The job outlook for counseling degree graduates varies from one type of counselor to another, but counselors overall have a good career and job outlook. Becoming a counselor requires completing an approved counseling degree program that offers either a bachelor’s or graduate degree as well as obtaining licensure. More than 1,500 universities in the nation offer some sort of counseling degree. The high demand for counselors has resulted in counselors having a very positive outlook in terms of job growth and wage potential.
Educational Requirements to Become Counselors
Educational requirements for counseling careers varies on the type of counselor an individual inspires to be. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors must have at least a bachelor’s degree, but some employers may require a master’s degree and certifications. School and career counselors should have a master’s degree in school counseling or a similar field.
Rehabilitation counselors are required to have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related major. In addition to completing educational degree programs, counselors must obtain licensure in the state in which they plan to work. Licensure requirements vary from state to state.
Job Growth for Counselors
Counselors, in general, can expect some good job growth during the 2018-2026 decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are predicted to see a 22 percent employment growth with 68,500 new jobs by 2028. The increasing number of people with mental health or substance abuse issues has made these professionals highly in demand.
School and career counselors should experience an 8 percent growth with about 27,200 new jobs created by 2028. Rehabilitation counselors should see a 10 percent job growth with approximately 11,800 new jobs created by 2028. The increasing use of counselors in all areas of life has put a demand out for qualified counselors. Genetic counselors should see job growth of 27 percent, which is much higher than other occupations, and the BLS predicts 800 new jobs could be created for this profession by 2026.
Wage Potential for Counselors
Counselors have the potential to earn some very good wages, although the wages can vary by type of counselor. Other factors that can affect earning potential include employer, degree level, location, and work experience. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor wages ranged from $26,210 to $65,080 with the average annual wage at $44,160. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned the highest wages in the states of New Mexico, Alaska, North Dakota, New Jersey, and New York.
Rehabilitation counselor wages ranged from $22,990 to $63,820, and the average annual wage was $39,930. Rehabilitation counselors earned the highest wages in the states of New Jersey, Alaska, Rhode Island, Colorado, and Maine. School and career counselors earned wages ranging from $33,610 to $94,690 with the average yearly wage at $56,310. Genetic counselors earned an average annual wage of $74,960 with wages ranging from $45,540 to $104,770. States, where genetic counselors earned the highest wages, were Maryland, Nevada, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Washington. These numbers came from a May 2018 report by the bureau.
Working as a counselor can be very exciting and lucrative work regardless of the type of counselor one might choose to be. The ability to help others who are experiencing difficulties can be challenging but also very rewarding. With the job outlook so positive in all types of counseling, counseling has become a popular career choice.