What Can You Do with a Degree in Counseling Careers?

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A degree in one of many counseling careers could be the perfect fit for you, if you have a passion for working directly with people and a knack for compassion and understanding. Within this versatile degree program, you will learn essential skills for providing a wide range of counseling services to clients in a variety of settings. From marriage and family counselors, to addiction specialists, there are many different opportunities available to who have graduated with a Counseling degree.

UPDATE:  You can now earn your Counseling degree online

In addition to the various specializations within counseling, some graduates utilize their knowledge to apply for other job positions across a range of different fields. This is good news for those who are still trying to decide on a career in counseling vs. social work, for example.

Whether you are interested in working with a non-profit organization or running community outreach programs within your region, the skills you learn during the course of your Counseling degree program are marketable for a variety of employment opportunities.

In the table below, we have put together a list of 40 different career paths related to a Counseling degree. You can use this information to get a general overview of what to expect after graduation and help you choose an academic path that best supports your long-term goals!

Job Title Job Summary

Median Pay

Clinical Director Oversees an organization’s clinical departments to help plan and coordinate the delivery of patient care.


Director of Counseling Works on a school campus as the head of a counseling department and is responsible for managerial duties and providing counseling services.


Assistant Professor, Postsecondary Teaches courses within their specialized field (i.e. Counseling) and works to advise and mentor students.


Executive Director, Non-Profit Organization Top level position in a non-profit organization that is responsible for all daily operations and supervision of staff.


Counseling Psychologist Mental health professional who works with patients in a variety of ways to improve their mental, behavioral, or emotional health.


Board Certified Behavior Analyst Responsible for creating plans to help clients from children to adults with behavioral concerns, mental health issues, and disabilities.


Behavior Analyst Responsible for teaching support professionals, teachers, and parents how to effectively implement behavior support plans.


Program Director, Non-Profit Supervises program coordinators and helps to develop and implement community activities and the programs of their non-profit organization.


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Professional that specializes in assessing and treating psychological issues within families and couples.


Psychotherapist Assists and counsels individuals, groups, or families with identifying trauma and psychological issues.


Guidance Counselor Key member of a school’s faculty that is responsible for assisting students with achieving their educational goals.


School Counselor Works within the school setting to help students achieve academic goals and social or personal development.


Program Manager, Non-Profit Organization Handles the projects of a non-profit organization to ensure that they are in line with the foundation’s stated mission and goals.


Life Coach Works with a wide range of clients by providing counseling therapy and other resources to help them improve their overall wellness.


Licensed Professional Counselor Works in a number of different environments to provide care to those with mental illnesses, disorders, or imbalances.


Marriage/Family Therapist Works with individuals, couples, and families on issues surrounding their personal relationships.


Mental Health Clinician Helps treat and diagnose individuals who have psychological issues by utilizing a variety of techniques.


Career Counselor Helps their clients find appropriate career paths and connect them with links to potential employment opportunities.


Mental Health Therapist Counseling professional that uses a variety of psychological methods to conduct therapy for clients.


Admissions Representative Works for a college or university to scout out new students and help them enroll within their institution.


Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) Typically works in a medical or treatment facility to assist clients in overcoming struggles of addiction.


Child Counselor Consults with teachers and parents, administers aptitude tests, and coordinates special needs services and counseling for children.


Academic Advisor Works in higher education to help both current and incoming students make appropriate decisions regarding their education.


Behavior Specialist Typically employed within the healthcare industry to assess special needs clients and devise behavioral plans.


Community Outreach Coordinator Represents their organization in the public setting to develop outreach activities and evaluate the needs of their community.


Program Coordinator, Non-Profit Organization Acts as the face of a charitable or social service organization to oversee staff members and promote the message of their non-profit.


Mental Health Counselor Healthcare workers who treat and diagnose mental health problems and illnesses.


Applied Behavior Analysist (ABA) Home Therapist Works with children and teenagers with autism and intellectual disabilities to develop communication and daily living skills within the home setting.


