How Your Counseling Degree Opens Doors in the Real World
One of the greatest gifts the World Wide Web has bestowed upon the modern collegiate is the ability to understand the world from the viewpoint of millions of people. Before the internet, trial and error was limited to the individual; you had to do it yourself to realize the implications and/or consequences of having a degree. Today, experience is at your fingertips. You can find out what it is like to have a counseling degree with a few clicks of the mouse. Historically a 4-year counseling degree was perceived as opening unlimited doors into the mystical world of psychology; the theatre of the human mind. With the emergence of rampant career specialization however, came the reality that a bachelor’s degree in any of the humanities was not necessarily a ticket to play the targeted game. In fact sometime in the early 1980’s political science, sociology, philosophy, psychology, history, English majors (and the like) began to bewail the discrepancies between the societal perception of what a bachelor’s degree meant and the hard cold reality. Somewhere along the line the job market had taken a sharp turn into a sea of specialization; something no one had mentioned to the undergraduates of the time period. Increasingly academics were surrendered into masters and doctoral programs in order to reach the dreams they previously thought were obtainable with a bachelor’s degree. Today, these types of truths are not a surprise; one can read about reality long before it sets in. Get information from counseling degree programs:
|Education Requirements||Education Length||Available Programs|
|Undergraduate Work||Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling||4 Years||Online or Campus|
|Graduate Work||Earn a Master's Degree in Counseling||5-6 Years||Online or Campus|
|PHD or Doctoral Work||Earn a Doctorate in Counseling||7-8 Years||Online or Campus|
Mark Steel M.S. was an undergraduate when he realized that he would need to complete a master’s degree program and become licensed in order to make his dreams happen.
“Around my junior year I began to look into what my options were going to be when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I started to realize that what I wanted to do would require a master’s degree and a license; therefore I became determined to have that all lined-up before I graduated. I knew that if I set my mind to it, I would somehow be able to get the funds. I accomplished all I set out to do and my life is exactly what I wanted it to be. I encourage anyone in college to get down to figuring out the reality of their career and make it happen.” -Mark Steel M.S.
Door #1: Your Degree + Your Personality
One of the things that will open unlimited doors for many with a counseling degree is a vibrant and persuasive personality. Like it or not, to some extent in life everyone is in sales. For example, a doctorate gives a scholar a license to lecture and proclaim expertise; it doesn’t mean anyone is going to revere, respect or even like them. What this means for anyone with a counseling credential is that a degree can get you in the door, but you alone are responsible for creating whatever happens inside. For the most part, this notion is a relatively new concept for those who have attended college. In the not so distant past a credential somehow led graduates to feel that they deserved a job and that the real work was behind them. The truth is, college is the warm-up and the work begins after graduation. Securing the type of job you desire is going to take more than a polished resume. It is going to take skills in the area of selling yourself as a worthy and deserving candidate. Communication skills are imperative to develop, cultivate and maintain for anyone in the job market. If you are quiet, shy and unable to freely express yourself, you need to address the situation immediately with books, self-improvement seminars, empowerment workshops or speech coursework. Two job candidates with the same resume are not on a level playing field if one is outgoing and self-expressive and the other is silent and reserved. Marie Schiff B.A. received her degree in counseling from a brick and mortar university. She realized quickly that even though she had been a dean’s scholar, she needed to promote herself in more ways than academia.
“I began looking for my first job thinking that my degree would be getting me the job. I learned very quickly that my degree was only one part of the package. I had to be the one they wanted to hire. I had to take what I had learned and apply it. After all, I majored in counseling! I had to use the knowledge I had obtained and apply it to the employment process. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was the difference between talking about doing a job to get one, and doing the job to get one.” -Marie Schiff B.A.
Door #2: Your Degree + Your Experience
There’s not a book in the world that can substitute for hands on experience. Example: Would you ever agree to have surgery performed by a doctor who had only read about performing surgery? Of course not, and although that’s an extreme illustration it really makes the point; the doing of something is irreplaceable by simply the knowing of something. For your career in counseling it is pure wisdom to have some form of experience in the field to refer to in your interview. There are unlimited charities and not-for-profit organizations eager to add a counseling student to their rosters of available volunteers. There may even be a selection of paid positions in the counseling field in your geographical area; the point is to get experience somehow, someway. Remember that your degree is one part of a package you are presenting: having experience in the field of counseling is proof that you are dedicated, responsible and have foreknowledge of what a position entails. Patricia Simmons B.A. spent two years volunteering for the local suicide hotline while she was doing her undergraduate work.
“I truly believe that I was able to get the best job possible because I had extensively worked with those who were emotionally devastated and suicidal. I had glowing recommendations from my supervisors and the director of the hotline. I know that my degree was from a great college but the fact that I had hung in there and had proved myself at the hotline made me the best candidate for the job I really wanted.” -Patricia Simmons B.A, (currently a part-time Master’s Student)
Door #3: Your Degree + Your Unfailing Optimism
Belief in yourself with a rock-solid positive attitude is one of the most attractive things you can take to an interview. You have studied hard and earned a degree that is of great value to society for generations to come. Be sure to pat yourself on the back and do not believe in discouragement. A “no” only means that you are surely headed to the best job possible and that you are one step closer. Listen only to those who are encouraging and positive; anyone can sing the blues. You are on your way to opening whatever doors you desire; just be sure to take along your pleasant and inviting personality, your experience and your sunny disposition.