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Is a Master’s in Counseling Worth It? 3 Rewarding Career Outcomes of a Master’s Degree in Counseling

Counselors are able to transform the lives of their clients, helping them develop the skills they need to navigate all of life’s ups and downs. With a counselor’s support, clients can learn to love and accept themselves and to heal past traumas. Truly, a career in counseling is unlike any other. If you’re drawn to helping people, pursuing a master’s degree in Counseling may be well worth your time. Earning a master’s in Counseling prepares graduates to pursue a rewarding and purposeful career. If you find yourself asking, “Is a master’s in Counseling worth it?”, you’ll be glad to know that this degree does not limit graduates to a single career path. Here are three rewarding employment outcomes of earning a master’s degree in Counseling.

Mental Health Counselor
A mental health counselor uses psychotherapy techniques to help people who are suffering from psychological distress. These counselors diagnose, treat, and help to prevent mental health issues. After completing their master’s in Counseling, graduates will need to complete post-graduate clinical work. In order to work as a mental health counselor, graduates will need to earn licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Depending on the state, practitioners may earn licensure as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC). In order to qualify for licensure, graduates will need to pass a licensing exam. This is commonly presented by the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE) or the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).

Mental health counselors work with individuals, groups, families, and even communities to address mental health issues and improve the mental well-being of their clients. Clients may seek the care of a mental health counselor if they are experiencing emotional problems, social difficulties, grief, marital issues, or mood disorders. Some mental health counselors work with specific kinds of clients, such as children or the elderly.

Work Environment
Mental health counselors work in a variety of settings. These can include any of the following:

  • Mental Health Clinics
  • Community Health Centers
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Schools
  • Private Practices

Crisis Counselor
Clients who are in extreme emotional turmoil or in a state of emergency require highly specialized care. Crisis counselors provide care to clients who are experiencing extreme stress, who have been recently traumatized, or who are experiencing long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Crisis counselors provide a stabilizing influence that is vital to the health of these clients. In order to become a crisis counselor, students will need to earn their master’s degree in Counseling, complete their post-graduate clinical work, and earn licensure according to their state requirements. They may also consider pursuing professional credentials from the National Center for Crisis Management.

Crisis counselors provide their clients with the support they need to deal with intense emotions, process disturbing experiences, and challenging situations. They may do this through the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy. If clients are actively experiencing trauma, however, counselors may use psychological first aid to reduce acute distress.

Work Environment
Crisis counselors work in a variety of settings. Primarily, however, they work where they are needed immediately. For example, they can be found working in the following locations and settings:

  • Mental Health Clinics
  • Community Centers
  • Humanitarian Aid Organizations
  • Telephone Crisis Counseling Centers
  • University Counseling Centers

Crisis counselors may be asked to work in suicide prevention, assisting domestic violence victims, and helping clients cope in the aftermath of a weather disaster or act of large-scale violence.

Substance Abuse Counselor
Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction. Unfortunately, only 10% of these individuals receive treatment. It’s imperative, then, that they receive compassionate care from their substance abuse counselor. Substance abuse counselors work with clients to help them address their addictive behavior and incorporate methods to begin recovery. In order to become a substance abuse counselor, students will need to graduate with their master’s degree in Counseling, complete their post-graduate clinical work in substance abuse counseling, and pass a licensing exam to practice as a substance abuse counselor. This licensing is state-specific. Certification can be obtained from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Substance abuse counselors work with a variety of clients who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. They may also work with clients who have eating disorders or behavioral issues. They teach their clients how to modify their behavior and address any underlying trauma or emotional issues. They develop treatment plans with their clients, teach them coping mechanisms, set aftercare plans, and can also meet with family members to provide additional guidance and support.

Work Environment
Many substance abuse counselors work in private practices. However, they can also be found working in the following locations:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient Substance Abuse Centers
  • Residential Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers
  • Family Services

Counseling is as much a calling as it is a profession. Few enter this field with thoughts of financial gain or glory. Instead, the rewards of this field are intangible. Likewise, they can be innumerable. If you want to improve the lives of clients and help them gain the confidence they need to face life head-on, then earning a master’s in Counseling is well worth it.

Are you interested in pursuing a Master’s of

If you are ready to take the leap towards a master’s degree in Counseling, it is important to seek a program that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This accreditation is recognized by employers and providers nationally, and is the gold standard for graduate counseling programs. By finding a CACREP-accredited master’s in Counseling degree, you can ensure your school has met the highest standards set by the profession. You can also walk away with the confidence that your MS in Counseling will be valued by prospective employers, therefore underlining that it was, in fact, worth it after all.

Are you interested in pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling? Learn more about University of Bridgeport’s program!