Counseling is known as one of the helping professions. Counselors assist in behavior modification, and provide emotional support and guidance to people in all walks of life. As a counselor, you might work with abused children, people with drug and alcohol dependencies, or the homeless. Or you might work in a school advising students on college decisions and teaching stress reduction techniques.
Counseling is usually a concentration within a psychology major, or is overseen by a psychology department. Generally, this major requires a foundation in biology and statistics. You’ll begin with general psychology in your first year. From there, you’ll move on to the classes in abnormal psychology, personality, psychological testing and evaluation, and behavior modification.
Before you know it, you’ll be rushing to the aid of everyone on your hall that gets dumped or has pre-exam jitters. You may also get roped into volunteering as a test subject for the graduate students. It’s all part of the fun.
Be aware: with this major, you will probably need an advanced degree to operate as a licensed counselor in a private or group practice. In some states, you must have a Ph.D. in order to obtain this license. Check with your prospective school to find out more about state requirements and graduate study opportunities.
A good background in arts and sciences will serve you well. If your school offers it, take psychology and strive to excel in it. Pick up classes in statistics if you can. Other than that, you can gain experience volunteering your time to hospitals, crisis lines, shelters, and other organizations that offer counseling services.