Where Can I Work With a Degree in Counseling?
If you are attending school to earn your degree in counseling you will want to consider the very important question for your post-graduation life, “Where can I work with a degree in Counseling?” Whether you want to work directly after you earn your Bachelor of Counseling degree or you are considering staying in school to earn your Master of Counseling or your doctorate, this is a clarifying question to ask. Often students will find that they have financial situations that require them to find employment directly after graduating with their bachelor’s degree and they have a sense of urgency around finding work. For those students this article will be particularly helpful. Likewise, for those who are considering continuing their education, it can be illuminating to see what career options are available after graduation. As is the case with most professions in Human Services, it is usually a wise tradeoff to continue your schooling and earn an advanced degree in order to have a greater selection of careers to choose from and the ability to command a higher salary.
One of the most obvious and successful routes for someone who holds a Counseling degree is to pursue licensure, which usually requires a Master’s of Counseling as well as some supervised work experience depending on the state. Opening your own private practice or joining a private practice that already exists can be extremely lucrative and fulfilling. However, not everyone is interested in going into a private practice due to managing a business or business partnership and the complexities that go along with that.
For those who are strongly driven towards an idealistic pursuit of affecting lasting change in society for the cause of social justice, finding a career in the Non-profit sector can be a very challenging and rewarding endeavor. If you want to embark on a career that emphasizes social justice, one of the best venues is through a nonprofit, so then the challenge is finding a nonprofit that has an agenda that appeals to your personal morality and desire to see change in the world. Once you have found a nonprofit whose mission is one that deeply resonates with your own personal causes you will find that becoming part of a nonprofit team is a tremendously demanding but also incredibly fulfilling way to affect important social change that makes the world a better place.
As with most Human Services professions, the role of the counselor is one that has great flexibility and can be found in many organizations both private and public along with the Non-profit sector. One of the largest employers for Human Services professionals of all stripes is the government, at the State, local and Federal levels. While local governments have a great diversity of potential careers they are too diverse to list here and beyond the scope of this article.
However, the state government routinely employs a great number of people in a counseling or more generic Human Services role selecting candidates with a degree in counseling. The Department of Human Services has a wide variety of jobs available to Counselors and School districts will often employ counselors at the local level, so you may wish to inquire with your local school district to see what opportunities they might have for counselors.
The federal government is a vast apparatus that has a huge diversity of bureaus, programs, agencies and organizations that deliver a wide variety of Human Services from research, to direct care and policy study think tanks. The federal government is always in need of well-educated Human Services professionals in order to take part in their various Human Services agencies. If the security, level of organization and hierarchy of a government job sounds appealing to you then it is a wise idea to investigate a number of agencies to find one that has a mission and agenda that seems well suited to making the most of your skills and education so you can do your part to give back to your community while earning a living.
Each state will have a Department of Humans Services or a similar organization that will act as an umbrella organization under which a wide variety of agencies will operate to provide human services and access to government benefits of various kinds. The Federal government by contrast has a vast array of various organizations, bureaus and agencies that provide all manner of services such as research, policy analysis, process improvement analytics and other types of services that one might not normally consider to be part of the Human Services spectrum.
The rest of the article is devoted to describing the state Department of Human Services as well as the federal Department of Health and Human Services with it innumerable sub-departments. The agencies which fall under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services provide all manner of specialized as well as broad based programs designed to provide Human Services to citizens of the country. The various organizations are listed below with a brief description along with a few of the potential occupations you can hold with a Bachelor of Counseling or a Master of Counseling or higher.
Department of Human Services
All 50 states have their own version of a Department of Human Services although the name may vary; the basic function of the department is true in all states. The Department of Human Services provides a great number of services at the state level; its tasks will usually include a wide variety of different services and can include sub-departments that are quire diverse such as: Aging and Disability Services, Child Welfare (name may vary), the Employment Department, and the Children, Adults and Families office.
Perhaps the largest task that is undertaken by the Department of Human Services is the determination of eligibility for state and federal assistance programs such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, various state level assistance programs, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP formerly Food Stamps), as well as Children State Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Medicare and Medicaid. In most states, the Department of Human Services is the largest single branch of state government and in turn is the largest employer for Human Services professionals; this makes it an excellent organization to base a career in Human Services within.
Potential Jobs with a Bachelor of Counseling degree: Eligibility Worker, Eligibility Screener, Human Services Specialist 1, Human Services Specialist 3
Potential Jobs with a Master of Counseling degree or higher: Branch Manager, Office Manager, Line Manager, Human Services Specialist 4
Administration on Aging
The primary federal agency working to ensure that the elderly are receiving excellent care, are not being discriminated against and also working to improve the lives of the elderly and aging is the Administration on Aging. The main focus of the Administration on Aging is to maintain a certain standard of care for the elderly and also work to improve it through increased accessibility to care, as well through reforms and regulation of elder care.
The Administration on Aging features a number of smaller departments that include aspects such as: a direct care implementation department, a medical research department, as well as regulatory and policy task forces, the Administration on Aging. Based in Washington D.C., the Administration on Aging also has regional offices working at the local and regional levels to help ensure that each state has a well regulated elder care system and that the agency’s overall mission is fulfilled.
