Counselors work in a number of different fields. It is possible to work in peer counseling, to provide drug counseling, job counseling, to be a high school or other school guidance counselor or to be a professional therapist, among others. The specifics of the education which you will need depend upon what type of counseling service you wish to provide and whether your employer requires an advanced degree or not.
Education and credentials
Therapists and psychiatrist There are various types of counseling positions which you may wish to hold. If you become a therapist, for example, you will counsel clients either individually or one to one to help them to get through mental problems which they are facing or to adjust behaviour. Therapists may be psychiatrists, which are actual medical doctors. If you become a psychiatrist, then you will need to go to medical school and obtain a medical degree, complete a residency and become board certified. You do not, however, have to become a psychiatrist to be a therapist or a counselor. It is also common for individuals to obtain degrees in either psychology or social work in order to become counselors. In this case, you cannot prescribe medicine like a psychiatrist can. However, you can still provide counseling services to one to one or group clients. A school counselor To become a counselor in a school or to open your own counseling practice, for example, it is common only to obtain a masters degree in one of these two fields. Usually, an undergraduate degree alone will not be sufficient.
Becoming a counselor also often requires that you get experience in the field. Most employers who hire counselors, and most clients who seek therapists, wish to have someone who has actual real world experience providing counseling services. Student clinics You can gain the experience you need to get a counselor job when you are going to school in most cases, by participating in student clinics where you provide therapy services to people who come to the clinic looking for help. The patients who come get the benefit of lower cost, or even sometimes free, counseling service while you get to work on your skills and get feedback from professors who are licensed therapists.