Child Counselor Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Nearly 3 million children throughout the United States have been diagnosed with behavioral and emotional problems. These types of problems are difficult for children and parents to cope with. Child behavioral problems not dealt with early in life often carry over into adulthood. For example, children that struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than their peers to become alcoholics. Teachers and parents often overlook minor behavioral problems in children that eventually become serious. As a result, they do not receive adequate help to correct behavioral issues. Children are often reluctant to talk to their parents, but many children are willing to speak freely to counselors.

Child counselors utilize various treatments, including art therapy and psychotherapy, to treat children with severe depression, ADHD, and behavioral problems. Before this can be done, they must properly diagnose their patients. During diagnostic sessions, career counselors take into account many factors, including home environments, physical abuse, and social issues. If problems can be recognized early, counselors can recommend treatments that enable children to live healthy, normal, and happy lives.

Education and Training Requirements

Most states require child counselors to become licensed. Holding a master's degree in social work, psychology, or counseling and completing 3,000 hours of supervised experience are typically required by state licensing boards. Most states also require child counselors to enroll in continuing education classes, pass a test, and sign an ethical standards statement. Although child counseling jobs can be obtained with master's degrees, counselors with doctorate degrees can participate in university-level research.

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