Career Options With a Degree in Community Counseling

What Does Community Counseling Focus On?

Community counseling is a field of study that focuses on helping entire communities resolve problems that are related to social discord and psychological issues. Typical issues that are addressed in this field include poverty, prejudices, school dropout rates, substance abuse, and other social issues that may be prevalent among particular communities. Traumatic events such as terrorist attacks, the effects of war, and the occurrence of natural disasters, as well as their impact on the psychological well-being of entire communities, are also addressed through community counseling programs.

Community counselors are concerned with helping communities move through hard times to restore stability and emotional harmony. They investigate the root causes of widespread psychological issues within communities and try to bring balance back to those who are impacted. In order to make significant changes, these professionals work with individuals and families within a community as well as the communities as a whole.

Community counselors often work closely with community leaders and are involved in developing outreach programs to help people who live in the impacted communities. Although they cannot fix all of the social ailments within afflicted communities, they can point individuals and families to appropriate resources.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not indicate the outlook for Community Psychology specifically however it does indicate that the related fields of Health Educators and Community Health Workers is projected to grow faster than average for all occupations. Driven by various communities’ efforts to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, this field is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Career Path and Options

Community Counselor

In the aftermath of a disaster, community counselors are often needed to provide counseling services for people who are experiencing various emotional and mental distresses that has been caused by the disaster. Events such as floods, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, and other natural disasters can leave people feeling scared, anxious, depressed, and helpless. Community counselors are called upon to help communities deal with the trauma that the events caused. These professionals are often hired by schools, state and local governments, and various nonprofit organizations to help communities recover from these types of disasters. Counseling often focuses on working through the loss of loved ones, homes, and property as well as regaining overall stability.

You might also find these professionals working in hospitals, substance abuse clinics, and social service agencies as they help people cope with loss due to traumatic or community wide events. They work with people individually but also as a group to help improve the community dynamics.

Although a specific wage for a Community Counselor was not noted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the related field of Mental Health Counselor earns an average mean wage of $43,990 annually, as of May 2014.

College and University Faculty

Community counselors are often found teaching and conducting research at colleges and universities across the country. Although Faculty are often found teaching classes, they are also quite involved in conducting research. Research in this area is important as it often helps to shape policy development.

This area of research is also influential in determining what programs are effective in helping to restore communities. Faculty often publish their research findings in professional and academic journals which are then utilized during program development.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the related career of Postsecondary Education Teacher earns an average mean wage of $65,180 annually, as of May 2014.

Community Consultants

Community counselors are also called upon as Consultants to help with widespread community issues. These issues include poverty, school attendance, criminality, and other social ailments. They evaluate the systemic cause of community problems and offer solutions to alleviate some of the distress. They often provide feedback directly to community leaders and organizational heads regarding services that would best serve the communities.

Professionals in this field are often tasked with organizing prevention programs to help communities avoid the factors that are causing the distress. Community counselors are also prevalent in heading up community awareness campaigns to help bring attention and awareness to the problem and more importantly to the solution to the public ailments. They are often found in disadvantaged communities helping individuals and families living in them. However, they can also be found in high income communities, particularly following any natural disaster. In this role, Consultants generally have resources available to refer individuals and families to help them recover from community afflictions.

It is not unusual for community counselors to meet with legislative representatives to discuss social problems as they are very instrumental in making policy changes and getting funding for programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the related field of Health Educators earns an average mean wage of $55,260 annually, as of May 2014.

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