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What can you do with a master’s degree in counseling?

May 21, 2021

As you decide whether you’re ready to earn your master’s in counseling degree, it’s important to recognize the vast array of counseling jobs you can pursue. There’s a critical need for mental health counselors experienced in substance abuse, inpatient care and children and adolescents. The experience and insights you gain in a counseling graduate program can be valuable in many different roles and industries, including clinical settings, workplaces, schools and nonprofits. Learn more about the traditional and nontraditional counseling degree jobs you can pursue.

Clinical counselor

Many earning their master’s in clinical mental health counseling intend to pursue a career as a clinical counselor. In this role, you work with individuals and groups assessing mental, behavioral and emotional disorders and issues, and work with them to find successful treatment. In many states and regions, finishing your master’s degree is a requirement for earning your licensure.


Take on a leadership role as the administrator in a clinic or agency setting, government agency, nonprofit, foundation and university. Your understanding of the profession can be a valuable skill set when addressing what counselors need to be successful. In agencies, administrators often serve as a mentor and sounding board, help prevent burnout among staff, lead trainings and organize professional development opportunities. This type of role can also require a focus on building and fostering partnerships with other community stakeholders.

Community health educator

This is a role where your goal is to promote wellness for individuals and communities. Your responsibilities can involve community outreach, connecting individuals with healthcare services, assessing the needs of your community and filling resource gaps, evaluating effectiveness of your agency’s programming, and advocating for important causes. Community health educators are regularly needed to act in a more traditional counseling role. This is one of many counseling degree jobs that exist in a variety of different environments, including hospitals, schools and nonprofits.

Wellness coach or counselor

A wellness coach is similar to a traditional counselor role, but often your focus is on achieving specific goals and helping clients make measurable steps forward in their life. These goals can include losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing stress or addressing other lifestyle changes. A wellness coach provides tools and strategies to clients and acts as a source of motivation. In this role, you can work one-on-one with clients or work within a larger institution, such as colleges, corporations and other organizations.


Teaching in many colleges or universities requires a doctorate, and in many cases, you must be an active researcher as well. However, teaching within post-secondary institutions is possible with only a master’s degree. As an adjunct instructor or professor, you can continue working while you share your ongoing experiences. Community colleges also offer another opportunity for you to teach without a terminal degree. As an educator, you would lead class discussions, share your insights and teach the core tenets of counseling and other behavioral studies.

Guidance counselor

School can be stressful for many students. It can also be a safe place for those facing difficulty in their homes or outside of class. A guidance or school counselor can help provide support as they navigate difficult transitions in their life and help students focus on their education and their futures. This is a role that works closely with parents, teachers and administrators, and it can be helpful to pursue a degree program with coursework specializing in working in schools or working with children and teens.


As a researcher, you can test and assess programming and evidence-based practices to see what provides more positive outcomes. In this role, you can help independent, nonprofit and government agencies ask for additional funding, promote smarter counseling practices and connect with practitioners, while working in a number of settings.


Your background as a counselor can be extremely critical as a victims advocate. In this role, you’ll work with a wide range of individuals, including children and teens who need help navigating the legal system and finding mental health and healthcare resources. This is an intense and emotionally challenging job, but it is also an important one as victims often face a frightening and confusing experience following traumatic incidents, which can include domestic abuse, hate crimes, and assault or other violent crimes.

Human resources

In the HR department of an organization, you can help implement better policies, find smarter ways to address employees’ needs and even help people land jobs. As a counselor, you already have the skills to thoughtfully interview candidates, understand what motivates people and their behavioral responses, mediate disputes, and conduct investigations on harassment and other workplace violations.

Making a difference in others’ lives.

When you earn the online master’s in clinical mental health counseling from Marquette University, you are preparing to meet the educational requirements for licensure necessary to embark on a career marked by purpose and service. You’ll find a flexible online learning experience, so you can continue your full-time job while getting ready for your next career move. No matter what path you choose to pursue, know that you’ll have the skills, knowledge and compassion to take on a fulfilling job.