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5 Great Concentrations for Master’s in Counseling Programs

Once you’ve decided to apply for a master’s in counseling program, you’ll have to determine the best specialization for your career goals. Some of the great options available include school counseling, marriage and family therapy and gerontology. With these concentrations, you’ll gain specific knowledge for helping clients improve their lives, relationships and careers.

Marriage and Family Therapy

If you want to help families and couples navigate relationship difficulties, marriage and family therapy is the best concentration for your M.S. in counseling. You’ll work with clients to identify and manage mental illnesses, create action plans for improving relationships and modify inappropriate behaviors. Empathy, compassion and an interest in evidence-based strategies for behavioral change are required for marriage counselors. You need a master’s degree in counseling, supervised experience providing therapy and a state-issued license to work in this field.

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Addictions Counseling

With a master’s degree in counseling and a specialization in addictions, addictive behaviors or substance abuse counseling, you can help patients with addictions. You might work in an outpatient setting and provide weekly counseling to help individuals and their families manage the consequences of their addictive behaviors. In-patient units needs licensed counselors to provide intensive therapy to patients, including group and one-on-one sessions. Many addictions specialists have a personal or family connection to drug and alcohol abuse, but that’s not required to do succeed in this field.

Gerontological Services

A new medical specialty has been created for the needs of senior citizens. As Americans live longer than ever, they develop unique mental and physical health care requirements. If you specialize in gerontology counseling, you can work with older patients to address their concerns. You will learn to help clients venture into the community, connect with family and face their fear of mortality. Other important skills include working with caregivers and medical providers to provide a continuum of care.

School Counseling

Coping with a rough home life, an emotional disturbance or trouble making friends can all impede a student from achieving academic success. As a school counselor, you’ll help students overcome these barriers. Your master’s degree in school counseling will give you the tools to identify students who can benefit from counseling, create plans for assisting students and provide career development tools to your students. The role of the school counselor has changed in recent years to focus more on high-level assistance to students who need emotional, academic or career-focused report. You’ll spend more time on counseling tasks and less of your day on clerical or administrative work.

Student Affairs

If you want to work with university students, a master’s in counseling with a concentration in Student Affairs or Higher Education is the best choice for you. With this specialization, you’ll learn how to meet the unique psychological needs of undergraduate students, provide career counseling and work with student organizations. You can also work directly with special groups like women in STEM fields, minority students or students with disabilities.

No matter what concentration you choose, a master’s in counseling is the key to a great career helping others. You’ll go home every day feeling that you made a positive difference in the world while enjoying a good salary and benefits package. If you’re ready to get to work earning your master’s degree, graduate programs are waiting to hear from you.

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