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Significant growth in counseling employment projected for the next decade

January 13, 2010

Becoming a counselor is good bet these days. The field is projected to have significantly above average employment growth in the next decade. The 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment in all areas of the counseling field are projected to grow. This data led to a U.S. News report ranking marriage and family therapy as one of the 50 best careers for 2010.

 Overall employment of counselors is expected to increase by 18 percent between 2008 and 2018, with large gains for counselors who work with substance abuse and behavioral disorders (21%), schools (14%), mental health (24%), and marriage and family therapists (14%).

The projected increases in employment are attributed to the fact that job openings are expected to exceed the number of graduates from counseling programs, particularly in rural areas. As people become more knowledgeable and comfortable with counseling, more will seek out services. Substance abuse counselors should enjoy particularly good job prospects, in part because drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than to jail. In addition, under managed care systems, insurance companies increasingly are providing for reimbursement of counselors as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists.

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