Help Heal Individuals and Communities as a Counselor

How to become a counselor

The minimum education requirement to work as a counselor in the United States is a master’s degree, and state licensure and certification are also required. Read through our guides for more on your specific state’s requirements.

What is counseling?

Counseling is a profession in which counselors work with individuals and communities to help them with various challenges, traumas, and life’s issues. Keep reading for more on the role of a counselor and the various types of counselors that exist.

Job and salary prospects for counselors

Overall, the counseling profession is slated to grow 18 percent in the next ten-year period, making this a high-growth profession with a lot of demand. Over 42.000 job openings are expected each year.

Help Others with a Counseling Degree

There are different levels of counseling degrees, from bachelor’s through a Ph.D. To work as a counselor in the United States, you will often need at least a master’s degree- but everyone must start somewhere. If you are just beginning your educational journey, you will want to read our guides on associate and bachelor’s degree in counseling. If you are further along, then a master’s in counseling may be your next step. You can become a counselor even if you hold a bachelor’s degree in another field, but you may have additional requirements.


Bachelor’s Degree

The undergraduate degree for a career in counseling could be a Bachelor of Science in Counseling or Psychology. While a bachelor’s degree is not enough to become a licensed counselor, these degrees can lay the foundation for a graduate degree and a career in counseling. Most bachelor’s programs are 120 credit hours, and some can be completed online.

Master of Science in Counseling

A master’s degree in counseling is what will qualify you for a career as a counselor. Whether you want to work in mental health, substance abuse or with an aging population, you will need a valid license, issued by your state. Once you’ve earned a master’s degree in counseling, you can sit for the licensure examination.

Ph.D. in Counseling

If you are focused on the research aspects of counseling, and do not necessarily want to see patients as a licensed counselor, then you may be interested in a Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D. People with a Ph.D. may also work in business, in leadership or management roles.

Associate Degree in Counseling

An Associate Degree in Counseling is a great stepping-stone to further your education in the counseling field. While you cannot work as a counselor, you can start your education and become employed in the counseling field while you further your education.

Ed.D. in Counseling

Another path for doctorate education in counseling is with a Doctor of Education, or Ed.D. degree. An Ed.D. is for someone who is interested in working professionally as a counselor. The Ed.D. usually requires a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

PsyD in Counseling Psychology

Another doctorate-level option is a Doctor of Psychology, or PsyD. The PsyD is for students who want to bring more to their clinical practice, and some schools offer this option instead of a Ph.D. If you are interested in furthering your counseling practice, a PsyD may be for you.

Stay in touch

What Can you Do with a Degree in Counseling?

Choosing a Specialization

As you begin your journey to becoming a counselor, you may already know exactly what type of counseling you want to work in, or you may still need to choose a specialization. Depending on how far along you are in deciding a specialization, you can choose a degree program that fits. If you are unsure, you can choose a program with broader curriculum – that way, you can learn about the different areas of counseling and decide on a specialization later. Or, if you are certain of your path, you can choose a specific degree, like one in Substance Abuse Counseling, to specialize early on. To help, we’ve created guides about the different types of counselors to help you narrow down a specialization.

Scholarships and funding

Since a master’s degree is required to work as a counselor, this career path may feel financially out of reach. However, there are lots of scholarships available to people who want to become a counselor, and there are also public and private financial aid programs that can help you achieve your dream. Other options to consider include tuition assistance from an employer or getting help from family or friends. We’ve provided a list of counseling scholarships for you to explore on your way to a dream career as a counselor.

Contact Us