What Are The Different Work Settings Of A Counselor?

"I want to major in counseling. What are the different settings in which a counselor may work? What types of jobs can I get with a counseling degree? I’m not sure I want to sit in a chair all day and hear people’s problems."

asked by Joan from Tampa, FL

Traditionally when people think of counselors, they think of people in private practice. A counselor sits in a chair with a patient on a couch spewing forth all their problems. This is common, but this is only one of the many avenues you can go down. There are numerous ways to use a counseling degree. Other common work settings of a counselor include:


You may choose to counsel at a school. School counselors can serve many different functions such as helping high school students plan for college and for a career; helping elementary school children who have ADHD, autism, or other special needs; and helping middle school children with their social and family life concerns.


A counselor in a hospital is likely to work with inpatient clients. The job functions could vary greatly from working with mental illness to helping someone through their grief to rehabilitation counseling.


Counselors employed by churches are often considered pastoral counselors. These types of counselors may counsel on many different issues, but they will likely revolve around spiritual concerns such as the afterlife, forgiveness, and morality.

Mental Health Clinics

Counselors in mental health clinics may work with inpatient or outpatient clients. Generally they will see more mental illness than a counselor in private practice. In other words they have a higher degree of clients with disorders such as bipolar disorder and a lower incidence of clients with marital discord as their primary concern.

Career Centers

Career counselors administer personality, aptitude, and interest assessments to help people determine their ideal career. They also counsel people who are in a career transition such as recently being laid off from a long-term position. In addition, they may help clients develop a good resume and prepare for interviews.

The sky is the limit when it comes to the type of work setting you want to have. You can start your own business and use your skills to help people in a new and innovative way. There is no rule about how you choose to use your education.

You may also be able to get jobs outside the traditional counseling field such as human resources, occupational therapy, writing, or speaking.

Many people with a counseling degree make a living from public speaking and writing books.

It’s important to determine what you are passionate about and what type of difference you desire to make in the world. When you pursue the things that come naturally to you and the things you are passionate about, you will be successful no matter what!

Career Spotlight: Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation Counselor

A rehabilitation counselor counsels clients with emotional and physical disabilities so that they can manage their conditions. In collaboration with other healthcare professionals, you will develop a [...]

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