Counseling psychology is a popular sub-specialization within the field of psychology. It places an emphasis on organizational, developmental, social, educational, vocational, and emotional concerns that people experience, regardless of their age. A counseling psychologist aims to improve the way people function on a personal and interpersonal level. Essentially, they provide consultation on a person’s soul. To become a counseling psychology, you will have to go through quite a number of years of education, as you do have to hold a doctorate degree. This requires a significant investment in terms of both time and money. While the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports average annual earnings of $70,580 for counseling psychologists, and a projected job growth of 19% from 2014 to 2024, this is a big factor to consider. So why should you choose a counseling psychology degree?
1. You will work directly with people, talking to them, testing them, assessing them, monitoring them, and improving their overall outcomes.
2. You can work both with individuals and with groups.
3. You can help people who are experiencing specific long term difficulties, and equally with those who are facing a crisis situation. In fact, many counseling psychologists are employed directly by crisis teams, meaning they provide support whenever someone hits rock bottom.
4. Your insights into how to set goals and come up with realistic action plans can equally be applied to yourself and your loved ones, meaning you will improve your own mental well-being as well.
5. You can take on a supervisory role, working with interns or those who are studying to become psychologists.
6. You can perform research, creating consultation documents, analyzing data, evaluating results, and drawing important conclusions that can shape the nature of psychology as a whole.
7. There is a huge demand for your skills. With the stigma on mental health being broken slowly but surely, more people are now turning towards psychologists and therapists to help them manage their lives. In fact, in many cases, people no longer seek psychologists’ help to deal with an acute problem, but rather because they want to learn to understand themselves or improve themselves.
8. You have the opportunity to work with young people, so that any behavioral, family, or social difficulties they may be facing can be resolved before they start to negatively affect their lives.
9. You can work in a huge variety of settings. These include being self employed and running your own practice, but you could also work in a physician’s office, a mental health hospital, a school, a group practice, and more.
10. You can work in the community, addressing the mental health needs people have in response to the makeup of their community.
11. You could work for the military, playing a positive role in maintaining and improving the mental health of the brave women and men who have served or are serving to protect our country.
12. You could choose to work in vocational counseling, meaning you will work with young minds in trying to determine the best way forward for them in their future, providing them with advice on possible careers or which courses to take.
13. You could work for the government in a huge variety of roles. Many government officials require psychological help to deal with the stresses of their jobs. At the same time, public health officials want to determine the psychological impact of different health policies. Furthermore, there is now a huge requirement for psychologists in election campaigns, as their knowledge on how to influence voter behavior is invaluable.
14. You could work in the correctional system, making a positive impact on those who have been incarcerated, helping them to rebuild their lives. Having a direct influence on levels of recidivism is something many psychologists are very proud of, and quite rightly so.
15. You can have really flexible hours. The pay is quite substantial, particularly if you run a private office, and many counseling psychologists choose to only work part time, so that they can also enjoy their own personal lives.
16. You can embrace technology and deliver online counseling. This is particularly suitable for those who have also completed some of their degree online, which is becoming increasingly common. Through online counseling, you ensure that people who, for whatever reason, are unable to visit a psychologist’s office, can still receive the help they need.
17. You will have a very rewarding job. While not everybody can be helped, you will likely find that you can help in making a tremendous improvement in the lives of people you deal with, either directly or indirectly. Your goal as a counseling psychologist is to make people experience better mental well-being, and achieving that feels really good.
18. The counseling psychology degree itself, many believe, is one of the most interesting degrees. You will be exposed to some of humanity’s greatest thinkers, while at the same time learning about the influence of psychology on some of the greatest historical developments.
19. You can improve the world as a whole, volunteering or working in conflict zones or areas of natural disasters, helping the local population come to terms with what has happened around them and ensuring that they do not experience long term psychological difficulties as a result.
Psychology is an incredibly wide, and hugely varied feel. Counseling psychology is perhaps the most varied of all the specializations within the general field of psychology, because it can be applied to so many different situations. Some, for instance, only want to work with young people who experience very specific behavioral difficulties. Others, by contrast, want to work in research and develop theoretical approaches on how to best resolve potential future issues. The possibilities are truly endless, and you could work anywhere from the private to the public sector, and even in nonprofit organizations. While it certainly does take a lot of time, and costs a lot of money, to become a psychologist, most would agree that those resources make a fantastic investment into your own future, and that it is well worth making that investment.
- Psychology job forecast: Partly sunny. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2011/03/cover-sunny.aspx
- What is Counseling Psychology. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.div17.org/about-cp/what-is-counseling-psychology/
- Counseling Psychology. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3364
- Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015 – Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists. (2016, Mar. 6). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/Oes/current/oes193031.htm