How to Become a Successful Counselor
Counsellors have a number of excellent work benefits, including enviable job stability and a bright future. They also have the opportunity to make a good living while doing work that benefits people and society as a whole.
It takes a lot of effort to become a counsellor, and not everyone has the necessary skills or personality traits. Before being given a license to practice, you will need to devote several years to your training and complete a master’s degree in therapy.
Here are some tips to help you become a better counsellor if you’re considering a career in therapy.
Know What You’Re Getting Yourself Into. | How to Become a Counselor
If you’re considering a career as a counsellor, you should be aware of the field’s demands and have a good idea of what you’ll be doing. The day-to-day duties can vary depending on the industry in which you specialize.
All counsellors, however, must communicate with clients, which necessitates good communication skills and an empathetic attitude. There are many benefits of being a counsellor, including a high level of job satisfaction and the opportunity to support people and make a positive impact through your work.
You must, however, have a reasonable understanding of the position and be aware of the job’s drawbacks.
- Long duration of preparation – Becoming a counsellor takes time and effort, and you will need to spend both time and money to obtain the necessary credentials. Counsellors must typically earn a four-year bachelor’s degree before pursuing a master’s degree in counselling.
A master’s degree in therapy takes about a year of full-time research. Counsellors must also complete a minimum amount of placement hours during their master’s degree in counselling to fulfil the requirements for licensure.
Earning the credentials to become a counsellor takes a substantial commitment in time and effort, so you must be dedicated to your profession and willing to put in the effort.
- Emotionally draining – While it is rewarding to assist others and provide support, it can also be emotionally draining. The majority of counsellors are confronted with stressful or upsetting situations.
When there have been allegations of abuse, for example, a family counsellor may be required to assess families and children.
- Clients who are demanding – A counsellor’s job is to support people and assist them in overcoming obstacles. Some people, on the other hand, maybe resistant to help and uncooperative.
Counsellors may encounter difficult or abusive clients, particularly if they work in fields such as family counselling or substance abuse.
As previously said, there are several advantages to being a counsellor, but you should be aware that there are several disadvantages as well. Consider these factors when determining whether or not a career in therapy is right for you.
Select the appropriate specialization. | How to Become a Counselor
When pursuing a master’s degree in therapy, counsellors may specialize in a variety of areas. Some of the most common therapy specializations, according to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), are addiction counselling, mental health counselling, marriage counselling, family counselling, and school counselling.
These industries have a wide range of positions, duties, and working conditions. Your earning capacity would be influenced by the therapy speciality you select. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counsellors make just over $57,000 a year, while recovery counsellors make about $35,000. (BLS).
Before beginning your master’s degree in psychology, it’s a good idea to have a general idea of what field you want to work in. You’ll be able to choose modules that teach you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field.
Completing work experience in different clinical settings is one of the best ways to determine which field you want to specialize in.
This will give you an understanding of the various therapy fields and assist you in determining which one will provide you with the most job satisfaction.
Most master’s programs in therapy require you to complete a certain number of hours of fieldwork. Make an effort to choose placements that are related to your areas of interest.
If you choose to be a school counsellor, for example, apply for internships in elementary schools, middle schools, and universities while pursuing your master’s degree in counselling.
It will assist you in determining whether or not being a school counsellor is the right choice for you, as well as determining which field of school therapy you want to pursue.
As previously mentioned, when pursuing a master’s degree in counselling, you will be able to complete counselling placements.
It is, however, advisable to begin accumulating experience as soon as possible. Placements have many advantages, and obtaining appropriate job experience can aid you in achieving your long-term career objectives.
Most significantly, job placements would provide you with hands-on experience in the counselling field, assuring you that a career in counselling is the best fit for you.
Having a lot of work experience would show your dedication to the industry and give you an advantage over your competitors.
It will help you get into a top therapy program and will improve the appeal of your resume to future employers.
In addition to these advantages, placements are a great way to meet new people in the counselling field and broaden the professional network.
When you finish your master’s degree in therapy, you will use these links to help you find work.
On career boards, you can look for counselling positions and internships, or you can contact organizations directly. Your college mentor or student career counsellor may be able to help you find relevant job experience.
Choose The Most Appropriate Counseling Program. | How to Become a Counselor
Since earning a counselling certificate is such a large undertaking, you must choose the best course. Counsellors usually complete a bachelor’s degree in counselling before enrolling in a master’s degree program in counselling.
