Counselors and human services professionals all strive to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. So it’s only natural many of these professionals find themselves gravitating towards roles in the non-profit sector. This article details how people with counseling and human services qualifications become involved with non-profits, and which positions people with these degrees are suited for.
How Your Counseling or Human Services Degree Can Lead to Non-Profit Work
Counseling and human services professionals are often driven towards the non-profit sector because they feel they can make the greatest difference there. However, it takes more than a good heart to succeed in the non-profit sector. Melinda Price, of Autism Community Network, says it’s important to be well rounded.
“Since non-profit organizations generally have a smaller staff to keep down overhead costs, it’s probable that you’ll be wearing many hats in your position,” she told The Muse. “Knowing a little bit of everything will go a long way.” If you feel your skills are too narrow, you may benefit from pursuing additional study through a Master of Arts in Counseling or Human Services online.
Graduate degrees are required for certain positions in the non-profit sector, so pursuing additional study can create opportunities. All roles for counseling and human services professionals need at least a bachelor’s degree.
Ms. Price also recommends researching how non-profits work, perhaps by chatting with someone working in the field. This can provide a valuable opportunity for networking, which may lead to a paid position. Volunteering is another great way to learn how non-profits work and make valuable industry connections, according to Jacquelyn Ulrich of Lutheran Services of Georgia, Inc. Consider pursuing volunteering opportunities while you’re studying to gain experience before graduation.
Counseling in the Non-Profit Sector
According to Careers in Psychology, people with undergraduate and graduate degrees in counseling can provide counseling services in non-profit organizations focused on improving clients’ mental health, helping clients battling substance abuse, and assisting clients in their rehabilitation. They may also find positions with non-profit organizations focused on other areas of social work, including providing career counseling, or counseling services for people with HIV or AIDS.
Human Services in the Non-Profit Sector
According to Study.com, human services degrees allow students to concentrate on a range of disciplines, including criminal justice, education, social work, and psychology. All of these disciplines can be applied to organizations in the non-profit sector.
As there is some overlap between human services and counseling degrees, some human services graduates pursue counseling roles working with people battling addictions, mental health concerns, or feeling uncertain about their career paths.
Graduates who enjoy working with children may find work with non-profits as child welfare specialists or family services advocates. An interest in criminal justice could see a human services graduate working within the non-profit sector as a legal mediator or correctional treatment specialist. Your interests and knowledge base should help you find the right position.
Your counseling or human services degree doesn’t need to lead to a job in the corporate sector. Individuals with these qualifications have much to contribute to non-profit organizations.