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What Can I Expect with a degree in Higher Education Counseling?

Woman in circle of collegues.

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:21pm

Whether you enjoyed your college experience or have regrets, you can now use the wisdom you've obtained in the real world to help other students gain as much as possible through post-secondary education. As a higher education counselor, you will help students from a variety of backgrounds make the most of their college years. Higher education counseling may not be easy, but it is incredibly rewarding.

What Does a Higher Education Counselor Do?
College counselors fill a variety of roles, but all are committed to ensuring that students achieve success in both academics and the professional sphere. For many, this means offering guidance regarding various academic and career options. Students lacking basic organization and time management skills can also turn to counselors for help with implementing effective study habits.

Many counselors help students work through personal issues, including relationship problems, mental health issues, learning disorders, and substance abuse. By offering much-needed emotional support and guidance, higher education counselors can help students get through trying situations, which might otherwise convince them to drop out of college or put their educational aspirations on hold.

Although much of college counselors' work involves meeting directly with students and faculty members, administrative matters also make up a large part of the average counselor's workday. Depending on the school setting and job title, counselors may be required to gather and analyze data about admitted college students, write grant proposals, or create promotional materials for counseling programs.

Common Work Settings
Higher education counselors work in a vast array of settings, including everything from small liberal arts colleges to large public institutions. Many work at two-year community colleges and trade schools. Although the vast majority of higher education counselors assist college students, some work in high school career centers, assisting aspiring college students as they complete applications and seek financial aid. Counselors who work in high schools often hold part-time positions or travel between multiple schools.

A small subset of higher education counselor’s work on a freelance basis. Instead of working a standard forty-hour week onsite, these counselors may consult with students virtually or from home offices. This approach to higher education counseling allows for greater scheduling flexibility, and sometimes, greater earnings than are possible through traditional counseling jobs.

Challenges in Career Counseling
Enrolling in a Ph.D. program is a huge commitment, so it is important to be aware of the challenges associated with higher education counseling before you seek the necessary credentials. Although job growth is excellent in this field, you may find that you become so involved that your work hours outweigh the income. Counseling in a higher education setting is definitely a career one must have passion for.

Career Outlook For College Counselors
College enrollment continues to increase, and as more and more adults pursue degrees, the need for qualified counselors grows more urgent. In fact, according to the BLS, these jobs are expected to grow slightly faster than the average, at 8% growth from 2014-2024. Higher education counseling positions are expected to be especially abundant in coming years, as more and more colleges, universities, and trade schools open career centers for current students and recent graduates.

Becoming a Higher Education Counselor
The hard work begins long before you score your first job as a higher education counselor. Given the extensive responsibilities that fall on the average college counselor's shoulders, it is imperative that you gain a thorough understanding of psychology, sociology, and administration, especially as they relate to the higher education environment. These and other topics are covered through the University of the Cumberlands Counselor Education and Supervision program (CES), which allows aspiring counselors to pursue a PhD in leadership and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), an organization dedicated to accountability in higher education.

If you aspire to provide much-needed guidance for adults in the midst of a confusing, yet exciting stage of life, you can benefit from enrollment in the Cumberlands Counselor Education and Supervision program. This accredited and acclaimed program will equip you with the skills you need to make a difference in the higher education setting.