How to Become a Counselor

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Counselor? What Counselor do? Degrees for Counselor, Steps to become Counselor and much more.

A professional counselor’s job is to deliberate with the clients who are facing various mental problems and trauma from different parts of their lives. A Counselor conducts continuous and progressive sessions of discussions and tries to understand a client/patient/person’s problem. They encourage weak people, gives advice, and enlighten solutions to their problems. Counseling is done for different age groups and for various kinds of problems.

Master's degree is not just enough for becoming a counselor, it is important to get the license in the state where you practice. It is left to you to choose the best course across various colleges in the US.

Counselor Definition - Counselor can be in simply defined as a person who trains, guides, and advises an individual with respect to their mental, social and personal state of health.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Counselor?

You can either choose to complete your course online or by traditional going to the campus. Generally, the time taken to become a counselor depends on an individual. Almost everyone makes a choice of earning a master's degree. Master's degree adds more weight and help an individual to get in anywhere. One with a master's degree also needs a clinical experience which involves one on one sessions and mass counseling sessions.

In addition to the bachelors and masters degree, a student can also continue with their studies and complete Ph.D., and other certificate courses which would again take around 5 years to complete with a necessary internship.

Education for Counselor

Bachelors degree in counseling, social work, psychology is enough to start the career as a counselor. But it is important to have a masters degree as it gives more exposure for an individual to practice counseling.

It is also very important to have at least 3000 hours of clinical experience that would help an individual get the license also. If you wish to pursue higher education Ph.D. would also help a student to fetch good jobs.

What does a Counselor do ?

Duties of a Counselor

Counselors main aim would be is to guide an individual with their mental health and will be responsible for understanding their clients and help them by creating the treatments that would help an individual get some clear picture about their problems. Following are the few responsibilities and duties of a counselor.

  • Talk to their clients and manage them to discuss their emotions and their feelings to draw few insights that would help him solve the problem and make a person feel better.

  • The Counselors can also perform tasks that help one to get away from any kind of addictions. Generally, they identify the problem and trigger the patients' emotions that would make them leave that particular habit.

  • They also help one to recognize their personal and professional goals and help them find the resources available for them to achieve.

  • Work with groups, families, and individuals.

  • A counselor works with a single person/community in a workspace or individually to help them solve their mental problems.

  • Encourages clients to talk there about their emotional suppression.

  • Performs counseling in schools/colleges to bridge the gap between students and teachers.

  • Counselors develop therapy classes.

  • They work families to solve their problems and issues.

  • Helps clients to figure out solutions and provides guidance.

  • If any case verges out to the extremities, then the counselor refers psychologists.

Skills for a Counselor

A counselor is a person who studies a human and understands their problems to provide a solution. So it is hard to analyze one and provide suitable solutions to all their problems. A perfect counselor should have the following qualities to succeed in their respective studies.

  • Communication Skills - This is a very primary thing that a counselor should have. The way they speak and treat their patients is very important and good interpersonal skills.

  • Problem Solving Ability - Counselors across the globe will encounter different kinds of problems every day. It is very important that they have some valid solutions to all their problems and help them get over all the complicated situations.

  • Listening - It is one of the very critical skills that a counselor should have. It is not just about listening to one's problems. It is all about how it is been spoken and with the help of them, a counselor can draw few insights and help others.

  • Empathy - A counselor is a person who understands the problems by standing in their patients' position and provide the solutions. Empathy is basically imagining the problem one is facing and being one. This helps to analyze the issues more and triggers the interests in person to share their views more.

Steps for becoming a Counselor


Earn A Bachelor Degree

To pursue a master’s degree, students need to complete their undergraduate degree in any related degree in physiology or sociology. Usually, people seek counseling in their master’s degree, so you can end up taking courses like business management and administration etc. The impact of these courses will help you learn counseling in various ways. You need to have a minimum credit point of 3.0 GPA throughout the baccalaureate degree.


