Path to a Career in Cultural Counseling
When you choose a specialized field to move into in counseling, it can sometimes be overwhelming to organize a specific plan to get you where you want to be. Before you take the plunge into any degree program or choose any specific degree level, you should be aware of what is required of you for the type of work that you would like to do. In order to be a cultural counselor, you should hold a license to practice counseling in your state. This process is typically outlined by your state's licensing board and can be found online in most states.
The minimum degree requirement for cultural counselors in the U.S. is a masters degree. Choosing to pursue your degree online can provide with the same level of quality as traditional programs, since online programs are subjected to the same accreditation standards. Online Masters in Counseling programs usually require a 2-3 year commitment for students enrolled, which can also require you to spend some time working with licensed counselors in the field. Completion of this step can help you transition to licensure once you have completed all of your practical experience.
The practical experience requirement can take place after your degree program and is completed through a mental health organization in your area. You can provide services to clients in a real-world setting, under the supervision of a licensed counselor. This experience can last around 2 years for most candidates and is a great experience to help you learn more about what cultural counseling looks like in the field.
Board examinations in counseling are found at the end of your educational and practical experience. The National Counselors Examination is administered to graduates that have met these standards and is the final step before receiving a license. This examination contain situational questions that can test your ability to respond accurately while working in the field. Some schools providing online programs can provide you with the pass rate for their graduates, which can allow you to choose programs with the best possible results.
Organizations to Know
The plunge into the workforce after becoming licensed can be overwhelming in both positive and negative ways. All of the work that you put into completing your program and experience in the field can come to a satisfying end as you take on your first career in the field. One way that some students decide to provide themselves with a sturdy foundation of support during their career is through professional organizations. Counseling organizations can act as resources of current information and even advocates for their members, which can be a great source of confidence for new cultural counselors.
If you would like to see more about professional organizations you can join, you are encouraged to review the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. Each of these organizations can provide you with career and educational benefits to use during your work experience. Some organizations can even post job openings in your area and provide opportunities to meet others in your field at group gatherings and presentations.
Careers to Consider
One of the most appealing facts about cultural counseling is that licensed counselors in this area can find careers in diverse working environments. The most well-known and chosen path for professionals in this field is that of general mental health, since providers in this area can work for general mental wellness clinics. However, this is not the only path for licensees in cultural counseling. Today's society presents a set of challenges that can be addressed by counselors that are educated in different cultures and methods for bringing awareness when conflict arises.
Cultural counselors can be great resources in the school system, in the workplace, and even in private practice. The need for seasoned professionals to help work with individuals in groups that may be facing issues related to their culture, religion, sexual preference, or race may be at an all-time high. Your skills and counseling tools could lead you into many different areas during your career.