Potential Jobs with a Bachelor of Counseling degree: Elder Care Information Specialist, Policy Analyst.
Potential Jobs with a Master of Counseling degree or higher: Administrator of Programs, Policy Task Force Member
Administration for Children and Families
With the goal of improving the quality of life for children and families through economic empowerment and community reforms aimed at improving the level of support and safety for children and families, the Administration for Children and Families works through a variety of means to achieve their mission. One of the primary ways the Administration for Children and Families goes about its business it by working in tandem with governments at the tribal, local and state level to insure that families and children are supported in being safe, having access to medical care and other services and also multiple viable routes towards achieving economic independence.
For the economic independence component, the Administration for Children and Families works with governments to help create tax breaks, incentives, educational and work training opportunities to help empower families towards taking steps to economic independence. One of the other tasks that is allotted to the Administration for Children and Families is the reduction of barriers to health care and other human services in tandem with reforms to streamline eligibility and disbursement processes to ensure speedy and low-stress access to government services.
Helping vulnerable populations gain access to services is an additional goal for the Administration for Children and Families, which can include the homeless as well as migrant populations. With a massive $58.8 billion budget, the Administration for Children and Families is a true juggernaut in terms of sheer size as well as the number of people the Administration employs. This in turn means there are a great multitude and diversity of occupation the agency is looking to fill and that means opportunities for Human Services professionals.
Potential Jobs with a Bachelor of Counseling degree: Administrative Assistant, Program Analyst
Potential Jobs with a Master of Counseling degree or higher: Head Start Program Specialist, Management Analyst
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
The primary agency charged with the administration and oversight of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Medicaid and Medicare is known as created the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It fulfills this mission in a variety of ways, with its primary responsibility being the oversight and regulation of those agencies which administer these benefits as well as some agencies such as laboratories, long term care facilities and medical institutions that fall under the purview of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
This regulatory duty requires that laboratories, long term care facilities and health organizations meet certain benchmarks in terms of quality of care and safety procedures. The biggest part of the regulatory capacity of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the consistent review of state eligibility work around the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Medicaid and Medicare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ensures that these federally funded programs, which are generally administered and benefits disbursed by state Departments of Human Services, have client eligibility correctly determined and benefits disbursed within the federal guidelines benefit issuance.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fulfills this part of its duties through a random review process wherein a case involving Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is pulled from the archives and random and carefully reviewed for adherence to eligibility and timely disbursement guidelines. While the primary office for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is physically located in the city of Baltimore, MD, the agency is quite large and due to its regulatory duties it has a tremendous amount of regional offices that help it to complete its extensive oversight and regulatory mission.
Potential Jobs with a Bachelor of Counseling degree: Health Insurance Specialist, Quality Control Reviewer
Potential Jobs with a Master of Counseling degree or higher: Management Analyst, Actuary
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The problem of untreated mental illness and substance abuse is a complex issue that was either ignored or treated in a very inhumane way in prior eras. Thankfully, the federal government created the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) giving it the mission of working tirelessly to help improve access to appropriate care for vulnerable populations who suffer from mental health and/or drug addiction issues. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has several different methods it employs to address this extremely complicated issue in a progressive and human manner that puts those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse at the center of its objectives. This has led to a vastly more efficient and compassionate response from society in general in relation to these issues. This did not occur overnight and is due to an extensive public education and public relation campaign carried out over many years by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to educate the public on the issues surrounding untreated mental illness and substance abuse. The increase in public awareness was a key change that aided in the implementation of another plank of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s overall mission that of public health and judicial reforms to address the inequities in both systems in regards to vulnerable populations such as the homeless who suffer from mental health and/or drug addiction problems.
By working in concert with professionals in the justice system, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helped to raise awareness and push for reforms that focused on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation instead of incarceration for those suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. This in turn helped the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration meet another of its objectives which is to limit the additional damage and cost to society that occurs from untreated mental health and substance abuse issues in the community at large. Through focusing on education, prevention and rehabilitation in the form of rehab clinics, public awareness campaigns and increased access to medical care, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has done a tremendous service to society in terms of reducing public expenditures on failed policies of incarceration of the mentally ill and drug addicted members of our society.
The numerous reforms within the healthcare industry in increasing access to services for medical issues before they become dire, access to treatment and rehab centers has not only been far more humane, it has also greatly reduced costs that spiraled out of control due to untreated secondary medical conditions which once lead to illness, death and disability. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also works relentlessly to enact reforms such as increasing available housing for homeless people and other vulnerable populations who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse problems.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration works to coordinate treatments and vital health record information by working in tandem with health care professionals who work directly with vulnerable members of society such as the homeless who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse issues. While the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is physically located in Rockville, Maryland it additionally has a variety of branch offices in numerous regions throughout the country.
Potential Jobs with a Bachelor of Counseling degree: Field Agent, Community Liaison
Potential Jobs with a Master of Counseling degree or higher: Program Analyst, Substance Abuse Counselor