Get a head start
on your resume!

Customize your resume for the job you want.

What kind of jobs are you looking for?

Professional Counselors

Home >> Careers & Education

Counselors

Professional Counselors


Education

What’s Needed:

  • In order to work as a professional counselor you must hold at least a Masters in Arts (M.A.) degree in counseling or psychology.
  • You may be able to gain an internship or part-time counseling position if you have just finished a four-year degree or have just begun a master’s program.

What you study:

While studying for a degree in counseling you will learn about all of the following:

  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Counseling Methods
  • Professional Ethics


A Day in the Life

You’ll be able to work in both public agencies and private facilities.

When you work as a counselor you may be known by many different titles. You might be a career school or occupational counselor. You can work for both public government-run agencies and for private counseling and mental health facilities. No matter what path you choose you will be an advocate for your clients and will help them negotiate the situations that arise in their lives. Employment in schools and colleges is one of the most promising fields for a professional counselor.

You provide essential support and counseling to a wide variety of clients.

As a career counselor you arrive at the community college where you work right before the school’s counseling office opens. You work on a part-time contract meaning that you also work with private clients from your own office. When you arrive at the school office you look over new scholarship announcements so that you can advise qualified students of good opportunities. Before you see your first client you check in with your boss.

You are responsible for maintaining accurate client records and ensuring their security.

Your first client of the day is a first-year student who is interested in pursuing a career in engineering. She is having a hard time figuring out how to finance her education and is concerned that she won’t be able to continue to a four-year college. You explain the student’s federal student aid options and look up any scholarships available to women who are interested in studying engineering. You refer her to the school’s financial aid office for further information about how she can use grants and loans to continue her education.

After updating student files you head to your private office to work with several clients who need assistance in finding a new path in life. The first client you see is a recovering alcoholic who comes to you on a bi-weekly basis to learn new coping techniques and to talk about her career opportunities. You help the client deal with a tough issue involving her family and set an appointment for her to come in the following week as you are concerned about her situation.

Your second client is a single mother who wants to go back to work part-time. Today she wants to talk to you about child care options and how her return to work might affect her toddler. You provide her with information about child care centers and programs in your area. You also spend time talking about her child and how he might adjust to her new career. Before you head home for the evening you lock up all of your client files. You review your appointments for the following day before heading home to relax.


Certifications and Licensing

Most states require that counselors obtain a license to practice. In order to obtain a license you must complete an M.A. program in the field complete a set number of internship hours and pass a background check. In some states you may need to pass an ethics exam.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

The majority of counselors work full-time schedules. You may be able to work a part-time schedule if you run your own practice or are new to the field.

Work location:

As a counselor you will have freedom to work in many different settings. You may choose to work as a career counselor for part of your career before opening your own private practice.


