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm

Counseling Schools
 
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Campus & Online

At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.

Programs : MS in Counseling/Mental Health Counseling, MS in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.S. in Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and more.

Campus Locations :

Salt Lake City: 5373 S Green Street Suite 300 Salt Lake City, UT 84123

Henderson: 7777 Eastgate Road Henderson, NV 89011

Westminster: 8700 Turnpike Drive Westminster, CO 80030

Tucson: 300 South Craycroft Road Tucson, AZ 85711

Santa Teresa: 1270 Country Club Road Santa Teresa, NM 88008

Lone Tree: 10004 Park Meadows Drive Lone Tree, CO 80124

Phoenix: 4635 E. Elwood Street Phoenix, AZ 85040

Colorado Springs: 2 North Cascade Avenue Suite 100 Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Clearfield: 1366 Legend Hills Drive Clearfield, UT 84015

Southfield: 26261 Evergreen Road Southfield, MI 48076

Albuquerque: 7471 Pan American West Freeway NE Albuquerque, NM 87109

Palm Desert: 75153 Merle Dr. Palm Desert, CA 92211

Gardena: 1515 W. 190th Gardena, CA 90248

Bakersfield: 4900 California Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93309

San Jose: 3590 N. First St San Jose, CA 95134

Sacramento: 1760 Creekside Oaks Drive Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95833

Ontario: 3110 E. Guasti Road Ontario, CA 91761

Costa Mesa: 3100 Bristol Street Suite 500 Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Salida: 5330 Pirrone Road Salida, CA 95368

Murrieta: 25240 Hancock Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562

Los Angeles: 14320 Firestone Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038

Fresno: 45 East River Park Place West Suite 101 Fresno, CA 93720

Fairfield: 5253 Business Center Drive Fairfield, CA 94534

Pasadena: 299 N. Euclid Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101

Visalia: 301 East Acequia Ave Visalia, CA 93291

San Bernardino: 451 E. Vanderbilt Way Suite 100 San Bernardino, CA 92408

San Diego: 3870 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite 310 San Diego, CA 92123

Woodland Hills: 5955 DeSoto Ave Woodland Hills, CA 91367

San Marcos: 277 Rancheros Drive San Marcos, CA 92069

Lancaster: 1202 W. Avenue J Lancaster, CA 93534

Livermore: 2481 Constitution Drive Livermore, CA 94551

Oakland: 1200 Clay Street Oakland, CA 94612

El Centro: 3095 N. Imperial Avenue Suite 101 El Centro, CA 92243

Sandy Springs: 8200 Roberts Drive Suite 300 Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Atlanta: 2600 Century Center Atlanta, GA 30345

Arlington: 3900 Arlington Highlands Boulevard Suite 237 Arlington, TX 76018

Yuma: 899 East Plaza Circle Yuma, AZ 85365

Spring: 24624 Interstate 45 Spring, TX 77386

Springfield: 1343 East Kingsley Street Suite B,C Springfield, MO 65804

Dallas: 12400 Coit Road Suite 200 Dallas, TX 75251

Fort Lauderdale: 550 W. Cypress Creek Road Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Houston: 11451 Katy Freeway Suite 100 Houston, TX 77079

Flowood: 120 Stone Creek Blvd. Suite 200 Flowood, MS 39232

Pursue a certificate, master, or doctorate degree in Psychology at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology

Programs : M.A. Counseling Psychology, M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Psy.D. Marital and Family Therapy, and more.

Campus Locations :

Chicago: 325 N Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654

Washington: 901 15th St. Washington, DC 20005

Los Angeles: 617 W 7th St. Los Angeles, CA 90017

Irvine: 4199 Campus Dr Irvine, CA 92612

Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.  

Programs : B.S. in Human Services / Counseling, B.A. in Psychology, B.A. in Psychology - Human Development, Education and Health, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

Start your path to a degree with Cornerstone University.

Programs : Addictions Certificate, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and more.

Campus Locations :

Kalamazoo: West Point Office Park 1080 North 10th Street Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Does psychology interest you? See if Grand Canyon University could be a good fit for your journey in discovering the human mind!

Programs : M.S. in Christian Counseling, M.S. in Christian Counseling of Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders, M.S. in Professional Counseling, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

Earn Your Diploma from Home!

Programs : Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

As an accredited university with online degree programs in five schools, Capella University is committed to helping you accomplish your goals through a high-caliber educational experience.

Programs : MS - Clinical Counseling, PhD - Counselor Education and Supervision, MS - Mental Health Counseling (CACREP-accredited), and more.

Campus Locations : Online

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs : BS in Psychology - Substance Addictions, BS in Psychology, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

Pacific Oaks College has specialized in adult education for over 60 years. Immerse yourself in a vibrant, supportive community of students and faculty from wide-ranging backgrounds.

Programs : M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy, Trauma Studies, M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy, Latina/Latino Family Studies, M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy, African American Family Studies, and more.

Campus Locations :

Pasadena: 55 Eureka St. Pasadena, CA 91103

See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

Programs : Associate of Arts in Applied Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

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