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Typically, education for a counseling psychology career begins with an undergraduate degree. Most students choose to begin with a bachelor’s in psychology as this offers a great foundation for advanced education that will follow. Counseling psychology concentrations are uncommon, but some graduate programs offer more options to dive further into this specialty.

Following their undergraduate education, students will pursue either a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology. Regardless of which degree they pursue first, the doctoral degree will be necessary to practice. Most states require a doctoral degree from an accredited university.

Counseling psychologists pay attention to how problems and people differ across the lifespan, and they have great respect for the influence of different human traits, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability status, on psychological well-being. They conduct counseling/psychotherapy, teach and perform scientific research with individuals of all ages, families and organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals and businesses). They believe that behavior is affected by many things, including qualities of the individual (e.g., psychological, physical or spiritual factors) and factors in the person’s environment (e.g., family, society and cultural groups).

You will work with individuals, (children, young people, adults and older adults), couples, families, with groups and at an organisational and community level.

You may work as part of multi-professional teams including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and a range of other psychological professionals.

In a management or leadership role, you could contribute to the design and implementation of services for patients.