What does a counselor do?

Counselors aid people with social, educational, personal, or medical problems. They help individuals and groups work with many issues, including mental health, school, college, career, employment, rehabilitation, aging, substance abuse, and marriage and family conflicts. A variety of specialties are available within this field, including school and career counseling, employment counseling, rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling, and genetic counseling.

What might a counselor do in a workday?

  • help individuals deal with problems such as addiction and substance abuse, family conflicts, suicidal feelings, stress, self-esteem, aging, and job or school concerns.
  • use interviews and observations to determine problem areas and the focus for counseling.
  • conduct personality, aptitude, achievement, and psychological tests.
  • formulate treatment plans and link clients with professional/community resources.
  • conduct workshops in special subjects, such as assertiveness, career development, interpersonal relationships, stress management, coping skills, and illness.
  • maintain records of tests and counseling sessions.
  • teach counselor education classes at universities and colleges.
  • conduct research and report results in professional journals.
  • work with other mental health specialists (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers).

Developing a career as a counselor?

Counselors work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, health care facilities, job training and vocational rehabilitation centers, correctional institutions, residential care facilities, schools, public assistance agencies, and substance abuse facilities. Many are employed in private practice and by health maintenance organizations and group practices.

How much does a counselor earn?

  • $28,000 - $55,000

How do I become a counselor?

Students interested in becoming counselors should prepare by taking the most challenging high school courses available in science, math, English, and psychology, including advanced placement courses.

Counselors must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. To move beyond entry level, postgraduate training is usually necessary. Some fields require a master’s degree and licensure or certification by taking a national exam. Contact the National Board for Certified Counselors for the most recent requirements. In Virginia, licensed professional counselors also must pass a written examination and have two years of postgraduate, full-time supervised experience.

Where else can I learn about becoming a counselor?

Virginia Counselors Association
316 Hodges Cove Road / Yorktown, VA  23692
tel: 800-225-8103 or 757-766-5466  /  web: http://www.vcacounselors.org

What are the state licensure requirements for counselors?

A license is required to practice counseling in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications, and forms, visit www.dhp.virginia.gov/counseling.

Virginia Board of Counseling
Perimeter Center / 9960 Maryland Drive, Suite 300 / Henrico, VA  23233-1463
tel:  804-367-4610

Educational Institutions in Virginia for Psychology: