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5 Counseling Degree Concentrations

Explore These Five Concentrations in a Counseling DegreeExplore These Five Concentrations in a Counseling Degree

  • School Counseling
  • Vocational Counseling
  • Substance Abuse
  • Behavioral Disorders
  • Mental Health

People who want to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in social work or counseling may be unsure of which area of counseling would be the right choice for their personality and skills, and there are five key counseling degree concentrations to keep in mind. Counseling encompasses many different specialties, and focusing on one of them could make it easier to hone the skills that are suited to that type of work. People earning a graduate degree related to counseling could consider one of these five counseling degree concentrations.

Related resource: 30 Most Affordable Christian Master’s in Counseling Online

1. School Counseling

School counselors work with pre-kindergarten through high school-age students. They assist them with academic concerns such as evaluations for learning disabilities. A school counselor may also assist a student with personal and social issues, such as bullying, anxiety, and shyness. Many school counselors help students select courses and plan their academic activities. They may also help students with college, vocational or job applications.

2. Vocational Counseling

Vocational counselors assist adult students and people re-entering the workforce. They may perform personality or aptitude tests in order to determine which types of jobs would be best suited to the individual. They may also help a person with cover letters, job applications, and interview skills. A vocational counselor may help a person who has recently left military service or imprisonment with the skills that they need in order to enter or re-enter the civilian workforce.

3. Substance Abuse

Substance abuse counseling is another in-demand specialty to consider. These counselors assist people who want to become sober and stop abusing illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse counselors may also work with the patient’s family in a family or group session. Some substance abuse counselors host meetings or provide services through organizations such as Alcohol Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and similar groups. A substance abuse counselor may work in a hospital, inpatient or outpatient treatment center, clinic, a student health center at a university or another similar setting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they may also work in private practice.

4. Behavioral Disorders

A concentration in behavioral disorders allows a counselor to help people with a wide range of issues that they or their families recognize as a problem that interferes with regular activities of daily living. For example, a person who is a behavioral disorder counselor may work with people who have a narcissistic personality disorder or who have obsessive-compulsive disorder. They may also work with people who have hoarding disorder.

5. Mental Health

Mental health counselors provide direct patient care to people diagnosed with a mental health condition. They may counsel people with schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. A mental health concentration would also prepare a counselor to serve patients with eating disorders, including bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These counselors may also work with people who have a specific phobia, such as public speaking or a fear of driving that interferes with their ability to socialize or work. Mental health counselors work with people of all ages, and they often work as part of a healthcare team that includes a psychiatrist, social worker, and psychiatric nurses.

Each of these five sub-types of counseling is quite different from the others. Choosing a concentration in one of them could help a person set their career path. Knowing about these five concentrations for a counseling degree could also assist a person in matching their skills and preferences to potential jobs.