Path to a Career in Child Development Counseling
Child development counseling is one of the most popular forms of counseling currently pursued in the United States. As with most career fields, the training begins at the most basic level - during your bachelors program. There are plenty of online bachelors programs that can help you gain skills that can benefit you as you transition into masters level programs. Your choice of online bachelors program could enhance your learning in online Master of Counseling programs, so you should choose an introductory program that best fits your career choice.
Once you have enrolled in an online masters program, you can learn more about the techniques and skills specific to your area of counseling. It is at this point that you may also take part in supervised clinical experience, which takes place in a real-world counseling setting. You can follow the direction of a licensed counselor, which can help you apply what you have learned during your degree program.
After graduating from your degree program, you can choose a counseling organization to work for in order to complete your 2 year supervised experience requirement for licensure. During this time period you will also need a licensed supervisor to oversee your work in the field. After you have completed this experience, you can take your board examination in counseling and apply for licensing in your state. Further certification in child development can be pursued through certificate programs in this focus.
Organizations to Know
There are a few things that can set you on track for stability within your career once you are licensed. Choosing a career field that is aligned with your skills and knowledge is a huge component in your stability, as well as your connections in the field. One of the best ways to connect with others and maintain current on your professional field is through joining professional organizations in child development counseling. There are numerous organizations in general counseling or specialty fields that can allow you to explore related areas, such as the American Counseling Association.
If you would also like to join organizations that are geared more towards your field in particular, you should take a look at agencies such as the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling. Through this agency, you can gain access to resources and literature about changes in your field and communicate with other professionals in your field.
Careers to Consider
Obtaining your license as a child development counselor can be an entry-point to careers in several different social fields. Counselors that specialize in child development can be excellent components in a widespread mental health organization that seeks to provide a variety of mental health services to the general public. Professionals in this area can work with clients that may present with challenges in childhood and be responsible for developing treatment plans to help children get back on track.
Child development counselors can also work for school systems that require the expertise of licensed counselors for the wellness of the children enrolled. Counselors in this area can work with individual children or can provide relevant emotional and developmental educational presentations to large groups in the school system. If you have an interest in the field of education and wish to provide support to students, this could be a career field for you to consider.
Some of the more unconventional routes for child development counselors may include careers that partner with social services agencies to provide care to children that have been removed from their homes, work in hospitals to provide acute care to admitted children, or even in private organizations that are focused on improving the techniques that are utilized by current counselors in the field. Your desires as a child development counselor should guide you as you seek out the perfect career environment.