Counseling Psychologists

About The Job

Assess and evaluate individuals’ problems through the use of case history, interview, and observation and provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment.

It is also Called

  • University Counselor
  • Therapist
  • Staff Psychologist at University Counseling Center
  • Staff Psychologist and Assessment Coordinator
  • Staff Psychologist
  • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
  • Sexual Assault Counselor
  • Senior Staff Psychologist, Counseling Service
  • Senior Staff Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist-Counselor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychologist/Psychoanalyst Private Practice
  • Psychologist
  • Program Counselor/Recovery Management Co-Coordinator
  • Personal Counselor
  • Mental Health Professional
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (Business Owner and Counselor)
  • Healthcare Science Specialist
  • Group Counselor
  • Family Psychologist
  • Elder Counselor
  • Counselor
  • Counseling Specialist
  • Counseling Services Director
  • Counseling Psychologist
  • College Counselor
  • Clinical Counselor
  • Child Psychologist
  • Child Custody Evaluator
  • Chemical Dependency Therapist
  • Behavioral Therapist
  • Behavioral Specialist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Behavior Therapist
  • Behavior Specialist
  • Applied Behavior Science Specialist (ABSS)


Preparation Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).


In 2017, the average annual wage in California was $94,910 with most people making between $48,420 and $130,110


2.14% avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 27,100 people in California. It is projected that there will be 32,900 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 580 openings due to growth and about 580 replacement openings for approximately 1,160 total annual openings.

Industries that Employ this Occupation

  • Elementary/ Secondary schools
  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Individual and family services
  • Outpatient care centers
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Colleges/universities and professional schools


Similar Occupations

Clinical psychologist

Diagnose or evaluate mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests, and formulate and administer programs of treatment.

Education teachers postsecondary

Teach courses pertaining to education, such as counseling, curriculum, guidance, instruction, teacher education, and teaching English as a second language. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SIA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative and Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology
  • Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • English Language
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Social Perceptiveness
    • Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Active Listening
  • Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Service Orientation
  • Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking
  • Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking
  • Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing
  • Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning
  • Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Education & Training

Health/Medical Psychology

A program that focuses on the psychological study of health and illness, and recovery, from the perspective that these phenomena arise from a combination of physical, behavioral, and social conditions. Includes instruction in abnormal and social psychology, psychophysiology, psychopharmacology, learning processes, clinical and behavioral therapies, biopsychosocial modeling, clinical procedures and assessment, preventive education, psychotherapy, rehabilitation processes, and research methods.

Applied Behavior Analysis

A program that focuses on the application of principles of learning and behavior to enhance the development, abilities, and choices of children and adults; and that prepares individuals to address the behavioral needs of individuals, especially those with developmental disabilities and autism. Includes instruction in behavior analysis and learning, behavioral and functional assessment, developmental psychology, applied behavioral analysis in developmental disabilities and autism, applied behavioral analysis in mental health and aging, research methods, evaluation of interventions, and professional and ethical issues.


A program that focuses on the psychology of aging and of elderly individuals and populations, with reference to growth and decline across the life span. Includes instruction in gerontology, developmental and adult psychology, age-related development and decline of cognitive processes, age-related psychological and neurological disorders, social and personality development in aging populations and individuals, and applications to the clinical treatment and care of older adults.

School Psychology

A program that prepares individuals to apply clinical and counseling psychology principles to the diagnosis and treatment of student behavioral problems. Includes instruction in child and/or adolescent development; learning theory; testing, observation and other procedures for assessing educational, personality, intelligence and motor skill development; therapeutic intervention strategies for students and families; identification and classification of disabilities and disorders affecting learning; school psychological services planning; supervised counseling practice; ethical standards; and applicable regulations

Psychology, General

A general program that focuses on the scientific study of individual and collective behavior, the physical and environmental bases of behavior, and the analysis and treatment of behavior problems and disorders. Includes instruction in the principles of the various subfields of psychology, research methods, and psychological assessment and testing methods.

Counseling Psychology

A program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of psychological counseling, involving the rendering of therapeutic services to individuals and groups experiencing psychological problems and exhibiting distress symptoms. Includes instruction in counseling theory, therapeutic intervention strategies, patient/counselor relationships, testing and assessment methods and procedures, group therapy, marital and family therapy, child and adolescent therapy, supervised counseling practice, ethical standards, and applicable regulations.

Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

A program that prepares individuals to practice the provision of psychoanalytic counseling to individuals and groups based on the psychodynamic principles evolved from authorities such as Freud, Adler, and Jung. Includes instruction in self-analysis, personality theory, dream analysis, free association and transference theory and techniques, psychodynamic theory, developmental processes, applications to specific clinical conditions, practice management, and professional standards and ethics.


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