Counseling Psychology as a Career
If you are interested in a career in mental health, a career that might be a perfect fit for you is Counseling Psychology. In general, Counselors focus more on therapeutic interventions and techniques that allow individuals to work through different challenges and establish coping skills. A degree in Counseling Psychology offers you the chance to work in a variety of different areas. For example, with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology you will be able to provide services in the areas of substance abuse, vocational counseling, marriage, and family, schools, etc. A Master's degree in Counseling Psychology typically is completed on a full-time basis within 2 years. The courses you will take are varied and include topics such as human development, ethics, multicultural issues, and therapeutic techniques. As graduate courses, the amount of coursework can be intense at times but (as you can imagine) you will earn a lot. Finally, most Master's programs require you to participate in an internship where you apply your skills and work in the field--you will be supervised by licensed professionals who provide feedback. If you decide to get a PhD in Counseling Psychology, you must first complete a Master's thesis and complete additional coursework. Earning a PhD can take 5-6 years.
In thinking about getting a degree in Counseling Psychology, make sure to check whether the program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). A CACREP accredited programs allows you to take a certification exam, like the National Counselor Exam (NCE) or Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (CMHCE) while you are in a graduate program. These exams lead to certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or the appropriate certification board for your state. In addition, you should probably check, if you go to a PhD program, if the program is APA accedited. One reason APA acceditation is important is hat certain government (and other) jobs required their employees to graduate from an APA accredited school.
With your degree you will be able to pursue a license to practice psychology in the state where you get a job. Each state has specific requirements to be licensed, including the number of hours post-graduate that are supervised by a licensed professional.
A final point about Counseling Psychology is that there continues to be a need for counselors.
Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.
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