Get Your Master Degree

To practice counseling legally the minimum requirement is a master’s degree in the multi-disciplinary options like school counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling etc. By the end of the master’s degree in counseling one will be able to understand the theories and concepts of counseling practically.


Do Internship

The best way to learn about any domain is much easier by doing an internship in a legible place. By doing an internship one can actively understand the responsibilities and roles of a counselor. The best example can be to do an internship as a school counselor, you get to interact with many people and different mindsets of different age groups. You get licensed or earn a certificate due to the course of your internship. 


Choose Your Interest

Initially maximum of the counselor’s work in schools/colleges for their counseling practices, then later onwards only a counselor is expert enough to handle other kinds of counseling. In the process of experiencing various types of counseling, figure out what is your choice of interest.


Earn Professional Achievements

You can apply for re-certification in every 3 to 10 years; this is one of the boosting advantages for your career. The qualifications for recertification are you need to have a master’s degree and experience in working or internship. You also need to maintain a clean criminal background.


Get Your Doctorate Degree

By pursuing a doctorate degree will not actually help you to get a better job; people usually get a master’s degree if they wish to teach the counseling students in undergraduate and graduate levels. You can pursue a Ph.D., Psy.D or Ed.D in the domain of counseling.

Counselor Degree Levels


A Bachelor degree in counseling takes 4 years. You need to study all the core and elective subjects and earn the credits per semester.

General Physiology
  • Human organs

  • Neural system

  • How the human body works

  • Focuses on different organs of the human body

  • Focuses how mind coordination works in humans

  • Understanding of human body and its structure

Life Span Physiology
  • Personality development

  • Physiology in adulthood

  • Experiment Analysis and design

  • Helps to understand different types of personality in human beings.

  • Focuses on human mind development during adulthood

  • Improves designing and Analytical thinking.

Social Policy
  • Crime and Criminal Justice

  • Children and Young People

  • International Social Policy

  • Identification of crimes and criminal motives

  • Focuses various kinds of physiology in children mind

  • Explains social living, poverty, and unemployment


The Master’s degree in counseling takes the concepts more to the core of the counseling, in the majors. Holding a masters degree in counseling will fetch you more value and increase in earnings. It takes 2 years for the completion of this degree. The course credits vary from 40-80 based on what major a student will choose.

Counseling in drug and substance abuse
  • Addiction behaviors

  • Drug use and crime

  • Addiction in Women

  • Teaches different types of addictions in human beings

  • Focuses on drugs and its use by people

  • You will understand about addiction in women

Counseling in Family
  • Couple Counseling

  • Martial/Family Therapy

  • Domestic Violence

  • Techniques to help couples solve marital problems

  • Strategic capability to enable solving family/family issues

  • Complete understanding of domestic violence

School Counseling
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling

  • Academic and Career Counseling

  • Multicultural Counseling in schools

  • Understanding the growth mentally in children and teenager.

  • One can figure out solutions for career problems

  • Will help in understanding different cultures and how to tackle with them.


In Doctorate degree students usually do research in their field of interest subjects. A research paper and thesis is also included in the doctorate degree.

EdD in Counseling Physiology
  • Psychological foundations of behavior

  • Counseling Physiology

  • Research Methods and Data Analysis

  • Improvisation in analytical thinking

  • Helps to learn to counsel deeply

  • Develop  analytical skills and research experience

PsyD in Counseling Physiology
  • School Physiology

  • Advanced Counseling physiology

  • Marriage Counseling

  • Understanding school students mentality

  • Focuses to teach techniques in physiological counseling

  • Helps to understand problems in marriage and find solutions

PhD in Counseling Physiology
  • Family therapy

  • Ethical issues in Counseling

  • Statistical methods for education research

  • Helps figure out family issues.

  • Improvisation and development based on social basis and preparation of practice.

  • Improves analytic skills in counseling