Many people reconsider their careers when they hit the midlife milestone. It is not uncommon for people to want to make career changes at this point, and they often think about giving back to their communities; they want to use their accumulated wisdom and skills to solve the problems they’ve watched from the sidelines over the years, or deal with issues they’ve personally experienced in their families or with their friends.
[Learn more about counseling careers in a free online course called: Psychology Program and Profession]
Counseling is a career path that attracts people who are ready to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. As a recovering addict, Arthur Chappell, for example, earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at 50-years-young by going back to school online. Now he works as a case manager helping other recovering addicts put their lives back together.
And when Camille Theriaque’s 20-year firefighting career ended over a battle with cancer, she too chose psychology as the road to healing both herself and others. Camille went back to college with scholarship aid for non-traditional students. She plans to help first responders and veterans suffering from PTSD, a problem she encountered first hand while working as a firefighter.
Helping people who cannot help themselves, either temporarily or permanently, is a rewarding way to share your life experiences for the common good. Maybe you’ve battled a problem in your own life and received such help, or maybe you’ve already been involved in helping others. Whatever issues have put a counseling career on your radar, there are populations of people out there who are waiting for your help.
Here are five areas of specialization you might choose to focus your counseling career upon:
A focus in addictions will help prepare you for a career in clinical and educational settings or in abuse treatment programs where you will be involved in prevention, evaluation, and treatment strategies for substance abusers.
- Applied Behavior Analysis
A focus in this area will prepare to work with people who suffer from behavior disorders such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
- Child Development
Focusing in child development can prepare you to pursue careers coordinating services for children with developmental disabilities or serving as a childcare worker or a child welfare caseworker.
- Elder Care
By focusing in elder care, you will specialize in helping seniors, their family members, and their care givers with the unique issues that surround aging and end-of-life.
- Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
By focusing on this area of counseling, you will prepare yourself to work in a variety of settings where communications and relationship issues are addressed as well as mental and emotional disorders that affect the family.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for counselors in these types of programs is on the rise. Jobs for counselors in mental health, family therapists, and abuse and behavior disorders are expected to grow by about 30% through 2022. Federal legislation mandating health coverage has opened up the possibility of counseling to more clients, but more counselors will be needed to meet the demand. If a career in counseling feels like the right move for you, consider earning a degree or a graduate certificate in psychology today.