What Can I Do with a Master's Degree in Counseling?

What can you do with a master's in counseling? A counseling major opens a diverse set of doors to various careers helping people and applying knowledge of human behavior. Read on to learn about some of the counseling and non-counseling careers available to someone with a graduate degree in the subject. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Master's in Counseling?

What can you do with a counseling degree? A master's in counseling prepares students for a number of careers. Students may wish to compare some of the different counseling positions available. A counseling major tends to be very flexible and can qualify students for a range of counseling positions, based on their personal interests and/or hands-on training experiences. A master's degree in counseling may qualify students to work as a:

  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Mental health counselor
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • School or career counselor
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Behavioral disorder counselor

Some of these positions may require a master's degree in a specific area of counseling, such as a master's in school counseling to become a school counselor, or a master's degree in counseling that leads to specific licensures, like those that are needed to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). Some of these programs, including master's in marriage and family counseling are available online.

Counselors can also work in a variety of settings, such as in a hospital or mental health center. Most counselors work full-time and may even need to meet with their clients outside of normal business hours.

Counseling Salary

Counseling salaries vary by a number of factors, including the kind of counseling position, experience, industry, etc. For example, an educational or school counseling salary is typically greater than that of a rehabilitation counselor, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the average annual salary for a school counselor was $60,160 in 2018 versus an average salary of $39,930 for a rehabilitation counselor in the same year. Compare and contrast some of the average salaries for several different counselors in the table below.

Counseling Position/IndustryAverage Annual Salary (2018)*
Educational Counselors in Elementary Schools$66,910
Educational Counselors at Junior Colleges$61,880
Rehabilitation Counselors with Insurance Carriers$61,410
Rehabilitation Counselors with Vocational Rehabilitation Services$35,860
Mental Health Counselors at Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals$46,720
Mental Health Counselors at Outpatient Care Centers$46,260
Marriage and Family Therapists with Religious Organizations$65,790
Marriage and Family Therapists with Individual and Family Services$49,790

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Else Can I Do with a Master's in Counseling?

Although a master's degree in counseling generally requires a lot of hard work and dedication for preparation to becoming a counselor, there are some closely related, alternative careers for counselors. These positions generally apply the principles of psychology, behavior, and communication that counselors are so well trained in, to other human behavior-related job duties. For example, some career options for school counselors who are looking for a change may include working as a special education teacher or a learning and development specialist.

Some of these alternative positions may require additional education, training, or certification, but generally allow counselor-trained employees to apply their compassion and skills in listening, problem-solving, and patience while working with others. Other careers that may be suitable for those with a master's in counseling include:

  • Social worker
  • Market research analyst
  • Parole or correctional officer
  • Psychologist

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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