Hilbert College Global Online Blog

5 Counseling Careers for Psychology Majors

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Mar 20, 2024
A school counselor and a student smiling and using a laptop computer.

5 Counseling Careers for Psychology Majors

The U.S. population has a great need for the services of skilled counselors. For example, when health policy organization KFF and CNN conducted a survey on mental health in the U.S. in 2022, about half of those surveyed reported that someone in their family had experienced a severe mental health crisis. In addition, roughly half of the respondents believed that most U.S. adults were unable to obtain the mental health services they needed.

But the work of counselors isn’t limited to mental health counseling. From school counseling to career counseling to rehabilitation counseling, the services that counselors provide are critical to maximizing their clients’ potential and enabling them to lead fulfilling lives.

Exploring the various types of counseling careers can be a valuable exercise for anyone who is contemplating enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program with an eye toward entering the counseling profession.

Where Do Counselors Work?

Counselors help people improve their lives, resolve issues they face and elevate how they function in the world. Counselors can work with people who need help in areas such as:

  • Facing emotional issues

  • Dealing with relationship, social or cultural challenges

  • Managing concerns related to health

  • Finding vocational fulfillment

  • Identifying educational opportunities

Counselors can work with groups, such as in workplaces or other organizations, or they can provide services at the individual level, such as in counseling practices or other facilities that offer counseling.

Counselors can choose to focus their education on clinical or counseling psychology, and they can pursue roles in any of a variety of settings, such as:

  • Private practices

  • Government agencies

  • Outpatient centers

  • Residential facilities

  • Schools

  • Nonprofit organizations

  • Hospitals

5 Counseling Careers

Several types of counseling careers are available to those with an interest in the field. Specific examples of careers in counseling are described below.

1. Mental Health Counselor

The primary goal of a mental health counselor is to improve their clients’ mental health. People who choose this type of counseling career use their skills in evaluating clients and creating treatment plans to help their clients develop new behaviors and skills that can enhance their well-being and their overall life experience. To work as mental health counselors, individuals typically need to earn a graduate degree.

Mental health counselors had a median annual salary of $49,710, as of May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects 18% job growth for mental health counselors through 2032, which is significantly higher than the BLS’s projection of 3% average job growth across all occupations during that period. This growth reflects the great need for mental health services across the U.S.

2. Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors focus on helping clients who face challenges related to their abuse of drugs or alcohol. They rely on their skills in developing goals and strategies to help clients strengthen their coping skills and recover from substance abuse.

As with mental health counselors, as of May 2022, substance abuse counselors had a median annual salary of $49,710, and the profession is expected to experience 18% job growth through 2032, according to the BLS. Projected job growth for substance abuse counselors reflects the relatively high number of people who face substance abuse challenges, particularly opioid use disorder.

3. School Counselor

Individuals who pursue school counseling careers are interested in helping students achieve academic success and strengthen the social skills they will need after they graduate. School counselors help students learn about potential occupations they may be suited for or develop an educational plan that can help them reach their career goals. To do that, they use their skills in evaluating students’ interests and talents, and in advising students regarding possible paths to follow after graduation. School counselors usually need to earn a master’s degree to work in the field.

According to the BLS, school counselors had a median annual salary of $60,140 as of May 2022. The BLS projects 5% employment growth in the profession through 2032.

4. Career Counselor

Career counselors help individuals develop job skills, learn about occupations or find training that can lead to a specific career. Career counselors rely on their skills in assessing individuals’ aptitudes and developing realistic career goals to help people find and pursue careers that are right for them.

Similar to school counselors, as of May 2022, career counselors had a median annual salary of $60,140, and they are expected to see 5% employment growth through 2032, according to the BLS.

5. Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors help individuals with disabilities live independent lives. Working with those who are challenged by emotional, physical, developmental or mental disabilities, rehabilitation counselors use their skills in advocating for clients, evaluating clients’ skills and arranging career services to help clients secure employment and successfully pursue living independently. To work as rehabilitation counselors, individuals usually need to have earned a graduate degree.

Rehabilitation counselors had a median annual salary of $39,990 as of May 2022, according to the BLS. The BLS forecasts 2% job growth for rehabilitation counselors through 2032.

Key Counseling Skills

Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology can help individuals develop critical counseling skills, such as:

  • Communication, including skills in paraphrasing, observing, and listening

  • Critical thinking

  • Group dynamics

  • Psychological assessment and treatment

  • Psychological testing and measurement

  • Working with individuals from diverse cultures

People who pursue jobs in counseling also benefit from developing strong skills in other areas, such as:

  • Cultivating therapeutic relationships with clients

  • Challenging and reflecting clients’ feelings

  • Demonstrating empathy

  • Establishing realistic goals when working with clients

  • Interpreting the meaning in clients’ statements

  • Managing time during sessions with clients

Careers in Counseling Enable People to Make a Meaningful Difference

Working in any type of counseling career provides professionals with the opportunity to help others improve their lives. Whether they are helping clients face challenges in mental health, find a fulfilling career or pursue occupational training, counselors work each day to make a lasting difference in their clients’ lives.

Individuals who have an interest in starting on the path to a counseling career can explore Hilbert College Global’s online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program to learn how it can help them pursue their professional goals. Coursework in the program provides students with the opportunity to develop critical expertise in areas such as human behavior and communication, helping them establish the foundation for a rewarding career in counseling.

Get started on achieving your counseling career goals today.

Recommended Readings

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor

What Do Behavioral Disorder Counselors Do?

What’s the Difference Between a BA and BS in Psychology?


American Psychological Association, Counseling Psychology

BMC Psychology, “Basic Counseling Skills in Psychology and Teaching: Validation of a Short Version of the Counselor Activity Self-Efficacy Scales”

KFF, “KFF/CNN Mental Health in America Survey”

PositivePsychology.com, “20 Basic Counseling Skills to Become an Effective Therapist”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, Counselors, All Other

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rehabilitation Counselors

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, School and Career Counselors and Advisors

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

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