How will you use your degree?

When I first considered going back to school for a graduate degree, the most frequent question that I was asked was, “So what are you going to do with it?” People who cared about me and wanted to make sure that I had fully thought out the life changing choice I was about to make, wanted me to be able to articulate the end goal.

This sparked further questions:

  • What did I see myself doing with the degree?
  • What kind of job did I expect to have?
  • Where and with whom did I want to work?
  • Was there a need for yet another professional in my aspiring field of counseling?
  • Is counseling even effective?

My identity informed the work I did as a counselor and was a great fit for the persons who sought counseling from me.

Reflecting on What You Have to Offer

The effectiveness of counseling is a question for an entirely different blog, but it does bring up the beginning level of conviction that you must have to embark on a new career.

I knew in my soul that counseling is effective and that there was a place for me in the field because 1) it was something I felt called towards and 2) because what I brought to the field was unique. My previous career path, previous education and training, and previous life experiences shaped within me, a presence and perspective that was not only unique, but also distinct. After pursuing a graduate degree in counseling, I found that the distinct aspect of my identity informed the work I did as a counselor and was a great fit for the persons who sought counseling from me. I also found that there were many options and choices around what you can do with a counseling degree.

Where You Can Work with This Degree

Graduate counseling programs require practicum and internship opportunities which affords counselors-in-training the experiences of working in different settings and observing the many different ways that professionals in the field of counseling utilize their degree. The available environments and work opportunities from graduate school expand even further after graduation when you are looking at job openings both locally and nationally.

Settings can include community health agencies, public schools, churches, inpatient hospitals, outpatient centers, private practice, college counseling centers… and the list continues. Examples of places that you might find counselors employed include behavioral health agencies, hospices, hospitals, schools, universities, churches, insurance companies, employee assistance programs, and specialized centers (i.e. centers for substance abuse/recovery, eating disorders, domestic violence, holistic care, etc.), just to name a few.

What You Can Do with This Degree

Counselors can provide individual counseling, group counseling, and family counseling. This Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program housed in the Seminary of the Southwest incorporates the training and ability to intelligently speak to the spiritual experiences that clients present in counseling. With so many people valuing some variation of sacred belief (whether in a God, gods, Higher power, or source of meaning [i.e. nature, family, social action, etc.]), having this degree gives you the tools to holistically work with clients (mind, body, and soul).

Wait…. There is More You Can Do with This Degree

Another wonderful aspect of having this degree, is that if there is an area of need that is not being met in the community, you can apply for grants in order to create a counseling program or coordinate with existing programs to provide that need.

In addition to the work of counseling, there are also avenues where you can use a counseling degree to diversify and expand upon your training. You could use your degree and experience to be a consultant, to supervise, to teach, to present workshops and presentations, to work in leadership or administration, to advocate for legislative change, to research, to author books, and to do what has yet to be done.

The point is that there are many ways in which the work itself goes beyond the clinical work of counseling and from there, the sky is the limit.

So What Are You Going to Do With This Degree?

So when asked “What are you going to do with this degree?”, you know that there is a vast array of options. You can feel confident that there is space in this world for your uniquely destined path in counseling to unfold. By taking the first steps on that path towards this degree you allow your journey to begin to manifest the meaningful work that is waiting on you to fulfill. Now the question is….

“What are you waiting for?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *