Demand for appropriate personnel to study counselling has never been greater. Counselling occupations have evolved a way beyond the traditional roles of school therapists and spiritual counsellors. In 21st century living, counselling career demands have become more specialised, multi-faceted and much more complex. Those who embark on counselling as a career know it will be rewarding but challenging, vital and tough work.
Counselling nowadays also necessitates higher standards of education than previous generations given the complicated lives we need. This is a worrying reflection of modern day society and our sometimes inability of at least some to meet our pressurised lifestyles. We examine three different counselling jobs, from mental health to the still evolving genetic counselling.
Counselling Careers – Mental health counselling
This category of counselling is most top of mind when folk refer to counselling careers. Counselling in this sector encompasses many specialist forms, for example, grief counselling and marriage counselling as well as rehabilitation counselling. This is because mental health is dependent on a wide array of variables. It also means that even though standard counselling diplomas and degrees are on offer from accredited tertiary education institutions, it’s best to select a focus subject for postgraduate study.
The different mental health problems that counsellors are most likely to encounter, include:
- obsessive compulsive disorder,
- bipolar disorder,
- paranoid personality disorder,
- anxiety and
- phobias and irrational fears.
Counselling work environments in which you could work include support groups, schools, police departments, rehabilitation centres and hospitals.
Counselling jobs aren’t necessarily as well paid as certain other mental health careers, for example, psychology or psychiatry. Salaries depend on different factors such as place of employment, education and experience. To cite an example: a counsellor at an NGO can earn less than a counsellor at a rehab clinic whose clientele include the rich and famous. According to PayScale, a mental health counsellor can earn from $27,000 up to $70,000.
Counsellors may not get the higher salary of their psychologist counterparts; however they need to study solidly for a degree. If you select to work as a counsellor, you will need at least a bachelor degree but master’s degrees are more favourable. Australia presents numerous pathways to counselling degrees, beginning with TAFE certificates and diplomas and finishing with postgraduate studies. Courses include:
- Bachelor of Human Services (Counselling)
- Graduate Diploma in Community Counselling
- Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Postgraduate Diploma of Social Health and Counselling
- aster in Counselling
- Master of Social Science (Professional Counselling)
- Doctor of Counselling
Counselling careers – Rehabilitation counselling
This variance of counselling has nothing to do with addictions. Rather that the job involves working with people who have physical injuries or disabilities. Or those who have social disadvantages (University of Sydney). It is a collaborative process that will require input from physicians, psychologists and caregivers. Such a process includes the client, immediate family.
Rehabilitation counselling is one of the most lucrative jobs in the industry as PayScale estimates an average salary is between $48,400 and $82,700.
According to Wikipedia, in the US, the minimum education requirement for rehabilitation counsellors is a master’s degree. We can reasonably assume that similar standards are appropriate globally. TAFE institutes and universities in Australia provide opportunities for students to obtain postgraduate counselling qualifications with courses that include:
- Graduate Certificate in Service Coordination and Rehabilitation
- Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Counselling
- Master of Rehabilitation Counselling
- Master of Health Sciences
- Master of Human Services with Honours in Rehabilitation Counselling
Counselling careers – Genetic counselling
Some diseases are genetic; the child inherits from the parent. Modern medicine is so skilled; health care professionals can identify many of these diseases and estimate the odds of transmitting the disorder between generations. Genetic counselling entails:
- examining a family’s medical history and records
- determining the level of health risk and
- counselling couples so that they can make an informed choice about the pregnancy.
If a couple agrees to proceed with the pregnancy, counsellors then give them the support and guidelines essential to minimise the risks involved and adapt to life given potential worst case scenarios. Parents of children with genetic disorders can also consult counsellors for their guidance and support.
Genetic counselling is a highly specialised career. Such career professionals require well-qualified medical knowledge and high-level counselling skills. These skills are essential so that you can provide clients with the best possible comprehensive support. As a highly specialised career, genetically counselling is also reasonably well paid. Salary estimates hover between $70,000 and $80,000.
People migrate to genetic counselling from a variety of careers. These include psychology, social work, midwifery and science, but such professionals have to complete a qualification in specialised genetic counselling. Courses available include:
- Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling
- Master of Science with Honours in Genetic Counselling
- Master of Genetic Counselling
Counselling careers extend far outside the long-established roles of the family or addictions counsellor. If you choose to work in counselling, you have considerable options from which to choose. Some are more specialised and technically demanding than others. The common denominator these jobs share, however, is that they require an excellent education. These levels of education include counselling degrees, graduate diplomas and postgraduate qualifications.
Training.com.au promotes a range of online and classroom-based courses that you can complete part-time or full-time to assist you with an entry to a successful counselling career.