Admissions Officer Responsible for coordinating admissions efforts for their organization, including student recruitment and responding to student inquiries.


Case Manager Helps recovering addicts, the elderly, and other at-risk populations by providing advice and guidance to improve their lives.


Chemical Dependency Counselor Develops individual intervention, treatment, and recovery plans for those who are suffering from drug, alcohol, or chemical dependencies.


Crisis Counselor Works directly with clients who have been through a crisis situation by providing counseling support and resources.


Certified Addiction Drug and Alcohol Counselor Helps clients overcome the struggle of addiction from drugs, alcohol, or gambling by providing evaluation and counselling services.


Addiction Counselor Works directly with patients who have problems with substance abuse by offering counseling and support.


Admissions Counselor Helps individuals coming into a college or university to understand admissions requirements and map their studies.


Substance Abuse Counselor Provides therapy to individuals who are struggling with mental health issues related to alcohol and/or drug use.


Behavior Therapist Works in a clinical setting and utilizes behavioral techniques to assist with the treatment of various mental health disorders.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist Primarily responsible for the care and treatment of children with autism, and works one-on-one with clients and families to implement appropriate therapies.


Victim Advocate Works directly with the victims of various crimes, such as domestic violence, to help them find the service and support they need.


Community Support Worker Medical workers that are responsible for creating a pleasant environment for disabled people in a day program or group home.


*Data sourced through Payscale.com

What can you do with a Counseling Degree?

Many students enter into a Counseling degree program with the intention of providing one-on-one counseling services to patients in need of support or behavioral and mental health treatment. This can be accomplished through a private counseling practice or by finding employment in the school or healthcare settings. As you can see from the information above, there are a number of different specializations within a Counseling degree that you can choose from to further develop the skills needed for the professional workplace.

In the above career table, we listed the average median annual salaries for the different jobs associated with the field of counseling. You may have noticed that there is a wide-range of average wages, and your specific licensure, specialization, and experience can have a big impact on the salary that you earn. While you may make more or less than the numbers listed above, the majority of counseling careers are at or above the national average salary across all occupations.

What is a Counseling Degree?

A Counseling degree programs focuses on developing your communication and emotional intelligence skillset while introducing you to a wide range of cognitive and behavioral therapy methods. You will likely delve into in-depth analysis of psychology and counseling theories throughout the course of your program to help you fully understand the wide range of situations that you will face throughout your counseling career.

Most accredited universities offer Counseling degrees starting at the bachelor’s level, although the majority of students go on to earn graduate degrees in order to meet state licensing requirements and practice in a professional environment. During your course study, you will be able to choose a concentration within your degree program that may include the following options:

  • Christian Counseling
  • Addiction Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Mental Health Counseling

Regardless of the specialization you choose, you will likely be required to complete in-person internships and fieldwork within a variety of environments in order to successfully graduate from the program and obtain professional licensure.

If you are interested in working towards your degree at your own pace, we suggest looking into the different online counseling degrees. Many accredited universities now offer virtual degree programs within this field that make it possible for students to juggle the demands of career or family obligations.

Counseling Career Outlook

The future of those working within the field of mental health is looking bright, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows overall positive growth trends through the year 2029. This is due in large part to the increased awareness of the importance of mental health and the expanded insurance coverage now available for counseling and therapy services. When considering a career in Counseling, it is always a good idea to look at the statistical job information for the specific career you are interested in pursuing, as the different specializations often have varying employment trends.

For example, the BLS projects that mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists will see 22% occupational growth by 2029. Those working as school and career counselors will see an 8% increase in jobs, while substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors can expect a growth rate of 25%! These numbers are all at or well above the national average growth across all occupations, which is excellent news for those looking to pursue a degree in Counseling!

Counseling is a highly rewarding field that will put your professional skills to the test through a wide range of job responsibilities. As a counselor you will have the opportunity to help others work through challenging life situations and see their progress as they make healthy changes in their thought processes and emotional management. If this sounds like a career you would enjoy, a degree in Counseling will open the door to a number of exciting and fulfilling professional job opportunities!

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.