Recommended Websites

  • American Counseling Association: The ACA’s website provides a wealth of educational resources for professionals in the field of counseling. Information on careers and continuing education is of particular value to those students who are considering becoming counselors.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for School and Career Counselors: This handbook which is targeted at school and career counselors provides a wealth of useful information for those interested in working in both the public and private sectors. Prospective counseling students will find information about employment outlooks and salaries in the field of counseling on this site.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association: AMHCA’s website provides updates about legislative changes that impact this field and offers a comprehensive listing of mental health counselors practicing in the U.S. New counselors will find the site’s career center and job boards particularly helpful.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $56000 $42K – $74K 50 0.03%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $52430 $27K – $71K 120 0.01%
AZ Tucson $34800 $27K – $61K N/A N/A
CA Chico $38090 $23K – $85K N/A N/A
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $39340 $26K – $52K 1130 0.03%
CA Merced $37160 $19K – $54K 70 0.12%
CA Modesto $38770 $21K – $60K N/A N/A
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $38450 $18K – $109K 350 0.04%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $36150 $26K – $47K 80 0.01%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $66600 $28K – $102K 180 0.02%
CA Salinas $41380 $33K – $51K N/A N/A
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $40820 $21K – $59K 140 0.01%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $51510 $22K – $85K 520 0.05%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $45910 $30K – $59K 260 0.02%
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $45190 $28K – $70K N/A N/A
CA Stockton $50900 $22K – $62K 60 0.03%
CA Visalia – Porterville $42340 $19K – $66K N/A N/A
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $83930 $70K – $98K N/A N/A
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $28810 $26K – $35K N/A N/A
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $45560 $26K – $72K 90 0.02%
CT New Haven $46590 $27K – $69K N/A N/A
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $42020 $25K – $71K 320 0.01%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $26190 $18K – $49K 50 0.02%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $30460 $20K – $54K 130 0.09%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $27750 $17K – $53K 410 0.06%
FL Jacksonville $34130 $26K – $61K 160 0.03%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $36490 $23K – $47K 80 0.04%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $48950 $21K – $60K 430 0.04%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $42910 $33K – $91K 60 0.02%
FL Ocala $26920 $21K – $45K 40 0.04%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $35590 $28K – $48K 140 0.01%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $55800 $34K – $81K 90 0.05%
FL Panama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach $26370 $20K – $42K N/A N/A
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $26150 $18K – $55K 80 0.05%
FL Port St. Lucie $29070 $21K – $53K 50 0.04%
FL Tallahassee $30180 $22K – $42K 110 0.07%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $36160 $25K – $58K 300 0.03%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $36140 $20K – $61K 130 0.03%
HI Honolulu $36850 $18K – $58K 80 0.02%
IA Cedar Rapids $28570 $20K – $71K 50 0.04%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $45710 $31K – $64K 50 0.03%
IL Champaign – Urbana $56490 $22K – $83K 60 0.07%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $43370 $25K – $71K 1250 0.03%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $46820 $27K – $71K 170 0.04%
IL Peoria $43420 $29K – $80K 90 0.05%
IL Rockford $46490 $33K – $73K 40 0.03%
IL Springfield $44040 $32K – $83K 70 0.07%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $34790 $25K – $52K 50 0.01%
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $47980 $21K – $67K N/A N/A
LA Baton Rouge $39230 $30K – $57K 130 0.04%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $23790 $17K – $48K 310 0.06%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $40420 $34K – $55K 30 0.02%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $33000 $19K – $52K 210 0.01%
MA Pittsfield $25230 $21K – $34K N/A N/A
MA Springfield $44910 $33K – $60K 30 0.01%
MD Baltimore – Towson $28410 $24K – $62K 370 0.03%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $42490 $18K – $68K 120 0.02%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $44570 $29K – $75K 50 0.01%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $60800 $29K – $113K 90 0.01%
MN Duluth $38270 $33K – $48K 60 0.05%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $38260 $30K – $68K 100 0.01%
MO Kansas City $47780 $40K – $67K 40 0.00%
MO St. Louis $51960 $33K – $84K 100 0.01%
NH Manchester $36920 $28K – $49K 60 0.06%
NH Nashua (Metro Area) $31420 $23K – $54K 50 0.04%
NH Rochester – Dover $39710 $33K – $56K 40 0.07%
NJ Atlantic City – Hammonton $42960 $32K – $59K 40 0.03%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $44130 $33K – $63K 310 0.06%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $54590 $35K – $81K 160 0.02%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $47020 $33K – $60K 290 0.03%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $57090 $31K – $105K 60 0.03%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $52650 $33K – $91K 40 0.00%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $40840 $26K – $75K 120 0.03%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $52500 $28K – $60K 40 0.01%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $35610 $30K – $52K 210 0.02%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $47130 $31K – $77K 810 0.02%
NY Poughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown $34420 $26K – $57K 180 0.07%
NY Rochester $31490 $24K – $49K 150 0.03%
NY Syracuse $33900 $26K – $55K 30 0.01%
OH Akron $30810 $17K – $62K 30 0.01%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $44180 $31K – $61K 70 0.01%
OH Columbus $39730 $27K – $62K 60 0.01%
OH Dayton $41420 $32K – $56K 50 0.01%
OH Toledo $43090 $36K – $57K 30 0.01%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $39220 $21K – $70K 330 0.03%
PA Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton $42980 $29K – $66K 50 0.02%
PA Harrisburg – Carlisle $50450 $32K – $69K N/A N/A
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $49160 $22K – $62K 270 0.01%
PA Pittsburgh $55990 $24K – $72K 110 0.01%
PA Scranton – Wilkes – Barre $50460 $27K – $64K 70 0.03%
PR Ponce $32250 $19K – $41K 40 0.08%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $24670 $17K – $52K 330 0.05%
TN Chattanooga $40590 $32K – $47K 30 0.01%
TN Knoxville $34350 $22K – $46K 50 0.02%
TN Memphis $34350 $22K – $51K 70 0.01%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $38150 $27K – $50K 140 0.02%
TX Abilene $45930 $17K – $59K 140 0.23%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $51060 $29K – $68K 480 0.06%
TX Beaumont – Port Arthur $55760 $43K – $71K 70 0.05%
TX College Station – Bryan $49420 $22K – $63K 70 0.08%
TX Corpus Christi $26690 $20K – $58K 170 0.09%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $61060 $48K – $78K 1070 0.05%
TX El Paso $31820 $25K – $71K 310 0.11%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $64040 $50K – $77K 470 0.05%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $58360 $42K – $75K 1450 0.06%
TX Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood $51040 $22K – $68K 110 0.09%
TX Laredo $64410 $35K – $76K 110 0.12%
TX Longview $53660 $41K – $61K 70 0.07%
TX Lubbock $54750 $36K – $70K 80 0.07%
TX McAllen – Edinburg – Mission $58360 $46K – $72K 150 0.07%
TX San Angelo $52,780 $31K – $70K 40 0.08%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $50,870 $21K – $73K 290 0.03%
TX Waco $50,970 $28K – $68K 50 0.05%
TX Wichita Falls $56,800 $43K – $73K 70 0.12%
VA Richmond $34,250 $22K – $51K 180 0.03%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $36,720 $31K – $46K 200 0.03%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $46,480 $28K – $75K 50 0.00%
WI Green Bay $37,470 $27K – $48K 40 0.02%
WI Madison $45,470 $26K – $66K 100 0.03%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $39,380 $27K – $54K 100 0.01%
WI Racine $28,370 $17K – $62K 60 0.08%

    Advertisement

    POWERED BY
    Customer Service: 855.213.0348
    Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM CST, Sat 8AM-5PM CST, Sun 10AM-6PM CST
    © 2017, Bold Limited. All rights reserved.