Entry-Level Counseling Careers

Though most counseling roles require a high level of qualification, plenty of entry-level counseling roles exist. They require that the applicant has a minimum qualification of a two-year associate's degree or a four-year full bachelor’s degree. It's the perfect way to build experience and hone your skills for a future advanced counseling career.

Once qualified, you will most likely need licensure. Typical entry-level roles include substance abuse counselor, school counselor, and career counselor.

Entry-Level Counseling Requirements

What you will need to be eligible for most entry-level counseling careers:

  • A two-year associate's degree or four-year bachelor's degree in a counseling or psychology discipline
  • Not all jobs specify a GPA. Those that do will usually be between 2.5 and 3.0
  • Weekend and evening availability may be required due to work pattern of potential clients
  • Pass any required FBI or DOJ screenings for patient safety
  • Health screening tests may be required if the job means operating from a clinic or hospital
  • Valid driver’s license may also be requested, depending on whether the role requires travel
  • Current license related to role
  • Certification is often optional but sometimes mandatory (for example if working as a Behavior Therapist, employers may ask for ABA certification)

Learn More About How to Become a Counselor

Choosing the right counseling degree program can help you reach your career goals. Find out more about each degree type to find the right fit for you.

How to Become a Counselor

Advanced Counseling Careers

The more qualified you are, the more counseling doors are open to you. That's why most professional counselors have a master's degree – a Master of Arts or a Master of Science as a minimum. In some cases, you will be required to hold a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) if planning to work in niche areas.

As with entry-level roles, for clinical practice you will still need to be licensed. Roles include mental health counselor, marriage/family therapist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, and many others.

Advanced Counseling Career Requirements

What an employer will expect from you for advanced counseling careers:

  • A master's or doctorate degree in a counseling or psychology discipline
  • A registered, current license to practice as a therapist
  • Professional malpractice liability insurance
  • Weekend and evening availability may be required due to work pattern of potential clients
  • Pass any government-mandated screenings for DOJ, FBI, and any other safety checks
  • Health screenings if you are to work in a medical setting
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Professional associations are more likely a requirement of such a role than merely preferred

Counselor Salary: How Much Will You Make?

There are many factors that contribute to how much a counselor can earn. Learn more about counselor salaries, highest paying states, and much more.

Counselor Salary Guide

List of Counseling Careers & Specialties

Counseling is a great career choice. Which types of counseling careers you enter will depend on the educational specialty you choose:

Share This: