How to Make a Career Change to Counseling

  Wednesday, November 10, 2021

As people living with the social stigmas and outlets in the twenty-first century, we're oftentimes attracted to jobs and career paths that help build up ourselves, establish us as decent and working-class members of society, and fill a need within us to earn and flourish. The jobs that work for the benefit of other people do not come into this category. Yes, you can argue that even doctors like to establish themselves with more extensive and more competitive practices to attract their patients. However, it's a tough job to be responsible for someone else's wellbeing, whether it be physically or mentally. 

The mental health profession is a mentally expensive and time-consuming field where you need to have tons of motivation and double the patience. Therapists, life coaches, and counselors all come into this category. Talking specifically about counseling, we can argue the same. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), we can define counseling psychology as a type of professional psychology that focuses on general practicing techniques and involves providing health services. It examines how people of all ages function both personally and in their relationships. Counseling psychology is concerned with people's emotional, social, job, school, and physical health difficulties at various phases of their lives, concentrating on everyday daily stresses as well as more serious challenges with which people may suffer as individuals, families, communities, and organizations. 

A career change to a counselor or therapist in private practice is a fantastic choice. Regardless of former occupations, a person with those previous life experiences can bring so much to the table. This is especially true for those who have worked in the business world or in other capacities that serve the public. Many of those talents are transferable to private practice.

What Does A Counselor Do? 

According to the American Counseling Association (ACA), representatives of thirty-one counseling organizations agreed upon a singular definition, role, and scope of this field. Professional counseling is a type of professional interaction that helps individuals, families, and groups achieve their mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. Counselors help with clients to develop solutions for overcoming hurdles and personal challenges.

Furthermore, these are the main types of counseling

  • Individual Counseling 
  • Group Counseling 
  • Family Counseling 
  • Couples Counseling
  • Career Counseling 

What Kinds of People Become Counselors? 

If you decide to leap into counseling, this article can provide you with good tips to make the transition easier. We understand that diving into a career change is scary. However, if done right, it can be one of the most beneficial decisions of your life. Before we dive into those tips, let's discuss what kinds of people are suitable to become a counselor. 

People that make good counselors have a genuine interest in others. They enjoy being in the company of others and conversing with people of various backgrounds. However, being a "people person" isn't enough. Counselors choose to work in this field because they desire to assist others in solving their problems. To be most effective in their work, they need specific personality traits, and more crucially, a combination of these attributes. It's easier if you are already in a mental health profession or work in a job that has you dealing with people daily. 

Five Things To Consider Before the Big Leap 

Here are five questions to ask yourself before transitioning into counseling: 

  • Do You Have The Motivation? 

When people pursue counseling and therapy for a career change, they appreciate the importance of assisting others. Later in life, the significance of giving to others becomes more apparent. It gains prominence as a critical value.

Many people who change occupations and enter the mental health industry appear to agree on one thing: it's not about the money. Many people are willing to give up high-paying careers. Financial analysts, bankers, attorneys, and many other professionals have switched to professional counseling or therapy. These folks are more concerned with "quality of life" than with "quantity."

Returning to school to obtain the degrees and abilities necessary to become a professional counselor or therapist has a way of positively challenging a person. Amid a younger population, older students may feel a little out of place. However, because they are there because they want to be, they usually perform very well in school. Their motivation stems from the desire to help people. Make sure you have that spark in you because that will ensure you see this through. 

  • Do You Have a Sound Financial Plan? 

People usually want to change careers but don't have the funds to do so either in the bank or other means. They simply don't know or haven't researched how long their transformation will take, and they lack the financial resources to get them through it. You can't go from making a certain amount of money in one job to making the same amount in another without putting in time and effort. You'll also require outside assistance if you want to shift careers.

Do thorough research and discuss your desired change with your accountant, financial planner, and specialists in that field to understand the financial requirements necessary to sustain you through what may be years of transition - without emotion or a "build it and they will come" approach. If you don't have any money, either wait until you do (make more, borrow, use a bonus, etc.) or cut back on your spending to save what you'll need. 

  • Do You Want a Career Change, Or Are You Just Stuck? 

If you're struggling and have waited too long to make a change, you've most certainly grown to despise your job, your coworkers, the task you do, and the abilities you employ, and you want to flee as quickly as possible. Don't wait until you're completely dissatisfied with your existing circumstances before making a change. Also, don't take a risk before you've improved your situation. Reclaim your power wherever you are right now. Repair damaged relationships, gain more respect, find your voice, expand your talents, and become more competent to improve your circumstances.

Don't wait until you're completely dissatisfied with your existing circumstances before making a change. Also, don't take a risk before you've improved your situation. Reclaim your power wherever you are right now. Repair damaged relationships, gain more respect, find your voice, expand your talents, and become more competent to improve your circumstances. When you do leave, you'll be able to take your career to the next level because you'll have made clear, sensible decisions that will propel you forward. Running away from your troubles will not solve them; they will simply be repeated in the following career.

  • Do You Have A Mentor? 

One of the easiest ways to ease into a new career is to locate someone who is already doing it and is willing to assist you in getting started. Finding a mentor isn't always straightforward, but it's a terrific opportunity to learn the ropes and acquire some insight into the specifics of making a career transition. A mentor can provide individual advice based on their own experience in the industry and introduce you to fresh opportunities to learn more. They may also be able to assist you in making contacts inside the sector. The mentor can focus on your interests and requirements because it is a one-to-one interaction.

You already know that having help on this journey is preferable to going it alone. Your friends and family may not know much about how to make a job transition to your sector of interest, despite their best intentions. As you intend to move to a new career, a mentor can assist you in exploring your skills, talents, and interests in this field.

Ironically, one of the people you can ask is a career counselor. They have general and specific experience in the field and can make your transition much more accessible. 

  • Do You Need Proper Licensing? 

If you are transitioning to become a counselor, the answer is most definitely: YES. Like many other specialized and sensitive professions, counselors will need to obtain a license before they can lawfully practice. Counselors must meet specific educational and experience requirements and pass a comprehensive exam administered by the licensing authority. The particular qualifications differ based on the state you wish to practice and the sort of counseling you want to pursue.

Choosing an accredited program of study that offers rigorous and specialized training, clinical practice opportunities, and streamlined licensing procedures is the most crucial preparation for any form of counseling you wish to pursue. The correct program will help you become a better counselor faster to start helping people in your community.

We hope that these five considerations will give you a better sense of direction and help you during your transition period. 

Health Disclaimer

JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.

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