While many hospitals, outpatient clinics, treatment centers, residential care facilities, community agencies, and other mental health organizations prefer candidates who have licensure and years of experience, it is important to realize that there are plenty of entry-level counseling jobs available too.
Whether you have recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in the human health services or a master's degree in counseling, entry-level jobs are the best way to discover your career interests and build your resume for landing more advanced leadership roles in the future.
Depending on your own individual skill sets, the following are some of the most popular entry-level counseling jobs to get on the right track to career success.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Also referred to as addiction counselors, substance abuse counselors provide their counseling services to individuals who are struggling to overcome alcoholism or other drug addictions. Substance abuse counselors are typically responsible for evaluating clients' mental health, developing treatment plans, helping clients develop skills to recover from addiction, teaching coping strategies, and referring clients to other resources for the road to recovery. Addictions counselors can find employment opportunities in hospitals, residential treatment facilities, prisons, juvenile detention centers, and drug treatment centers. While those with more education are able to provide private one-on-one counseling sessions with less supervision, substance abuse counselors usually are required to have at least a high school diploma or bachelor's degree with a long period of on-the-job training.
With the incredible responsibility of counseling students through one of the biggest transitions into adulthood, college counselors often specialize their work in admissions, career services, psychological services, or academic counseling. In all of these roles, college counselors are responsible for providing individualized attention to students who are in the midst of making crucial life decisions about coursework, job searching, financial aid, or graduation. While most work at two or four-year college campuses, some college counselors can find employment in high schools and preparatory schools to ease the transition to independence. Along with on-the-job training and orientation, college counselors who do not provide formal psychological care usually are required to simply have a bachelor's degree in a related field.
If you have a propensity for working with children and adolescents, becoming a juvenile counselor can be a rewarding option for helping troubled youth become happy, healthy, and productive citizens of our society. Within the court system, juvenile counselors work with young people who were convicted of crimes and may be on parole or probation. Juvenile counselors may also find employment in schools, group homes, juvenile halls, private practices, and treatment facilities. Juvenile counselors are often responsible for managing individual cases, providing counseling, and supervising delinquents following court orders. In order to qualify for entry-level positions as a juvenile counselor, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in social work, psychology, counseling, or criminal justice with on-the-job training.
Although it is true that counselors usually need to pursue higher education, receive specialized training, accumulate years of experience, and develop a rapport with clients to advance to supervisory positions, finding entry-level counseling jobs is the perfect way to start building your career in the in-demand profession. After all, these excellent entry-level counseling jobs can provide the experience needed to determine your specific career interests and gain admissions into a CACREP-accredited master's program for increased job opportunities.
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