What does it take to become a Counselor?

Before delving deep into "What does it take to become a counselor" it should be shown that there are various specialties of counselors, like an elementary school counselor, vocational counselor, career counselor, employment counselor, rehabilitation counselor, mental health counselor, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, gerontological counselors, genetic counselors and multicultural counselors.

To become a counselor involves meeting requisite academic and training necessities. A Master's degree is generally needed to get a license as a counselor. In some States, a bachelor's degree with proper counseling courses is sufficient whereas in others they require a Master's degree to get public employment. The other skills required to become a counseling professional include a strong desire to help others, ability to inspire confidence, trust and respect and the ability to work independently or as a team member. He is required to strictly adhere to the code of ethics related to the respective licenses and certifications. Further, counselors are required to have a high level of emotional and physical energy.

With the introduction of a new law that counselors are to be paid by insurance companies and due to the growing recognition of counseling professionals, an increasing number of counselors are either a private practitioner, self-employed, or working in group practices. During the year 2006, growth rate in employment of professionals in counseling was much faster than the average rate of growth of all other occupations. It is expected that by the year 2016, there will be an increase of 21 percent in the overall employment of counselors, and 34 percent growth in substance abuse & behavioral disorder counselors.

There are excellent prospects for rehabilitation counselors as most of the counseling professionals are either leaving the field or retiring. In substance abuse & behavioral disorder counsel, there are very good job prospects as relatively long hours of work and low wage are making it difficult to recruit new entrants. There may be more favorable opportunities for school counselors in rural and urban areas.

In the profession of counseling, as per statistics from May 2006, Educational, Vocational and School Counselors had received a median annual salary of $47,530. Of the total counselors, the highest 10 per cent received an annual salary over $75,920 and the lowest 10 per cent had earnings of less than $27,240 in the year.

Counselors in the field of substance abuse & behavioral disorder received a median yearly salary of $34,040 and the mental health counselors were paid a median annual salary of $34,380. The median annual earning of rehabilitation counselors was $29,200 and a marriage & family therapist earned median yearly wages of $43,210 in May 2006. Counseling professionals having well established private practices and counselors involved in group practices were the highest in median annual earning.

The counseling field is very promising in the future where job prospects are going to increase with more and more people retiring from the profession and service necessities are increasing. If you have an inclination to help people of different communities and cultures and are competent in tackling different obstacles in life, then you already have the answer to the question “What Does it Take to Become a Counselor” and have the potential to become a successful counselor.
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