You have the option of studying a different subject topic, but you will need to complete additional tests before applying for a counselling license. Take the time to look at various courses and find one that suits your needs.
Many students choose to take a typical lecture course on campus, but you can also get your counselling certification by distance learning. Classroom and distance learning have various pros and cons, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Advantages of Classroom Instruction | How to Become a Counselor
- Face-to-face contact with your professors and other students on a regular basis
- There’s a lower chance of learning being disrupted by broadband or network problems.
- More chances to socialize and meet new people
- Immediate assistance with learning activities is available.
The Disadvantages Of Classroom Learning | How to Become a Counselor
- You must work at the same time as your instructor as with the other students.
- Classroom courses usually have higher tuition fees. Travel and transportation expenses must also be included in the budget.
- When it comes to your study schedule, you will have less flexibility and will be required to attend classes at specific times.
Advantages of Distance Education | How to Become a Counselor
- Learn from anywhere, at any time, and schedule your studies around your other obligations. For students who are working or have families to care for, online courses such as a masters in therapy may be an excellent choice.
- You should work at your own speed and not be concerned about missing lessons.
- Use online networking tools to communicate with students from all over the world.
- In general, online courses are less expensive than classroom courses. For example, earning your master’s degree in counselling online could save you hundreds of dollars.
The Disadvantages of Distance Learning | How to Become a Counselor
- When studying from home, you’ll need to be highly self-motivated to remain on track. Effective distance learning necessitates meticulous planning and tenacity.
- Since there will be no face-to-face contact, making friends with your peers will be more difficult.
- There could be a pause in receiving tutoring or responses to questions.
Examine The Licensing Criteria.
After completing a master’s degree in psychology, you should be able to apply for a counselling license. Before they can practice therapy in a clinical environment, all graduates must receive a license.
Since each state sets its own licensure requirements, it’s best to double-check what’s expected when pursuing a master’s in counselling.
The majority of licensure boards, according to counselor-license.com, require “a master of counselling from an accredited institution, a fixed number of internship hours in a clinical environment, and a passing score on the National Counselor Examination (NCE).”
The NCE is a 200-question exam designed to assess your talents, knowledge, and experience gained while pursuing your master’s degree in counselling.
The exam is only offered twice a year, in April and October. If you fail the test, you will have two additional chances to retake it.
If you do not pass the exam on your third try, you will have to resubmit your application and pay a new application fee. On the NCE website, you can find helpful research guides and NCE practice questions.
Make a High-Quality Resume.
Counsellors are in luck because there is a high demand for skilled counselling practitioners right now, particularly those with a master’s or doctoral degree in counselling.
As a result, newly trained counsellors often find it easy to find work after completing their master’s degree and obtaining licensure.
However, there is always competition for the best jobs, so counselling students can try to get a leg up on the competition.
Take the time to create a professional resume that will appeal to prospective employers and assist you in landing your dream job.
Your resume should be thorough but succinct, and it should include all relevant details, such as your credentials, experience, and top accomplishments.
You should also try to show your enthusiasm for the industry by including specifics of any previous placements and internships, as well as voluntary work and references.
There are several free resume templates available online that you can use to help you write a winning resume. Your masters of counselling mentor will also provide advice about how to develop your resume and land interviews.
Find Professional Organizations to Join
Joining a licensed counselling organization is a fantastic way to improve your skills and network with those in your field.
You may also be able to have a direct effect on the counselling industry’s growth and future course. “Membership offers connections at the local, state, national, and even international level,” according to The Predictive Index.
Having these connections will assist you in finding work in the therapy sector. When pursuing your master’s degree in psychology, you might be able to find mentoring programs.
In addition to these advantages, several professional societies provide learning tools and opportunities for professional advancement. Counsellors should take charge of their education and strive to develop their programs by constantly updating their skills and knowledge.
The American Counseling Association (ACA), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), and the American Mental Health Counselors Association are some of the most well-known licensed counselling organizations to join (AMHCA).
Local organizations can be found by searching on Google or asking for suggestions from people in your professional network.
Obtaining the necessary skills and abilities to become a licensed counsellor is a lengthy process that will take at least five years of formal education.
Before being given a license to practice, you must also complete a master’s degree in therapy and accumulate ample placement hours.
Becoming a counsellor is difficult, but for those with the desire and ambition to succeed, it can lead to an emotionally satisfying and fulfilling career.
Use the tips above to direct you through your counselling education and help you become a better counsellor.