Your master’s degree in counseling allows you to work in a variety of fields and help patients that range in age from infants and toddlers to geriatric adults. Once you have your degree, you could work in a clinical setting, in a school, in a private office or even in a government setting.
If you want to help others recover after an injury, illness or other event, then a rehabilitation counselor might be the right path for you. These counselors work with individual patients to reinforce strengths and help the patient regain lost skills.
If you prefer working in a school or with kids, a role as a guidance counselor or developmental counselor might be your best bet. Both of these professionals work with children ranging in age from three through 18 and can make a huge impact on that child’s abilities, success and outcomes. You can also use your new degree and insight to help families and couples cope with specific challenges and life events or simply reinforce their bonds and communication skills. Consider a career in one of the following fields if you acquire your Master’s in Counseling degree:
#1 Rehabilitation Counselor
“Rehab” strikes up images of substance abuse and dependency counseling, but in this case, rehabilitation means helping those who have been injured or suffered a stroke recover and resume living independently. People who need your help may have been in an accident, suffered a debilitating illness or event like a stroke or brain tumor or who were born with developmental disabilities.
Your role as a rehabilitation counselor would be to create plans and strategies to help these patients form the independent living skills they need to thrive. Whether you are teaching a child with Autism to properly brush their teeth or helping an adult who has had a stroke relearn how to do up zippers, balance a checkbook or navigate the grocery store.
In this role, you would work on strategy an implementation and assist other professionals; you would work with Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and other providers to help an individual meet their goals. Your new Master’s Degree can be put to good use in this field and you’d have the following responsibilities on a regular basis:
- Establishing new goals and care plans for patients
- Working in a clinic, school or facility to meet with patients
- Assisting patients with a specific issue or in a specific demographic or age group
- Assist young adults with living skills, ranging from applying for jobs to budgeting and learning how to live independently.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a rehabilitation counselor is $34,670 and this field is experiencing faster than average growth.
#2 School Guidance Counselor
Your Master’s Degree in Counseling would allow you to work as a guidance counselor in an elementary, middle or high school. You’d help kids and teens copy with a variety of social, developmental and communication issues. You might meet with students individually, in groups or even with their families to help improve outcomes and offer support as needed. If you work as a guidance counselor, you could work in a private, public or vocational school and have the following duties:
- Creating strategies and offering support for individual students coping with social and academic pressures in school and at home
- Giving objective career and schooling advice for high school students
- Welcome students who are transferring in or just arriving at school and ensure they are adjusting well
- Attend formal IEP meetings and support the team, parents and kids as they work through the special education process.
School guidance counselors are seeing average growth and have a median salary of $54,560 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics,
#3 Marriage and Family Counselor
Couples and families in crisis can use your help; your Master’s in Counseling can be put to good use helping families and couples learn to communicate. You might meet with the entire family, with the parents or with individuals and come up with strategies designed to support the group and foster better relationships and communication. A marriage and family counselor could work in a private office, as part of a group or even in a healthcare organization and would have some of the following duties:
- Counseling couples to improve their communication and relationship skills
- Counseling families and couples after a loss or a significant life change
- Meeting with individual family members to provide counseling and in-depth strategies for communicating and behavior.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a rapidly growing field and the median salary for 2016 was $44,170.
#4 Developmental Psychologist
In this role, you would use your Master’s degree to help kids and teens. A developmental psychologist steps in after a school psychologist or family physician has identified a potential problem. For young children, a doctor could refer a patient to you after they have failed a screening like the M-CHAT, which is designed to screen for the Autism Spectrum. For older children, those with suspected ADHD, anxiety disorders or other developmental conditions could be referred to you for additional study and help. Depending on where you live, you may need additional certification to take on this role; this job is also sometimes referred to as a Developmental Pediatrician, though it does not require an MD.
Common duties of developmental psychologists include
- Conducting evaluations and testing for specific disabilities or concerns
- Explaining results and conditions to parents and educators
- Creating recommendations for the school or clinic setting to foster healthy communication, discipline and learning for an individual child.
- Perform evaluations as required for benefits plans administration or Medicaid.
The median salary for a developmental psychologist depends on geography and can range from $61,000 to $91,000 per year according to the American Psychology Association.
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- Rehabilitation Counselor (2017, August 18) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm
- Marriage and Family Counselor (2017, August 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- Developmental Psychologist (2017, August 23). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/action/science/developmental/education-training.aspx
- Guidance Counselor (2017, August 23). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm