General Counseling Psychology

If you're a good listener who enjoys helping others, and you're interested in how the human mind works, the study of general counseling psychology may be of interest to you. Read on to find out more about education, earnings and job growth for counseling psychologists.

Is General Counseling Psychology for Me?

Career Overview

As a counseling psychologist, you'll use talk therapy and other counseling techniques to help your clients address everyday issues and crises, working to find the causes of problems and developing treatment plans. In addition to an understanding of human psychology, human behavior and practical counseling, you'll need to be compassionate and a good communicator to succeed as a counselor. As a qualified professional, you might work in private practice, as part of a group or for an agency; evening and weekend sessions are usually required to accommodate client schedules. If a problem goes beyond your area of expertise, you may refer your client to a professional colleague.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned a median annual salary of $67,760 in May 2013. The BLS also predicted that employment of psychologists working in these positions would increase by 11% nationwide from 2012-2022, which is about average. Those holding a doctoral degree in a specialized area are likely to have the most job opportunities (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in General Counseling Psychology?

Undergraduate Preparation

A Bachelor of Science in Psychology program can help you begin preparing for a career as a counselor. Undergraduate psychology programs typically offer a broad selection of courses, including topics in health psychology, psychological research methods and social psychology.

Master's Degree Programs

Most master's degree programs, such as those that lead to a Master of Science in Psychology, allow you to specialize in a specific area, including cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, or counseling psychology. Master's degree programs in counseling offer advanced training in counseling theory, intervention methods and multicultural counseling. Additional degree requirements can include a clinical practicum or an internship with practicing professionals and/or a thesis.

Doctoral Programs

Areas of specialization found in a master's degree program may be continued at the doctoral level. You could also pursue a new area of interest, such as behavioral neurobiology or social psychology. Degree requirements typically include independent research and a dissertation. Completion of a Doctor of Psychology (Psych.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology program is usually required before you can begin practicing professionally.

Certification and Licensing

Most states require counselors to be licensed and certified. In addition, you can obtain professional certifications in your specialized practice areas, which may contribute to increased job opportunities and advanced positions.

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