English writer and social critic Charles Dickens once said that “no one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Those who work in the profession of counseling know all too well the burdens of others. Counselors spend their time helping others improve their quality of life by working through challenges such as drug abuse and poverty. They use their patience and kindness, as well as the knowledge they possess about various issues, to help guide their clients in overcoming their difficulties.

Counselors may work with children, adults or in group therapy. They are employed by group homes, schools, clinics or are in private practice.

There are a variety of counseling specialties; however, the golden standard for working as a counselor in any branch of counseling is a master’s degree. In order to become a licensed practitioner, a doctorate degree is required.

Demand for trained counselors is on the rise, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates a growth rate of 37 percent over the next decade.

The average annual salary for counselors in the United States as of March 2012 was $69,000.

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