Master’s Degree in Counseling
Career Paths with a Master’s in Counseling
What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Counselor?
Careers in Social Work Versus Counseling
If you’re considering a career in mental health or in school or substance abuse counseling, know that it generally takes two to three years of full-time study to earn the necessary master’s degree. The length of time depends on whether a program requires an internship or practicum to complete the degree, as well as your enrollment status. If you want to become a school counselor in P–12 schools, you may need to earn a master’s in school counseling plus a school counseling certification or licensure.
While licensing requirements vary by state, all professional counselors must have a master’s degree and some supervised experience. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors in particular are required to log between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, according to the BLS. In addition, counselors must pass a state-issued exam and complete continuing education every year.
If you see yourself as a professional counselor, whether in private practice or working for a school, you’ll need a master’s degree. And if you get satisfaction from helping others and achieve a sense of purpose from intervening in others’ difficulties and crises, then a counseling degree may be worth it for you.
With a master’s degree in counseling, there are a number of career paths you may pursue. You could work with individuals dealing with depression and anxiety, you could counsel couples and families in crisis or you could work with children in a school setting.
If you have a heart for helping adults, there are myriad opportunities to help them return to work following an injury or a mental health crisis as a rehabilitation counselor. If you want to help teens and adults struggling with substance abuse, you could carve out a career as a substance abuse counselor.