What does the counseling profession entail?
Professional Counselors are graduate-level (either master’s or doctoral degree) mental health service providers, trained to work with individuals, families, and groups in treating mental, behavioral, and emotional problems and disorders.
A Professional Counselor will possess a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the following areas:
- Addiction Counseling
- Career Counseling
- Clinical Mental Health or Community Agency Counseling
- Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
- School Counseling
- Student Affairs and College Counseling
- Gerontological Counseling, or
- Counselor Education & Supervision
Becoming a Counselor
- Obtain Bachelor’s Degree as a prerequisite, in a liberal arts major
- Obtain Master’s Degree in a counseling program
The national accrediting bodies for counseling programs include: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP)
and Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).
- CACREP is an independent agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit master's degree programs in Counseling and related Education Programs.
Review CACREP here.
- CORE accredits graduate programs which provide academic preparation for a variety of professional rehabilitation counseling positions.
Review CORE here.
After completion of graduate-level coursework, in order to find meaningful employment, professional counselors have the option(s) to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and/or a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) certification program recognizes counselors who have met predetermined standards in their training, experience and performance on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), the most portable credentialing examination in counseling. Read more.
The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. CRCC sets the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services through its internationally recognized certification program. Read more
For more information regarding professional licensure and requirements contact your state board.
Considering a PhD
A doctorate is not necessary to practice; most practitioners are educated at the masters-level.
A doctorate is for professionals who want to become expert Researchers, Educators, Supervisors, or Consultants.