When making the choice to work in a mental health setting, you may be curious as to the career trajectories that could be available to you.
For a long time now, Americans have overwhelmingly agreed that it’s important to receive a college education.1 At the same time, however, many students are curious about the economic value of their investment in their education, especially for those considering going back to school for a master’s level program.
Regardless of your degree choice, there are things to consider that aren’t directly related to finances. You’ll also want to consider how it will impact your career opportunities and earning potential, and your job satisfaction overall. Below, we highlight some of the benefits that you’ll experience personally and professionally after earning a Master of Arts in Counseling from Wake Forest University online.
Increased Career Opportunities
When considering whether or not to return to school for a master’s program, it’s important to consider the career opportunities that will open up, as well as the additional earning potential you’ll receive.
Licensed professional counselors have the unique opportunity to work in a rewarding field that directly helps people to overcome their challenges, has high earning potential and is expected to grow in demand over the next decade.
Licensed professional counselors have a variety of jobs available to them, and can work with individuals, families and communities to address mental health concerns; help guide them in their career path; and aid in improving their relationships with others. They work in a myriad of settings, ranging from hospital environments to schools to nonprofit organizations.
Since the field is so diverse, graduates have the option to work with a variety of demographics in various positions including on school and college campuses, with couples and families, as career counselors, as substance abuse counselors, and as clinical mental-health counselors.
Promising Job Growth and Competitive Pay
In addition to the wide array of career options available to master’s degree graduates, the job market for counselors in the United States is expected to grow faster than average over the course of the next decade. From 2016-2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that job growth will occur at a rate of 11 percent, due to an expected increase in school enrollments as well as the growing need for mental health professionals across the country.3,4
Depending on the area of the country in which you live, career opportunities in this field are incredibly promising, especially if you have a master’s level education.5 Though not necessarily required for all counseling positions, it certainly makes you a more competitive candidate.
In fact, according to the most recent data available from the BLS, 48 percent of those employed in the field have a master’s level education, compared to just 26 percent who have only a bachelor’s degree. Those who have earned master’s degrees also make a significant amount more per year, earning $50,000 compared to their bachelor’s degree counterparts’ average of just $37,000 annually.6
Overall Job Satisfaction and Quality of Life
The growth, earning potential and diverse array of options are a few of the reasons that people choose to earn advanced credentials in counseling. But there are other options to consider, including overall job satisfaction and how a fulfilling career can positively impact your quality of life.
For those who have always had a passion for helping others, are naturally drawn to other people, and enjoy listening to and helping others cope with their problems, counseling can be a natural career choice that offers a great deal of job satisfaction.
“I often say that it’s ‘an honor’ to do this work…I feel amazed and humbled when a client says: ‘I’ve never told anyone this before, but…’ At that moment, we enter sacred territory,” clinical psychologist Ryan Howes tells Psychology Today. “I treat whatever follows like a Faberge egg or a newborn baby, because that’s exactly what it is. Delicate, valuable and an honor to hold. I essentially earn my living watching stories of strength and perseverance unfold before me. I get to join them and help them along the way as we share the obstacles and successes together. I’m honored.”
Though counseling is not without its challenges, experiences like these affirm that for those who are willing to put forth the work to get an education and are passionate about helping others, the rewards are great.
For those interested in finding out what it takes to pursue a rewarding career in counseling, take the first steps and learn more about Wake Forest University’s Master of Arts in Counseling.