Counselor educational and licensure qualifications vary depending on the state where you're looking to practice. Most states require counselors to have completed a masters degree. Some will accept a bachelors degree as long as certain counseling course requirements have been completed. The type of degree you earn will depend on the specialty you are interested in pursuing. Degrees are generally in psychology or education. The core of your coursework will focus on human growth and development, social and cultural diversity, relationship and career development, and professional identity. Graduate studies generally include a period of supervised clinical counseling experience. Licensure often involves meeting periodic continuing education requirements.
Those looking towards a career in counseling should possess a strong desire to help others. Counselors need to inspire confidence and trust in their clients. It is important to be able to create a relaxed and calming environment in order for clients to feel secure and comfortable. If you're thinking about becoming a counselor, make sure you have the emotional strength to take on the stress of other people's problems on a daily basis.
Most states require counselors to complete a specified number of practical hours after graduation before becoming qualified to apply for licensure. Consult your state licensing board for licensing requirements.
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