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Counselor

   
Counselors assist individuals and groups with their personal problems in order to help them become more self-sufficient. They provide support, consultation, and therapeutic approaches to help people deal with difficulties such as marital problems, substance abuse, suicidal feelings, stress management, and self-esteem issues. Counselors may specialize in several different areas including mental health, school and career, substance abuse, employment/vocational, rehabilitation, marriage and family, and genetic counseling. Beginning with the interview process, counselors make observations that help them determine a treatment plan that will accomplish the client's goals. They often use personality, aptitude, and psychological tests to determine more precisely the needs of a particular patient. Counselors often work closely with other mental health professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to ensure that all of the patient's needs are being met. They are also responsible for maintaining records of tests and counseling services, and making sure that all records are kept confidential. Counselors often conduct research and report their findings in professional and trade journals. Anyone interested in a career as a counselor should be emotionally stable, sensitive to people's feelings, and have excellent oral and written communication skills.

Work Environment:

Counselors are employed in a variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, correctional institutions, mental health clinics, schools and universities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, halfway houses, residential care facilities, job training and vocational rehabilitation centers, and public assistance agencies.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in a career in counseling should take high school courses in biology, geometry, algebra, English, health occupations/medical professions education, sociology, literature, psychology, computer skills, social studies, and speech.

College Requirements:

Individuals must first obtain a bachelor's degree in counseling, psychology, education, sociology, or social work. Most employment opportunities for counselors require a master's degree or a doctoral degree. An internship or other professional experience is usually required after receiving a degree. Graduates must then pass an examination given by the Mississippi Counseling Association or The National Board of Certified Counselors to become licensed.
Students interested in counseling should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

Employment opportunities for counselors are expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations through the year 2010. Educational, vocational, and school counselors are in greatest demand due to increased student enrollments and new state laws that require counselors in elementary schools. Counselors are becoming increasingly involved in crisis management and preventative counseling as it relates to young people. There will also be demand for behavioral, mental health, and marriage and family counselors due to a variety of reasons. Employment will also increase as many counselors retire or leave the profession for other reasons.
 

   

Salary:


Average Annual Salary
$37,200


Salary Range
$25,600-$50,400*

*Varies greatly on education and specialty

 

Professional Organizations:

American Counseling Association
5999 Stevenson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304
Phone: (703) 832-9800
Phone: (800) 347-6647
 www.counseling.org


American Mental Health Counselors Association
801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 304
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (701) 548-6002

Mississippi Counseling Association
PO Box 5565
Brandon, MS 39047
Phone: (601) 992-3666
 www.mca.web.com

 

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