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How Do I Become a Counselor?

How Do I Become a Counselor?

If you have been considering becoming a counselor, then you should know that this job market is wide open. The job outlook for counselors, including substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, is expected to grow by an astounding 25% through 2029. This is nearly six times the growth rate of other jobs!

Become a Counselor

You probably already know that becoming a counselor isn’t a one-size-fits-all profession. There are multiple types of careers in counseling from substance abuse and mental health counselors to gerontological counselors. There is a seemingly endless list of options for a counselor to choose from. Keeping this in mind, what many of them have in common is that you will need to get the right education and appropriate licensing requirements for your state. If this is the calling you want to pursue, the following steps will open the door to a wide array of careers in counseling.

  1. Seek Guidance from an Advisor

With all these career opportunities available, our enrollment advisors at Ottawa University are here to help you get started as you decide which path is the right fit for you. Once you are enrolled as a student, your academic advisors will be here to provide further guidance. Additionally, our expert faculty make sure our counseling majors gain the skills and knowledge needed to help make a difference in the lives of those who need their services.

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree 

You may already have this one covered, but if not, a bachelor’s degree is the first step towards a career in counseling. Our students at Ottawa University typically begin their journey with either a bachelor's in psychology, a bachelor's in addiction counseling, or a bachelor's in Human Services. Your bachelor’s degree program allows you to explore different areas that interest you before moving into the more focused coursework of a master’s program. Ottawa University’s accelerated degrees allow schedule and completion flexibility for working adults.

Continue Your Counseling Education

A master’s program is where you will begin your concentrated training in counseling. Not only will you gain the core knowledge and skills you need to become a professional counselor, but you will also gain the required practical experience and prepare for licensure. Our Brookfield campus offers unique, career-focused programs which are specifically designed to help you advance your career.

  1. Earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling

Gain Counseling Experience

  1. Get Field Experience

Ottawa University’s Field Placement Course is designed to develop your counseling skills through practical application in a counseling setting. Students work under the direct supervision of an approved onsite supervisor and faculty supervisor. The classroom component allows a student to share learning experiences from placement activities as well as guide the integration of learned knowledge into practical application. The field-placement component consists of nine semester credit hours, completed in eight terms, for a total of 900 client contact hours.

  1. Consider Licensure

The type of license you obtain will depend on the requirements of the state in which you plan to practice. It is extremely important to check with your state licensing board before you begin your education and practical training to ensure the program meets the standards required for the license you want to earn.

  1. Find a Counseling Job

Counselors are in huge demand, so once you are licensed, you should have no problem finding a job. As noted above, the industry is expected to grow by 25% through 2029, with jobs located in such places as state and local governments, outpatient care centers, individual and family services, vocational rehabilitation services, schools, and residential facilities for mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual/developmental disability. Counselors may also choose to open their practice.

Ottawa University's Masters in Counseling Online Program

Ottawa University offers all students and alumni free access to Professional Growth Seminars. These are presentations from highly qualified community professionals that offer Continuing Education Credits for our graduates at no cost. We believe in promoting lifelong learning.

These steps for becoming a counselor show, without a doubt, that those called to serve in this way are committed to helping others. Ottawa University is here to help you begin your rewarding career in counseling. Not only will our expert faculty in Wisconsin ensure you are well-trained for a successful career in counseling, but our accelerated courses get you to your career faster and better prepared for success. Take a closer look at our Milwaukee campus’ accelerated courses and programs!

See Also:

Huge Employment Opportunities for OU Counseling Grads

Top 10 Counseling Skills

Best Master of Science in Addiction Counseling


Posted: 09/01/2021 by OU Online
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