The Career Doctor™

CHOOSING A CAREER IN COUNSELING?

Dear Career Doctor:

I have been working in social services for three years and really enjoy the work. I am thinking of going back to school to obtain a masters degree, but I am unsure of which field I should choose. I believe I would be equally satisfied and productive as a school counselor, a career counselor, a community counselor or substance abuse counselor. I don't know which type of program to choose. I want to be sure that I am able to find a job after graduation. I want to be sure I am marketable, and don't know if it is better to get a more specialized degree (school counseling) or a more general degree (community counseling).

S.

Dear S.:

There are very big differences between these four different kinds of counseling -- different clients and problems, and workplace settings. I can't believe that you would be equally satisfied working in a high school with kids as in a clinic with addicted adults.

Imagine yourself in each setting and see which makes you most comfortable and satisfied. I also suggest that you visit several actual counseling centers. Talk to some of the staff, and see how if feels to be there.

Call schools that offer these Masters degrees, and ask what percent of their students have jobs upon graduation. You can ask what kinds of jobs they get and what the salaries are. If programs officials or the Career Center at the schools won't answer those questions, I would be reluctant to enter the program.

The Career Doctor

 

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