A career as a counselor is gaining more and more attention as it becomes one of the fastest growing and most stable jobs in the nation. Compared to most occupations, the counseling profession is expected to have a huge percentage growth within the next decade. The projected increase in overall demand for counselors is 18%. Although the demand varies by specializations, the overall job opportunities for counselors should be promising as it is expected for job vacancies to exceed the number of graduates who finished a counseling-related program. Substance abuse counselors, in particular, should see a remarkable increase in job prospects.
Job prospects look favorable and there is a great possibility for career advancement options for counselors. School counselors with further education such as a masters’ degree or a doctorate degree can become supervisors, directors, educators, counseling psychologists, or school administrators. School counselors also have the option to work for the State department of education.
Counselors with a degree in marriage and family therapy may also choose to advance their careers by going into the consulting business, research work, university teaching or they can also set up their own group or private practice.
Because the demand for counselors continues to rise, many are considering a job as a counselor. It provides job stability and financial security and it also offers many career options especially when it comes to advancement.
A job as a counselor pays well, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary of vocational, school and educational counselors is approximately $50,000. They can also earn as much as $90,000 per year. School counselors can also get extra work from summer sessions or by working at other establishments. School counselors can get employment from elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, vocational schools and in family services.
The median salary for substance abuse counselors is at approximately $37,000 and they can earn as much as $59,000 per year. Industries that employ substance abuse counselors include medical and surgical hospitals, local government, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and mental health facilities.
Marriage and family therapists earn an average $45,000 per year and can earn more than $70,000 annually. Marriage and family therapists can go into private practice or they can also find employment in the state government, local government, family services, and outpatient centers.
Rehabilitation counselors have a median income of $30,000 per year while the highest 10% of rehabilitation counselors are paid approximately $56,000 annually. Rehabilitation counselors find employment in the state and local governments, vocational rehabilitation centers, and mental health facilities.
In order to become a counselor, an individual must first earn a graduate degree from an accredited school. Usually, prospective counselors must have a masters’ degree or a doctorate degree in areas such as rehabilitation services, marriage and family therapy, and school psychology. Programs that focus on counseling services can be found in state universities that offer graduate degrees, in private universities and in graduate schools.