Sample Geriatric Counseling Courses
As you sort through the different online degree programs available in your field, you should explore the curriculum associated with each one. The courses that you take during your degree program can assist you in developing treatment strategies based on the historical development of the field and common practice in counseling today.
While some of the courses along your path may focus on the standard aspects of counseling, you may also take classes that can allow you to further your knowledge in the aspect of Geriatric treatment planning and administering of counseling tools.
Psychopathology in Geriatric Counseling is a course that provides students with the skills necessary to assess and diagnose mental illness within their Geriatric clients. Students in this course can be taught to utilize the DSM-5 as a tool for providing diagnostic care to their clients, which can establish a baseline for therapy in the future.
Counseling for Groups can also be part of the Geriatric Counseling curriculum, since some of the work you can do in the field may include groups of families. Theories of communication, coping, and recognition between members of family groups can be learned throughout this course, which can be beneficial to families struggling with internal relationships.
The names and topics of courses can vary depending on where you are enrolled and your unique degree program. You can expect to engage in courses related to ethical considerations in counseling – which can be general and found within all counseling degree programs.
Historical foundations of psychology and counseling, research in counseling, and Geriatric Counseling theories can also be commonly found within your chosen program. As you sort through the numerous degree programs being offered in your area, explore some of the courses associated with each one to get a better grasp on what is ahead.
Path to Working in Geriatric Counseling
- Bachelor’s: The bachelor’s degree is the foundation of learning for future Geriatric Counselors. You can pursue the Bachelor’s in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work depending on which educational path you plan to take, which can be around 4 years of learning through online or traditional schools.
- Master’s: The Master’s in Counseling is the most popular degree choice for upcoming Geriatric Counselors. Graduates of Master of Social Work programs can also provide counseling services after licensure, but with certain restrictions not present in counseling fields.
- Certification: Students that do not participate in accredited Geriatric Counseling degree programs may require additional certification after their completion of the Master’s in Counseling program. Certificate programs in Gerontology and Geriatric Counseling can help to provide more specialized knowledge that can be beneficial when working with Geriatric clients.
- Experience: Any counseling degree program leading to licensure will include supervised experience components of varying degrees. In most states, students must participate in clinical experiences lasting around 2 years under the supervision of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs).
- Examination: All of the hard work and intensive studying during your educational and supervision experience can lead to the final step on your licensure journey. The National Counselor Examination is a board examination required by all licensing prospects. You can register for and complete this test once all of the other components on your path have been completed.
- Licensure: When you are ready to apply for licensure, you should submit your application through your state’s licensing agency. This can include an application for licensure, licensing fee, official transcripts, counseling certification, and proof of experience.
Important Geriatric Counseling Organizations to Know
Professional organizations can be an important supportive resource for new counselors seeking validation and community during their career. There may be numerous professional agencies available for Geriatric Counselors to consider, many of which consisting of professionals from both the counseling and Geriatric care communities.
American Counseling Association
Licensed counselors in all specialized disciplines can purchase membership to the American Counseling Association (ACA) as a means for furthering their knowledge after licensure. This organization is one of the leading options for counselors in the field and likely one of the most populated.
The ACA can provide you with the opportunity to explore constructive research studies, which can allow you to learn about new treatments and techniques as they emerge. In addition to this learning aspect, you can also participate in conferences and meetings with other licensed counselors in diverse fields.
American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
If you are interested in joining an organization focused specifically on the quality of care for Geriatric clients, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) can be an excellent option to consider for membership. This organization takes a multidisciplinary look at the overall quality of care of this population, including viewpoints from a multitude of professional providers.
Participation in this group can enlighten you to the various presenting issues faced by the Geriatric population, which can contribute to the type of counseling services you provide in the field. Membership to this group can allow you access to research and professional networking within members.
Geriatric Counseling Career Options
Completing your degree program and obtaining your professional license in counseling can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. Once you have met these milestones in your educational career, you can pursue Geriatric Counseling careers in the field.
Like many other counseling careers, you may find that there are diverse areas that you can apply your expertise depending on your preferences for settings and the availabilities within you area. As you explore job openings in your area, consider what type of influence you would like to have throughout your career.
Geriatric Counselors can often be found in rehabilitation and hospice care settings. The role of the counselor in these areas may be to assess clients and provide therapeutic services associated with their current level of functioning, mental health, and presenting need.
Counseling professionals in Geriatrics may also be found commonly in mental health agencies, since these facilities are often known to provide widespread and diverse mental health services to clients with varying needs. Some professionals choose to work in the general mental health setting so that they can exercise both their general counseling certification alongside their Geriatric specialization.
Geriatric Counselors can also be employed by local hospitals or long-term care facilities that service the aging population. Having Geriatric mental health specialists on staff can help to promote the overall quality of care of Geriatric patients.
In addition to working in health care and mental health practice, licensed counselors in this field can also work in private practice. This is a common career choice for specialized counselors seeking to work directly with the clients within their specialization.