Careers in the Helping Professions

Master of Social Work, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (MSW, LCSW)

Typical Job Duties

  • Provides psychotherapy and active problem-solving assistance to individuals, families, and children in community mental health agencies, social service agencies, college counseling centers, private practice, hospitals, schools, etc.
  • Counseling individuals, couples, and families to improve the clients’ quality of life
  • Lead therapy groups for individuals with specific problems (e.g., substance abuse, eating disorders, depression)
  • Administering a prevention program for at-risk populations (e.g. teens, children, the aging, the disabled)
  • Providing crisis and emergency intervention and counseling Education and Licensing
  • Minimum degree, Master’s of Social Work (MSW)
  • Coursework and practicum in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems
  • Does not provide training in psychological testing
  • Training is generalist and focuses on at-risk populations like, the aging, children, youth and families, physically and mentally disabled, child welfare and schools
  • To become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), must first apply to be an associate clinical social worker, must complete 3200 supervised hours, must pass written and oral exam

National Association of Social Workers – Information on social workers across the country

Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT, LMFT)

Typical Job Duties

  • Help people with personal, family, social, and developmental problems
  • Work with individuals, couples, and families to resolve emotional conflicts and improve interpersonal functions
  • Practice psychotherapy and help clients with less severe psychological problems in mental health centers, social service agencies, counseling centers, private practices, etc.

Education and Licensing

  • Master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • To become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), must complete 3,000 supervised hours in no less than 2 years, must pass written and oral exam

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists – National Organization for Marriage and Family Therapists

School Psychologist

Typical Job Duties

  • Primarily work in K-12 school systems with students, their families, and teachers
  • Major portion of work involves diagnostic assessment of students’ learning aptitudes, special needs, and personality, emotional, social development
  • Evaluating effectiveness of programs, conducting individual or group counseling with students, making referrals to appropriate services Education and Credentialing
  • Minimum of a Master’s degree, consisting of 60 semester units with one year fieldwork, Specialist degree is recommended (between MA and PhD)
  • Requires Pupil Personnel Services credential
  • School psychologists with PhD can become licensed psychologist

National Association of School Psychologists – National Organization for School Psychologists

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing – Learn how to obtain a PPS credential

Guidance/Educational Counselor

Typical Job Duties

  • Individual and group counseling with students
  • Administering achievement, aptitude and vocational testing
  • Crisis intervention, prevention programs
  • Consulting with parents, faculty, and administrators
  • Elementary school counselors focus on behavioral problems
  • Secondary school counselors focus on academic, college, and career advising
  • Guidance counselors typically work in K-12 grades
  • Educational and Vocational counselors work in post-secondary institutions (community colleges, private and public universities) Education and Credentials
  • K-12 – Requires Master’s degree as well as Pupil Personnel Services credential, many programs combine M.Ed. with credential
  • Community College – Requires Master’s degree in Counseling (e.g., MFT, career, guidance, rehabilitation, student affairs/higher ed.)
  • 4 year colleges and universities – At least Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, education preferred

Accredited Counseling and Education Programs CACREP – Find accredited graduate programs in counseling

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing – Find out how to obtain a PPS credential

Rehabilitation Counselor

Typical Job Duties

  • Providing individual and group counseling for the disabled and aging in hospitals, community health agencies, schools, college disabled services, government agencies
  • Assessment and Evaluation of disabled individual’s strengths and limitations
  • Providing educational and vocational counseling
  • Planning a client’s rehabilitation program
  • Outreach programs to educate public regarding disabilities

Education and Training

  • Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or psychology

Accredited Counseling and Education Programs CACREP – Find accredited graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling