Unconventional Careers for Counselors

Western Governors University

Mental Health Careers

Maybe you got a graduate degree in some kind of mental health discipline – social work, counseling, psychology – but you’re burnt out, disillusioned, or otherwise uninterested in pursuing a career path in this field. We have good news for you! A master’s in counseling or doctoral-level training in one of these fields may be applicable to a wide range of careers. With a little creativity, you may be able to transition your current skill set as a mental health worker to a job that’s related to counseling, but differs enough to keep you stimulated. Here are some examples of alternative careers for counselors that may get your wheels turning.

6 Alternative Careers for Counselors

1. Writer: Writers with technical knowledge of mental health careers can translate complex terms and concepts for the layperson, or write for professionals with a sophisticated grasp of the subject. In this day and age, the armchair-psychologist has a number of platforms, from popular magazines to scholarly journals, self-help websites to memoirs.

2. Consultant: If you’re an expert on a particular population, a particular setting, or a particular therapeutic modality, consider going into business for yourself or joining a consulting firm. The right marketing and branding may connect you with people, agencies and companies that sorely need your expertise.

3. Talk Show Host: Whether it’s radio, podcast, webcast or good old-fashioned television, skilled talk show hosts understand how to draw out their guests, ask scintillating questions, and keep the conversations flowing. If you hold a master’s or graduate degree in counseling or a related discipline, these may be talents you possess.

4. Entrepreneur: The booming self-help industry combined with the internet’s vast reach means that any social worker, psychologist, or counselor might have the potential to create a thriving online business based on information products. If you’re not afraid of learning a little bit about marketing and technology, the sky’s the limit. Consider creating an e-book, CDs, or webinars that help solve a particular type of problem.

5. Administrator: Do you enjoy management and administrative work? An administrator with a mental health graduate degree might be the perfect fit for certain kinds of agencies, such as non-profits focusing on volunteer and outreach work. You’ll need to possess (or quickly cultivate) good leadership skills, organizational skills, and vision.

6. Nanny: Think the job of “glorified babysitter” is beneath you ‘cause you hold a master’s degree? Think again. In some cases, the salaries may even be comparable. If you’re a mental health worker, you’ve may have qualifications that may make you particularly well suited for child care, especially if your experience includes infant and/or early childhood development.

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