Mental health has become a serious topic in recent years and as awareness grows, so does the demand for the services of licensed professionals.
While there are numerous kinds of positions someone can find in the mental health field, one of the most indispensable is that of the counseling psychologist.
What Is Counseling Psychology?
Counseling psychology is a sub-branch of clinical psychology that deals with advising patients on how to contend with personal or emotional issues that arise in their lives. Unlike mainstream clinical psychologists, which often focus on diagnosing and treating specific mental conditions, counseling psychologists take a more general approach to shifting patient’s perspectives and decisions to improve quality of life.
Earnings vary, but typically a counseling psychologist salary hovers around $85,000 a year.
What Does a Counseling Psychologist Do?
Counseling psychologists meet with individuals or groups in a variety of settings, such as offices or nursing homes, to help people nurture healthy attitudes, decision-making skills, and relationships.
They often help others through counseling sessions in which they directly talk with patients and discuss the issues they’re facing, although it’s also quite common for them to offer advice to social workers, or similar professionals, as to how to proceed with a patient’s case.
How Does One Become a Counseling Psychologist?
While each situation is unique, there’s usually a specific pathway someone must take to become a counseling psychologist.
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree: Getting an entry-level degree is the first step on the road to becoming a counseling psychologist. While technically a specific kind of degree isn’t necessary, undergraduate work forms the basis for a lot of later experiences. Typically, people looking to be counselors get their degrees in psychology or education.
- Complete a Master’s Program: After undergraduate work is complete, it’s usually necessary to enter a master’s program in a counseling-related field. This step will prepare future counselors for a lot of things they’ll encounter at the doctoral level, including working in a clinical setting and encountering complex concepts or terminology.
- Join a Doctoral Program: The doctoral level is where an individual will receive most of their training opportunities relating to counseling psychology. Which doctoral degree people pursue can vary greatly, but individual states have their own rules for counselor licensing. A doctoral degree in clinical psychology is accepted as an adequate level of education pretty much everywhere.
- Get a License: The final step to becoming a counseling psychologist is to obtain a license to practice. In most cases, states will license individuals who obtain their doctorate, complete an internship, and the completion of a competency test.
Pursuing a Career
Learning counseling psychology from places like CareersInPsychology.org is a very rewarding and in-demand field. It requires a tremendous degree of effort to successfully pursue, but ultimately it provides a great avenue towards the creation of an outstanding career and provides a sense of fulfillment.