Counseling Psychology Careers

What is a Counseling Psychologist?

Counseling Psychologists specialize in facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning in patients of all ages. A specialty of professional psychology, Counseling Psychology addresses emotional, vocational, social, educational, health, and developmental issues.

Counseling Psychologists provide a wide range of services to different client populations. They counsel patients in therapeutic settings, to improve their overall mental health and well-being. They assist patients by talking through their challenges and providing them with tools and skills to improve their quality of life.


What is a Counseling Psychologist Responsible For?

Counseling Psychologists are primarily generalists that work with individuals across the lifespan. They counsel a diverse population to address a wide range of problems.

Counseling Psychologists work with people to improve their lives by focusing on stress reduction, emotional health, crisis resolution, and enhancing the functionality of maladaptive behaviors.  

A Counseling Psychologist addresses developmental issues in addition to physical, emotional and mental-health concerns. They develop plans of treatment, brief or long-term therapy, to implement goal-directed interventions.

Most refer severely mentally ill patients to Psychiatrists who have specialized training in mental-health disorders.


Where Does a Counseling Psychologist Work?

Counseling Psychologists work just about anywhere there are people in need. Frequently, they are found working in either private or group practices. Others practice in hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. Counseling Psychologists can be found at universities and colleges, providing support for the student body.

Some prefer to counsel active military or veterans, often assisting them with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), dealing with loss, transitioning to civilian life, or depression.

A Counseling Psychologist is an essential team member in substance-abuse rehab facilities and community mental-health centers. They work with people in a therapeutic setting, using talk therapy and directed communication to help people work through the challenges they face.


What Other Career Options are Available to a Counseling Psychologist?

Apart from the traditional career trajectory of private or group practice, Counseling Psychology Jobs have many options to implement their skills. Some of the counseling opportunities include assisting people with the following:

  •         Career Guidance
  •         Child Abuse
  •         Age-Related Issues
  •         Mental-Health and PTSD
  •         Marital Problems
  •         Suicide Intervention
  •         Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation
  •         Domestic Violence
  •         Corporate Consulting

What Kind of Degree is Necessary to Become a Counseling Psychologist?

Most start out by earning a bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s degree. Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Counseling Psychology is highly recommended. The career opportunities available to Counseling Psychologists directly relates to their credentials.

Most practicing psychologists have a PhD or PsyD in Counseling Psychology.  A license is generally required by the state in which they practice.  Educational and research institutions generally do not require a doctorate degree, but do require a master’s degree in Psychology.


What is the Required Coursework for a Counseling Psychology Degree?

Coursework varies depending on the degree. The prospective doctoral student would do well to pursue an undergraduate education that offers classes in psychology, counseling, and communication.

The PhD candidate must complete a dissertation for degree completion. A student pursuing the PsyD degree is seeking a clinical degree aimed at more practical application of psychology than the PhD candidate. The PsyD degree replaces the dissertation with an examination series.

The prospective PsyD Counseling Psychologist must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) on completion of their studies.

Doctoral candidates in both degree programs take classes in the following.

  •         Vocational Psychology
  •         Developmental Psychology
  •         Social Psychology
  •         Multicultural Psychology
  •         Counseling
  •         Psychological Measurement
  •         Human Lifespan Development
  •         Psychotherapy
  •         Research Design
  •         Ethics


How Much Does a Counseling Psychologist Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average salary is 76,000 dollars in traditional settings. Many practitioners work in private practice where there are opportunities to earn more. Those working in organizations or industrial settings make a median income of 87,000.  

Geographic location and level of degree factor prominently in income potential with urban counseling and doctorate degrees in higher demand. Experience is a significant element in determining compensation.