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Careers That Require a Masters in Community Counseling

Graduates with a master's degree in community counseling will find career opportunities in mental health clinics, substance abuse centers, schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, and human service agencies.

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Here, you can find out what graduates with master's degrees in community counseling do with their education, as well as what the job outlook and salary prospects are in the field. You can also get more information about the degree itself.

Community Counseling Master's Careers

Graduates of master's degree programs in community counseling often pursue careers as community counselors. Community counselors are equipped to diagnose and treat mental health disorders, and they often work with clients who have experienced or are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, social injustice, job issues, and unexpected life changes. They can provide counseling for individuals, couples, families, and groups. By applying behavioral and systematic tactics, community counselors hope to bring about social change and help people become more self-sufficient.

Additional job titles that require may require a minimum of a counseling master's degree, such as a Master of Arts in Community Counseling, include:

  • Behavioral disorder counselor
  • Social worker
  • Mental health counselor
  • Case manager
  • School counselor
  • Career counselor
  • Rehabilitation counselor

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Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Community counseling professionals work in such industries as:

  • Community mental health
  • Residential treatment
  • Human services
  • Post-secondary counseling

Common career settings include social and human service agencies, businesses, and private practice. The job growth outlook for school and career counselors between 2014 and 2024 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was 8% and 12% for social workers. Mental health counselors are projected to experience a 20% rise in employment, while substance abuse and behavioral abuse counselors are expected to see a 22% increase in jobs over the same decade.

Most master's degree programs in community counseling prepare graduates to pass the National Counselor Exam, which qualifies them for a number of counseling positions. Salaries can vary by counseling specialty. However, the BLS listed the median salary for mental health counselors to be $42,840 in May 2016 and $46,890 for social workers. The same period reflected that substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors earned a median annual income of $41,070, while school and career counselors earned $54,560.

Degree Overview

Students in a master's degree program in community counseling may choose to concentrate in different areas, such as:

  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Exercise science
  • Art therapy
  • Secondary school counseling

Students in these programs typically fulfill a combination of classroom and hands-on training requirements. For clinical experience and to prepare for the licensing exam, students can expect to complete a practicum. Clinical coursework topics may include clinical psychopathology and evaluation, treatment methods and intervention. Some of the subjects that students may also study in the classroom include:

  • Human development
  • Personality
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Populations
  • Family counseling
  • Counseling theories and techniques
  • Mental and emotional disorders
  • Addictions
  • Ethics
  • Career counseling

After earning a master's degree in community counseling, graduates typically become community counselors, sometimes specializing in working with certain types of groups, depending on the setting in which they practice.

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