rewarding career can mean more than just financial success; there are
many jobs where personal satisfaction far outweighs the quest for the
almighty dollar. If you like to help people work out problems and plan
for the future, perhaps you should consider a job as a counselor or
The main job of a counselor is to help people make informed
personal, family, social, career and educational decisions, or deal with
specific problems or concerns in these areas. The four main types of
counselors are: school and college counselors, college career
counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and employment counselors.
Social service workers (sometimes known as human services workers)
often help people by working for various organizations such as
government agencies, halfway houses, health agencies, group homes and
School and College
Help students identify abilities and interests, develop
academic plans, and explore career options.
High school counselors
advise students on choosing a major, admissions requirements, taking entrance
exams, financial aid programs, and on applicable vocational and technical
Help students cope with social problems.
setting may be one-on-one, in small groups, or even a classroom.
consult with parents, teachers and school administrators when trying to solve
problems that students are having.
Elementary school counselors are
mostly involved with social and personal counseling, and observe children at
play and in the classroom.
College Career Counselors
future graduates and alumni with job-seeking strategies.
create professional resumes, or conduct mock-interviews to help students become
more comfortable in the interviewing situation.
May also be involved in
the creation and promotion of job fairs and other recruiting events to help
student job placement efforts.
Mainly deal with the impact of disabilities on peoples'
Evaluate strengths and limitations of clients in order to provide
personal and vocational counseling.
Confer with physicians, therapists
and employers to develop a rehabilitation/training program so clients can
become employable and eventually live independently.
Evaluate clients' education, training, job history,
interests, skills and personal traits and apply them to a job
Develop job-seeking skills.
Provide assistance in
locating and applying for jobs.
involved in helping solve the social problems of our cities.
investigate, evaluate, and attempt to rectify reported cases of abuse, neglect,
endangerment, illness or domestic disputes.
Can intervene if necessary
and provide counseling and referral services to individuals and
Sometimes act as career counselors and financial advisors,
assisting clients with their housing, health care, employment, or money
Often work for publicly funded agencies, but
increasing opportunities available in the private sector (drug rehab, family
Eligibility workers evaluate clients for financial
aid or public assistance.
and social workers generally work one-on-one with people, but group counseling
is also becoming more common.
Most counselors are employed in schools
but some work at job and career centers, social service agencies, correctional
facilities, and residential care facilities.
Some health maintenance
organizations and insurance companies also employ counselors, due to recent
laws allowing counselors to receive payments from insurance companies, and laws
requiring employers to provide rehabilitation for some laid off or out-placed
Employee "burn-out" is especially
common among the more stressful social service agency
Depends primarily on government spending, but the demand is
Growth expected in family care social workers, especially
concerning children or the elderly.
Increasing growth for human service
workers in publicly funded halfway houses, prisons, corporate employee
assistance programs, health agencies and hospitals.
A 40 percent growth
rate is expected through the next ten years.
Private sector will
increase employment with more corporate programs, and in areas like private
practice marriage and family counseling, drug rehabs
Education and vocational counselors averaged
between $17,800 to $51,900 in 1992. The average salary for school counselors
Counselors in private practice in cities tend to make more
than small-town school counselors.
Human services workers salary ranges
around $18,000 with experience or education.
Beginning salaries for
position in social work average $25,000 (with a Master's degree in Social
Work). The average for mid-level employees is around
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Eligibility workers at
some agencies like the Department of Public Social Services need only an A.A.
degree or three years of specialized job experience.
For advancement, an
advanced degree is usually necessary in most fields.
caseworkers need a degree in social work, although many employees like public
assistance workers, parole officers and probation officers do not necessarily
need a degree.
Foreign language skills are very helpful and may give you
an edge if seeking social work in large hospitals and similar
Work/study programs are often available to earn a degree
Teaching experience is frequently needed to work as a
School Counselor Association
801 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone (703) 683-ASCA (2722)
FAX (703) 683-1619
Toll Free: 1-800-306-4722
Association for Counseling and Development
5999 Stevenson Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22304
703-823-9800 or 800-545-2223
American Association on Mental
444 N. Capitol St., NW, Suite 846
800-424-3688 or 202-387-1968
Child Welfare League of
440 First St., NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20001-2085
Council on Social Work
1600 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3421
National Association of
750 First St., NE
Washington, DC 20002
National Employment Listing Service
Sam Houston State
Criminal Justice Center
Huntsville, TX 77341-2296
(Provides monthly listing of job openings in all areas of law
enforcement and corrections; also social work).
Social Work and Counseling Resources:
California Association of Marriage and Family
Therapists' (CAMFT) Home Page
Social Worker Organization
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and its
The New Social
socialservice.com -- a career site
created for social service professionals.