Counselor

What does a Counselor do?

Counselors aid people with social, educational, personal or medical problems. They help individuals and groups work with many issues, including mental health, school, college, career, employment, rehabilitation, aging, substance abuse and marriage and family conflicts. A variety of specialties are available within this field, including school and career counseling, employment counseling, rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling and genetic counseling.

What might a Counselor do in a workday?

Generally, counselors:

  • help individuals deal with problems such as addiction and substance abuse, family conflicts, suicidal feelings, stress, self-esteem, aging, and job or school concerns.
  • use interviews and observations to determine problem areas and the focus for counseling.
  • conduct personality, aptitude, achievement and psychological tests.
  • formulate treatment plans and link clients with professional/community resources.
  • conduct workshops in special subjects, such as assertiveness, career development, interpersonal relationships, stress management, coping skills and illness.
  • maintain records of tests and counseling sessions.
  • teach counselor education classes at universities and colleges.
  • conduct research and report results in professional journals.
  • work with other mental health specialists (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers).

Developing a Career as a Counselor

Counselors work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, health care facilities, job training and vocational rehabilitation centers, correctional institutions, residential care facilities, schools, public assistance agencies and substance abuse facilities. Many are employed in private practice and by health maintenance organizations and group practices.

How much salary do Counselor's make?

Average Salary Range
$28,000-$55,000

How do I become a Counselor?

Students interested in becoming counselors should prepare by taking the most challenging high school courses available in science, math, English and psychology, including advanced placement courses.

Counselors must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. To move beyond entry level, postgraduate training is usually necessary. Some fields require a master’s degree and licensure or certification by taking a national exam. Contact the National Board for Certified Counselors for the most recent requirements. In Virginia, licensed professional counselors also must pass a written examination and have two years of postgraduate, full-time supervised experience.

Where else can I learn about becoming a Counselor?

Professional Associations

Virginia Counselors Association
316 Hodges Cove Road
Yorktown, VA 23692
(800) 225-8103
(757) 766-5466
www.vcacounselors.org

State Licensure Requirements for Counselors

A license is required to practice counseling in the state of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications and forms, visit www.dhp.virginia.gov/counseling.

Virginia Board of Counseling
Perimeter Center
9960 Maryland Drive
Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
(804) 367-4610
Email: coun@dhp.virginia.gov

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