What is Counseling?
A counselor is a professional who helps clients find a solution to their problems, whether these problems are emotional, behavioral, learning-focused, or if they are dealing with chemical imbalances or other medical or mental health problems.
Counselors need excellent communication and listening skills to excel in this role. The best counselors also have personal qualities such as empathy and warmth.
There are many different types of counselors, so the specific job description of these professionals can vary greatly. Regardless of the job title, counselors are generally expected to provide counseling to clients, collaborate with healthcare professionals, provide clients effective coping techniques, lead group sessions, refer clients to healthcare professionals, and communicate with families.
Counselors can be found working at the following places: schools, private practice, hospitals, health clinics, counseling centers, group homes, staffing agencies, and rehabilitation facilities. These professionals may work with families, individuals, groups, teens, children, seniors, and anyone else who is suffering.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, educational services, healthcare, and social assistance comprise one of the top industries in Minnesota, ranking the fourth largest industry based on its GDP.
Due to the fact that the professionals who are employed by this industry account for much of the state’s workforce, schools in Minnesota pride themselves in offering the most locally useful degrees for future counselors. By doing so, many schools are able to prepare students who can keep up with the increasing demands of this industry and meet all requirements for local licensure and success.
Online Counseling Education in Minnesota
Many schools in this state offer bachelor’s counseling programs, preparing students to become Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors. Several schools in Minnesota also offer master’s counseling programs, which can equip students with the necessary qualifications to become Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.
The state’s large stake in the mental health industry has also prompted schools to offer more degrees in this field. The state is home to an extensive array of mental health related degrees that focus on school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, family counseling, addiction counseling, and counseling psychology, among others.
Online Associate Degree in Counseling (AS)
An online associate counseling degree is perfect for prospective students who want to obtain an entry-level position, such as that of an addiction recovery support specialist.
These programs introduce students to the fundamentals of counseling and may consist of coursework such as introduction to addiction studies, group counseling, and counseling methods. These such courses are often taught by professors who have many years of experience in addiction counseling.
These programs should take about two years to complete, and many students who graduate with an associate degree in this field choose to pursue a bachelor’s counseling degree at a four-year university.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Counseling (BS)
An online bachelor’s counseling degree is highly recommended for prospective students who want to gain experience as an actual counselor. The program will prepare students to become Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors in Minnesota and will prepare them for the master’s degree they need to gain licensure outside of addiction counseling work. Graduates of these programs will have the necessary qualifications to work as a psychiatric technician, as well.
Students in these programs will learn exactly how to provide counseling to clients, cultivate therapeutic relationships with clients, and maintain ethical standards. In order to successfully complete the program, students must take courses such as introduction to substance use disorders, counseling and interviewing skills, and group counseling.
Online Master's Degree in Counseling (MS or MC)
The overarching goal of an online master’s counseling degree program is to prepare students to become fully licensed counselors. Once students graduate from this program, they will be prepared to take the examination to become a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, School Counselor, or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
During one of these programs, students will learn key topics including school counseling, mental health counseling, addiction counseling, clinical mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and family counseling. However, their specific coursework will depend on which licensure they are aiming for. As soon as students graduate from this program, many of them will become employed at mental health centers, hospitals, schools, community agencies, and more.
Online PhD Degree in Counseling (PhD)
A PhD or doctorate degree in counseling is most known for offering students flexible career options. As a recipient of this prominent degree, graduates can work in higher education leadership, research, counseling psychology, and advanced clinical practice.
In order to prepare students to excel in the above fields, these programs aim to provide students many research opportunities. Students can usually work with faculty to perform their research and may have the chance to become published if they participate in research at their school of choice. As far as coursework is concerned, students may be required to take courses such as Advanced Career Development, Advanced Counseling Theories and Techniques, and Counseling Psychology.
Become a Counselor in Minnesota
- Pursue an Online Counseling Degree
The first step is to obtain a counseling degree, which can prepare future counselors for many careers in the field. The specific type of counselor you want to become will decide what type of program you enter and what degree you must receive.
- Acquire Hands-On Experience Through an Internship
Since future counselors should have some idea of where they want a career to take them, they should definitely try to obtain an internship during their college studies. Most types of counseling positions require a wide variety of skill sets. An internship provides future counselors with hands on experience, enabling them to succeed in virtually any counseling position.
The most common types of counseling include family counseling, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, addiction counseling, clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and more.
- Obtain State Certification
This is the most important step because every state requires that counselors have licensure. Here are the certifications that Minnesota offers for certain counseling careers.
- Licensed Professional Counselor
The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (MBBHT) offers this license for anyone who wants to work as a professional counselor at an advanced level. In order to qualify, prospects must have a master’s or doctoral counseling degree from a university that’s CHEA or CACREP accredited and more than 2,000 hours of supervised experience. They must also pass the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam.
- Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
The MBBHT offers this license to those with a master’s or doctoral counseling degree from an accredited university and over 4,000 hours of supervised experience. They must also pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination.
- Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor
The MBBHT offers this certification to those with a bachelor’s counseling degree from a CACREP accredited school and more than 2,000 hours of supervised experience. They must also pass a written or written/oral examination.
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
The Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy offers this license to those with a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field and who have passed the LMFT State Licensure Examination.
- Licensed Psychologist
The Minnesota Board of Psychology offers this license to those with a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from an APA accredited school and who have passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
- Licensed Professional Counselor
- Get Involved with Professional Organizations
The primary benefit of joining a professional organization is that future counselors will have the opportunity to advance their career. Be sure to check out these professional organizations in Minnesota.
- Minnesota Counseling Association
- Minnesota Psychological Association
- Minnesota School Counselor Association
Potential Careers for Counseling Graduates
When people aren’t sure about their career goals, they seek out a career counselor. The main job of career counselors is to help clients find the perfect career for them. These professionals are able to accomplish this goal by interviewing clients and giving them personality/assessment tests to take. Career counselors often work at career services centers, a private practice, and staffing agencies.
- Family Therapist:
The primary responsibility of family therapists is to help families work through problems. If someone were to ask family therapists what they do, these professionals might say that they perform the following tasks: provide counseling to families, treat clients with mental conditions, mediate relationships, collaborate with other therapists encourage clients to set goals, and oversee client records.
- Mental Health Counselor:
The main objective of mental health counselors is to help people who have issues that prohibit them from enjoying a fulfilling life. The duties of mental health counselors may include providing counseling to patients, sharing effective coping techniques with patients, offering resources to patients, treating patients with mental illnesses, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. However, they must refer their patients elsewhere if they need to be prescribed medication because counselors cannot prescribe anything.
- School Counselor:
The mission of school counselors is to support students who may be struggling with their schoolwork, learning issues, or a mental health condition. As part of their job description, these professionals may counsel students, help students get along with teachers, recommend mental health professionals, and facilitate group counseling sessions. School counselors may also assist high school students with the college application process.