According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment growth rate for mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to expand and grow by eighteen percent by 2032, faster than average for all occupations.
This growth will result in an average of about 42,000 job openings each year out of the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or retire and exit the labor force.
Both of these statistics demonstrate that counseling careers are in high demand and worthwhile if you are passionate about helping and advising others in leading longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Let’s take a look at this career path and some of the high-paying jobs you can pursue with a Master’s in Counseling degree.
What is a Counselor?
A counselor, officially called a licensed professional counselor (LPC), works and administers mental health counseling and psychotherapy to clients in one-on-one or group therapy settings. Counselors treat a variety of issues and mental health disorders, including mental disorders, emotional disorders, behavioral problems, and addiction disorders.
Individuals can also be licensed as clinical mental health counselors who, like licensed professional counselors, are trained and licensed professionals who provide services and treatment to clients.
However, unlike licensed professional counselors who often focus on a variety of issues, clinical mental health counselors focus and specialize in diagnosing, treating, and helping individuals, groups, families, and even communities suffering from psychological distress and other mental issues.
How Do You Become a Counselor?
At minimum, candidates must earn a master’s degree in order to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC). Students often pursue their master’s degree after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology or a Bachelor’s in Human Services.
Candidates should ensure their graduate program and degree of choice meets the special accreditation and education requirements their state requires for counselors and Counseling degrees, as requirements vary by state.
Most students choose either a Master’s degree in Psychology or a Master’s degree in Counseling. Counseling students study the professional aspects and practical skills in working with patients on health communication, coping mechanisms, and interrupting trauma cycles, whereas Master’s in Psychology students will focus on the scientific approach to psychology through subjects like psychopathology, psychopharmacology, and psychoanalytic therapy.
In addition to earning a master’s degree, candidates must:
- Complete a number of hours of post-graduate supervised experience in professional counseling settings.
- Pass licensing exams administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
- Fulfill any other state requirements.
- Submit documentation to their state.
Once all this has been done, candidates are officially licensed and can pursue many high-paying jobs with their Master’s in Counseling degree.
UB’s Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers a trauma-informed curriculum designed to help you build your professional knowledge and support clients throughout your career. Learn more today!
Five High Paying Jobs with a Master’s of Science (MS) in Counseling Degree
Counselors and other mental health care professionals work in various settings, including inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, correctional facilities, hospitals, residential treatment centers, and private practices. Below are several examples of careers in counseling. Learn more about the Counseling MS program outcomes at UB.
1. Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists provide mental health care for couples and family units facing difficulties and challenges in their relationships or families.
This often includes facilitating discussions between clients and working towards problem resolutions or other therapeutic techniques to improve clients’ lives. Marriage and family therapists encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences, process their reactions to difficult life changes, and develop strategies and skills to change their behavior and cope with difficult situations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that marriage and family therapists earn a median annual salary of $56,570, with the highest ten percent earning more than $98,700.
Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and their environments.
Individuals in this career seek to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behavior through scientific studies, interviews, and surveys of individuals and groups, including in the workplace. Common types of psychologists include:
- Clinical psychologists
- Counseling psychologists
- Developmental psychologists
- Sports psychologists
- Developmental psychologists
- Forensic psychologists
- School psychologists
- Rehabilitation psychologists
Psychologists earn a median annual salary of $85,330, with the highest ten percent earning more than $141,910.
3. School Counselor
Earning a median annual salary of $60,140 and the highest ten earning more than $98,530 are school counselors.
Individuals in this role work in schools and colleges, helping students develop academic and social skills and plans during their education and after graduation. School counselors are the people students turn to in order to overcome social or behavioral challenges, develop skills that support their learning, and plan for their academic, career, and social goals.
Similarly, school counselors are trained to identify factors that can negatively affect academic performance, advise individuals on their needs, and teach students and school staff about bullying and drug use.
An employment growth rate of five percent, faster than the average of all occupations, makes this a worthwhile career for candidates graduating with their Master’s in Counseling degree.
4. Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors work with clients dealing with addictive behavior and help them incorporate methods to begin recovery for drug and alcohol addictions as well as eating disorders or behavioral issues.
These trained and licensed professionals teach clients to modify their behavior and address any underlying trauma or emotional issues through treatment plans, coping mechanisms, aftercare plans, and even meetings with family members to provide additional guidance and support.
Substance abuse counselors earn a median annual wage of $49,710, with the highest ten percent earning more than $82,710.
5. Crisis Counselor
Clients who experience extreme emotional turmoil or find themselves in states of emergency seek out the highly specialized care provided by crisis counselors.
Crisis counselors often help clients who have been recently traumatized or are experiencing long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After fulfilling all the educational and licensure requirements, candidates are ready to help their clients:
- Deal with intense emotions.
- Process disturbing experiences.
- Use therapeutic techniques and methods like cognitive-behavioral therapy, roleplay, and dialectical behavioral therapy to deal with challenging situations.
Crisis counselors find themselves working in suicide prevention, assisting domestic violence victims, and helping clients cope after experiencing weather disasters or acts of large-scale violence.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report on crisis counselors, they do fall under all other counselors who earn a median annual salary of $43,390, with the highest ten percent earning more than $75,340.
Are you ready to take the leap toward an exciting, rewarding, and in-demand career providing mental health care to others? If so, it’s time to pursue your Master’s in Counseling at the University of Bridgeport.
Our Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program and trauma-informed curriculum arms students with the knowledge and skills to provide meaningful and effective counseling services to diverse patient populations.
Contact us today for more information and take the next step toward high-paying jobs with a Master’s in Counseling!