Career Information for a Degree in Counseling or Guidance

Degree programs in counseling or guidance typically cover psychology, sociology, and counseling methods. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth, and salary info for counseling or guidance graduates.

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Some of the career options for individuals with a degree in counseling or guidance include career counselor, mental health counselor or school counselor. These careers can involve helping individuals identify issues in their lives and take steps to improve their quality of life through healthy choices, or guiding students as they consider career options.

Essential Information

People interested in helping others make academic, career, and life choices might consider a degree program in counseling or guidance. Most prospective counselors pursue a master's degree. Graduates are prepared to obtain state certification as a career counselor or school guidance counselor or enter a career in another counseling specialty.

Master's degree programs in counseling or guidance combine psychology, sociology, and other disciplines, including education, with classes in counseling methods, career counseling, evaluation and assessment, research methods, legal issues in counseling, multicultural issues, education systems, and counseling program administration. There are also field experience and practicum requirements, which give students firsthand experience as counselors.

Career title School and Career Counselor Mental Health Counselor
Education requirements Master's degree Master's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for school and career counselors 19% for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $53,660 for school and career counselors $41,880 for mental health counselors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Individuals with a master's degree in counseling or guidance might wish to assist individuals in a school or postsecondary educational setting. School and career counselors aid individuals in making decisions about their future, from selecting appropriate classes to assessing career goals. Mental health counseling is another option for graduates with a counseling or guidance degree. Professionals in this career help individuals work through emotional or mental disorders.

Career Counselors

Career counselors, also called vocational or employment counselors, assist clients and students in their pursuit of fulfilling careers. They might be employed by secondary or postsecondary educational institutions, career consulting firms, career centers or other establishments offering career advising services.

Career counselors work with individuals by discussing education and work history, as well as personality, abilities, career goals, and interests, to match them with suitable career options. They also might assist clients with job searches, the interview process, resume development, and job applications.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in jobs for school and career counselors from 2014 to 2024. The BLS reported that educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors earned a median annual salary of $53,660 in 2015.

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors assist individuals in overcoming emotional or mental disorders, including depression and anxiety. They aid their clients in adjusting to major life changes by examining decisions about their future. Mental health counselors might work with groups, families, or individuals.

The BLS predicts a 19% increase in jobs for this profession from 2014 to 2024. The BLS reported a median annual income of $41,880 for mental health counselors in 2015.

School Counselors

School counselors, often called guidance counselors, work in all levels of schools to provide counseling and educational advising services to students. School counselors help students select appropriate classes, make education plans, and adjust to the academic and social demands of school through interviews, aptitude tests, and other assessments. Additionally, counselors educate and assist students with behavioral, social, personal, and family issues that can interfere with scholastic success.

School and career counseling jobs are anticipated to grow by 8% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. The median annual income for individuals in these professions was $53,660 in 2015.

A master's degree is required to become a school counselor, career counselor or mental health counselor. State certification is also required. The master's degree program covers topics such as multicultural issues, counseling methods, and legal issues in counseling, and includes field experience and a practicum.

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