Teenager Development Counselor Career Info

As adolescents become teens, they often struggle with challenges that are difficult to overcome. A teenager development counselor addresses behavioral issues that may arise as teens try to cope with social, academic and emotional pressures. Learn more about the education and skills required for a career in counseling, by reading further.

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Career Definition

Teenager development counselors work with at-risk youth and their families. They try to help teens find constructive ways to deal with problems, such as emotional issues, substance abuse, aggression, grief and destructive behavior. A teenager development counselor may have his or her own practice, but many are employed by schools, private counseling centers, teen pregnancy programs and addiction rehabilitation facilities.

How to Become a Teenager Development Counselor

Required Education

Most teenager development counseling positions require a master's degree in counseling or psychology from an accredited university. Some employers will hire trainees with a bachelor's degree and coursework in the social services field if they are pursuing a master's degree. A state license is also required to practice counseling in all states except California. Licensing requirements vary by state, but usually include passing an exam issued by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Additionally, the NBCC offers a voluntary National Certified Counselor professional credential (www.nbcc.org). Practicing teenager development counselors must also take continuing education courses to maintain certification and licensure.

Skills Required

Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, are needed to be a teenager development counselor. In many regions, being bilingual is also an asset. They need to have a good understanding of various treatment techniques so that they can document client progress, make evaluations and plan treatment. Teenager counselors often interact with teens one-on-one, but they should also be able to conduct sessions with family members and in group settings. Teenager development counselors in private practice should have good business management skills.

Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the counseling profession in general to be a fast growing profession, with a projected employment increase of 29 percent for mental health counselors from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Those who specialize may see the most gains. Employment in areas involving youth, such as teenager development counseling, may also increase as schools begin to expand preventive counseling programs.

Alternate Career Options

Psychologist

Usually requiring a doctoral or specialist degree in psychology, in addition to licensure or certification, some positions may only call for master's degrees. Psychologists' work involves observing and interpreting human interactions within their environments. The BLS reported annual median earnings of $69,280 in 2012 and predicted average growth of positions, with a 12% increase expected from 2012-2022.

Rehabilitation Counselor

These professionals normally have master's degrees in rehabilitation counseling or related areas, and some jobs require licensure or certifications. These counselors assist people with physical and emotional challenges to live independently. From 2012-2022, faster than average job growth of 20% was projected by the BLS, and an annual median salary of $33,880 was revealed in 2012.

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