The Canberra Times

Counselling degrees: 10 potential career paths

There are many career paths with counselling. Picture by Shutterstock
There are many career paths with counselling. Picture by Shutterstock

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There are few careers as impactful as counselling.

A counsellor can work in several different areas and industry sectors and can have a rewarding working career with many professions available.

If you are considering studying a Masters of Counselling online and wondering what kind of career paths this education will lead to, read on.

Let's cover ten potential career paths for a councillor.

1. Councillor

The most natural and likely career path for a student with a counselling qualification is to become a counsellor. This will look different for every councillor depending on the field they enter, but there are lots of opportunities available for graduates wanting to work with children, adults, people with disability, families and many other groups.

2. School councillor

A school counsellor can change the school experience for many students. A school counsellor is employed by the school but they work for the children to ensure the psychological safety and mental well-being of each student.

Being a teenager is a turbulent experience at the best of times, but when you consider additional stressors like family divorce, friendship dynamics, study stress and general hormone-charged issues - a school councillor is certainly busy.

3. Human resources

Human Resource is an area of work that is always needed, and having a counselling qualification behind you will set you up for success. There are a lot of administrative duties for a councillor, but they are ultimately tasked with managing people.

This can be guiding employees through termination or helping mothers return to work.

4. Social worker

Social work is a discipline that can lead to so many career opportunities. Those with a counselling qualification will be able to explore youth work, family support work, disability work and other specialised facets of social work.

Counselling and social work qualifications will typically require work experience, so when applying for social work roles as a councillor, you may find yourself able to apply for positions beyond entry-level.

5. Police liaison

Working with the police can be a rewarding and diverse role for a councillor. There are a range of volunteer and paid positions that centre around being a support representing the public. This role can take councillors in and out of a police station, making them one of the first faces vulnerable people can see.

6. Working with children

Working with children is an important role for health service workers, and it is a very rewarding career. A councillor will also have to acquire a Working With Children certificate to be able to practise with children, and this is a register that will allow councillors to work in other parts of the country.

Councillors who work with children can work for the government for the private sector.

7. Academic

A graduate may choose to pursue a career as an academic, which is an invaluable service that guides future counselling work and assesses what is and is not working in our society. An academic may collate statistics to present to university and government bodies, and they may also be integral in the design of academic studies.

8. Policy and legislation

Counselling graduates will find themselves working on new legislation and reforming existing mental health frameworks in our country. Policy work is a common but competitive career path for Social Work students, as well as counselling graduates.

A policy professional may work at an NGO or a peak body organisation to work with a targeted group of people to collate information and put forward a case for policy change.

9. Working with Services Australia

Services Australia, or Centrelink as it is more commonly known, is always looking to employ professionals who have experience with human services. This can be an invaluable skill as the role requires empathy and a deep understanding of societal structures and common stressors for groups of people.

Working at Services Australia can look very different depending on the work you choose, and you may be client-facing or working on cases behind the scenes with other professionals.

10. Leadership roles

Any leadership role can benefit from a counselling qualification, as there will be an in-built understanding of the people you are working with. Knowing what people want, what drives them and what keeps them from performing at their best can be an incredible skill for leaders.

A leader with a counselling background is going to be more likely to empathise with staff and have every person feeling heard - this could also lead to high retention!

We hope these ten career paths have you considering the value of a counselling qualification. There are so many ways that this path can lead to success for you and the people you work with.