What degree do I need to be a counselor?

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Educational degrees and requirements vary depending on the country where the student is going to practice. Licensed professional counselors in the Unites States are licensed in the state where they reside, and the graduate student is required to pass the licensing exam at that state level. In order to be eligible to take the exam and provide counseling, every student must receive a Master’s Degree in counseling or another related field from an accredited school.

What is Involved in a Career for Licensed Counselors?

Men and women who are drawn to be counselors of any type, typically have a passion to help others. By listening, guiding and directing their clients through difficult times, a counselor offers therapy not available from friends and family. A Licensed Professional Counselor or LPC is interested in helping their clients make the right decisions and emotionally feel comfortable. Life is a journey, and it gets confusing at times, but those who are in need can release their fears and anxieties by talking to a counselor.

People see LPCs for emotional weight gain, vocational or retirement issues, marriage and family problems as well as inner conflicts and issues involving loss or grief. Qualified therapists provide assistance, so there is no need to struggle with these issues by themselves. With counseling, they have someone to listen and direct them into a safe place again.

The path of Education

The majority of students entering a counseling program have already decided on their career, but if you decide later, almost any Bachelor’s Degree is accepted for the Counseling Program. A BA or BS is required to be admitted into the graduate program, and the higher the grades, the better the application will be viewed. A Bachelor’s degree involves 120 credit hours of basic education, such as math, English, history, sociology, psychology, business or marketing along with classes chosen for your major. Many students who have already decided on a counseling career will major in psychology because it is so useful, but any major is acceptable. Grades over 3.4 GPA ensure that the student will make it into the graduate program they’ve apply to.

The Degree Required to be a Counselor

To enter the graduate program for a LPC, the student must apply and be accepted. The graduate program consists of at least 60 graduate credit hours, and there are three different counseling programs available.

• Mental Health
• Marriage and Family Therapy
• School Counseling

The educational requirements for the Master’s degree take approximately two years to complete. LPCs then must obtain one to two years of clinical experience under a licensed supervisor. At some point, the state licensing exam must be taken and passed, but it can be retaken with additional fees. Once the clinical experience has been completed, and the exam has been passed satisfactorily, the graduate begins their career. They can legally open a private office or work with another agency.

The title that the counselor uses usually depends on the scope of the practice they studied, such as Licensed Mental Health Counselor or LMHC, Marriage and Family Counselor or Professional School Counselor. A LPC is welcome to join professional associations and receive additional certificates. Typically, in less than eight years, a man or woman can be helping others in their dream of being a counselor.