3 minute read

General Counselor

Education and Training: Master’s degree
Average Salary: $38,000
Job Outlook: Very good

Job Description

Anyone interested in general counseling needs to have a strong interest in people and helping others. They need to be someone that people will trust, respect, and who can generally provide inspiration. General counselors can work in a variety of situations within the community providing support and rehabilitation.

The duties of a general counselor will vary according to where they work, and the population served. General counselors may work with children, adolescents, adults, and families. They may deal with mental health disorders, addictions or disabilities, or may help those who have trouble with schooling or employment, while some clients will have suffered trauma. The counselor needs to recognize which particular issue is troubling the client in order to provide appropriate support and counseling.

A counselor who chooses to work within the educational system may be providing support to individuals or groups, and can deal with personal, career, or educational problems. They can work with elementary, high school, and post-secondary school children.

Some general counselors will choose to work with people who have both physical and emotional disabilities, while others will work as mental health counselors treating mental and emotional disorders. General counseling also includes marriage and family therapists.

Education and Training Requirements

A Master’s degree is the minimum qualification required to become a licensed general counselor, although the education and training requirements often very according to the state. There are numerous counselor education programs available in colleges and universities which may focus on specific fields of study. Some employers may offer additional training for newly qualified counselors, and it’s often a requirement for counselors to participate in the personal studies, workshops, and graduate studies in order to maintain their licenses.

Getting the Job

It’s essential to check that the licensing regulations for the state in which you wish to practice as it can vary considerably. Some counselors may also choose to be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors, and although this is voluntary it can improve job prospects. Becoming more highly qualified will give you a better choice of jobs.

Job prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job prospects are pretty favorable for general counselors, especially for anyone wishing to work in a rural area. Some general counselors may go on to become supervisors, researchers, or teachers, especially those who have doctorates. They can also choose to open their own private practice, or to become an administrator in an agency.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working environment for a general counselor can vary according to the specialization. Anybody choosing to work with school-age children will probably be based in schools, and much of their work may be conducted in classrooms although they are also likely to have an office. Other general counselors may be working in private practice and can choose to see clients throughout the day. Others may be working in a hospital environment, or provide services within the community.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary of a general counselor is around $38,000, although those specializing in education or marriage counseling can expect to earn slightly more. The most highly paid counselors will earn more than $75,000, while the lowest paid will earn around $30,000.

Where to Go for More Information

American Counseling Association
5999 Stevenson Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22304
(800) 347-6647

American School Counselors Association
1101 King St., Ste. 625
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-2722

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
American Counseling Association
1001 N. Fairfax St., Ste. 510
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 739-6209

National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403
(336) 547-0607

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine