If you’re considering a degree in counseling psychology, it’s helpful to know what types of jobs are available to graduates. While there are a variety of professional opportunities for counselors with this degree, many choose to work as adult counselors or sports psychologists. Understanding the positions you can get with this degree can help you choose courses that support the career you want and prepare you for professional success.
In this article, we explain what a counseling psychology degree is, describe the courses you take in this degree program, and list eight jobs you can do with a counseling psychology degree.
What is a counseling psychology degree?
A counseling psychology degree is a master’s program that focuses on psychology and treating patients with counseling. Counseling is the practice of having conversations with patients to help them process emotions and mental health issues. Before pursuing a counseling psychology degree, you earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field, like psychology or biological sciences. After earning a master’s in counseling psychology, you may pursue a Ph.D.
What courses do you take for a counseling psychology degree?
The courses you complete in a counseling psychology degree can vary depending on the school and the faculty. Researching the curriculum at each educational institution can help you determine which is best for you and your interests. Different universities require different amounts of foreign language or elective credits. These are some courses you may take during a counseling psychology degree:
Techniques in Counseling
Fundamentals of group counseling
History of Psychology
Advanced social psychology
Applied psychological measurement
Family interaction dynamics
8 jobs you can do with a counseling psychology degree
Learning more about counseling psychology jobs can help you determine if you want to pursue the degree and help you develop your professional career. These are some jobs you can get with a counseling psychology degree.
1. Crisis counselor
National average salary: $27,523 per year
Primary duties: Crisis counselors specialize in helping their patients cope with the trauma of major crises. They are highly skilled in recognizing and treating acute distress and mental instability. Crisis counselors can help patients ease some physical symptoms through emotional and mental counseling, as with phantom pain or a conversion disorder. These counselors focus on helping their clients return to normal life following a major event in their lives or society.
2. Adult counselor
National average salary: $33,350 per year
Primary duties: Adult counselors who work with adult clients to assess their symptoms and diagnose their conditions. These counselors talk with their patients about their emotions, experiences, thoughts, and plans for the future. Counselors monitor their patients for harmful or dangerous behavior and help develop effective treatment plans their patients can follow.
3. Counselor assistant
National average salary: $38,651 per year
Primary duties: Counseling assistants assist counselors and psychologists with their administrative duties. As a counseling assistant, you may schedule appointments, organize files, complete paperwork, and prepare materials for group sessions. You may attend counseling sessions, depending on the setting and the clients. Some counseling assistants help register new patients and coordinate counseling events.
4. Counseling department coordinator
National average salary: $45,569 per year
Primary duties: A counseling department coordinator, or coordinator of counseling programs, is the leader of long-term planning in counseling operations. They organize and plan expansive counseling policies and practices within an organization and communicate with counselors to determine their schedules and clientele. As a counseling coordinator, you establish much of the structure of the counseling programs within your organization.
5. Mental health technician
National average salary: $72,640 per year
Primary duties: Mental health technicians, or psychiatric technicians, are an important part of the mental health treatment program for patients. They help patients with mental health conditions by administering medication, assisting the counselors and psychologists during sessions, and monitoring the patient’s behavior and vital signs. Mental health technicians also complete paperwork for incidents and track how patients recover and progress.
6. Group therapist
National average salary: $75,334 per year
Primary duties: Group therapists counsel more than one client at a time. This can include dynamic groups, like families, but it often refers to groups of similar individuals. Group counseling sessions allow clients to share their feelings and learn more about how others experience their condition. A group therapist is skilled at conflict resolution and leading their clients through the discussion.
National average salary: $76,158 per year
Primary duties: Counseling or psychological researchers conduct experiments and organize studies to gather information about counseling effectiveness and create new practices. They can study both physical and emotional trauma and how patients can work through them during counseling sessions. Psychological researchers may be skilled in assessing brain scans and understanding how symptoms appear in their subjects.
8. Sports psychologist
National average salary: $94,168 per year
Primary duties: A sports psychologist studies how people behave and improve when playing and practicing competitive sports. They can work for sports teams, universities, and counseling offices. A sports psychologist may use a counseling psychology degree to counsel athletes and help them overcome injuries and psychological conditions. Sports psychologists are skilled at helping players overcome setbacks and improve their competitive performance and mental state.
Skills you can develop in a counseling psychology program
The courses in counseling psychology programs prepare students to be proficient as professionals in the field. These are some skills you can develop in a counseling psychology program:
Active listening: Active listening is the practice of providing the speaker with cues that you’re listening to them. This includes small nods or vocal indications of affirmation, and they’re important for counseling psychologists because they encourage their clients to continue sharing.
Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to assess a situation, determine the causes for an issue, and suggest viable solutions. Counseling psychology programs teach this by helping students assess symptoms and associate them with conditions.
Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand what someone else is feeling and treat them with care. This is important for counselors and psychologists because they often interact with mentally ill patients who respond well to care and empathetic treatment.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality is important for psychology-related professionals because they often work with sensitive information. Programs teach policies and procedures for keeping patient information secure and private.
Record keeping: Reviewing a patient’s history can often reveal a lot about their current status, so counselors and psychologists must keep consistent records. Programs help them learn this by teaching the process of taking notes and tracking patient behavior.
I hope you find this article helpful.