Everyone has issues they need to resolve, like childhood trauma or abuse affecting their well-being. It is one of the many reasons why counseling is necessary. They help people resolve their issues and improve their well-being.
Scope of Work
Counselors help people resolve issues affecting their well-being. Most counselors use the wellness model to help their clients. The wellness model states that each aspect of an individual’s life is interconnected and has a spillover effect in other areas. This model is used to develop a treatment plan that targets all aspects of the client’s life. Counselors have many duties, including:
- Improving their clients’ mental well-being
- Encourage people to share how they feel and what they have been through
- Talk about issues affecting clients and their treatments
- Talk about clients’ goals and how to achieve them
- Refer clients to other services, if necessary
Counselors can make a direct positive impact on people seeking counseling to sort their issues. Counseling has many career fields. The three most common are LCSW, LPC, and LMHC.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
LCSWs are licensed, clinical social workers. They help people through therapy and provide additional helpful community resources to improve their well-being. LCSWs work in hospitals, primary care, and mental health centers. They also collaborate with other professionals to help patients. The academic requirements for LCSW are:
- Bachelor’s degree in social work
- CSWE-accredited Master’s degree in social work
Also, LCSWs’ master’s program must meet the state’s licensing requirements. Each state’s requirements are different. Lastly, LCSWs must have supervised clinic experience of at least 3000 hours and an LCSW license in the state of practice.
At entry-level, LCSWs earn $45k+/year. After gaining a few years of experience, they earn $60k/year. LCSWs with many years of experience can earn $70k+/year.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
An LPC is a licensed professional counselor. The difference between LCSW vs.LPC is that L.C social workers get trained in more areas than Licensed professional counselors. L.C social workers receive training in advocacy, social welfare, and societal issues, in addition to psychotherapy. Meanwhile, counselors only get training in psychotherapy. LPCs work with people to resolve mental, behavioral, and emotional problems and disorders. They work in mental health care centers, agencies, and organizations. Before getting a license, most states require LPCs to fulfill the following academic requirements:
- Earn a Bachelor’s degree in counseling, social work, psychology, or a closely related field
- Earn a CACREP accredited master’s degree in counseling.
- Have a practicum and an internship under their belts as part of their master’s degree.
LPCs must also have supervised clinic experience of at least 2000-4000 hours. Some states also require a provisional license from the state’s counseling board during their supervised clinic experience. Lastly, LPCs must pass at least one of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) exams. The NBCC has two exams which are:
- National Counselor Examination (NCE)
- National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)
For LPCs, the entry-level pay is $35k+/year. After a few years in the field, they can earn $50k/year. Top-level LPCs can average $65k+/year.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
An LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor. LMHCs work with people suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders affecting their life. LMHCs can work for social services, mental health clinics, or schools. They can also have their private practice. The main difference between LMHCs and LCSWs is that LMHCs focus mainly on mental health while the LCSWs treat various issues affecting their clients, like social policies and community health. LPCs are also different than LMHCs as they focus mainly on family and marriage issues. Before getting a license, states require that LMHCs fulfill the following academic requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in psychology or sociology
- Master’s degree in counseling, school counseling, marriage, family therapy, or similar
Also, states require LMHCs to have a supervised counseling experience of 1600-4000 hours. Lastly, LMHCs must pass at least one of the two exams:
- National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
- National Clinic Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE)
For LMHCs starting in the field, the average pay is $35k+/year. After gaining a few years of experience, they can make an average of $50k/year. LPCs with 5+ years of experience can earn an average of $70k/year.
According to WHO, an estimated 5% of adults worldwide have depression. Mental illnesses like depression can lead to suicide. Therapy is proven to help against depression and other mental illnesses. Licensed counselors can understand and empathize with clients suffering from various disorders and illnesses. They work with their clients to resolve their issues and improve their well-being. Counseling has many fields to choose a career from, LCSW, LPC, and LMHC being the most common. It is a good career to have as it is great knowing you had a positive impact on someone’s life.