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Oswego Career Ladders - Counselor

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Industry: Healthcare
Area: Mental Health

Counselors assist people with personal, family, educational, mental health, and career decisions and problems. Their duties depend on the individuals they serve and on the settings in which they work.

Vocational counselors
(also called employment counselors) help individuals make career decisions. They explore and evaluate the clients education, training, work history, interests, skills, and personality traits, and arrange for aptitude and achievement tests.

Rehabilitation counselors
help people deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. They counsel people with disabilities resulting from birth defects, illness or disease, accidents, or the stress of daily life. They evaluate the strengths and limitations of individuals, provide personal and vocational counseling, and arrange for medical care, vocational training and job placement.

Mental health counselors
emphasize prevention, and work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. They help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; depression; suicidal impulses; stress management; problems with self-esteem; issues associated with aging; job and career concerns; educational decisions; issues related to mental and emotional health; and family, parenting and marital problems.

Marriage and family therapists apply principles, methods, and therapeutic techniques to individuals, family groups, couples, or organizations for the purposes of resolving emotional conflicts.

Work Settings

Depending on specialty, counselors work in elementary and secondary schools; college and universities; healthcare facilities; job training, career development, and vocational rehabilitation centers; social agencies; correctional institutions; residential care facilities such as half-way houses, and group homes for children, the elderly, and the disabled; drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers; state and local government agencies; and private practice.


Although a bachelors degree is the minimum requirement, over half of practicing counselors have a masters degree.

Job Outlook

24 percent increase over the next 10 years.


Average annual salary $23,000 - $67,000.

Work Schedule

40-hour week.

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