With a Trauma Counseling degree, you can work with people to heal from traumatic events. This includes identifying traumatic events, finding methods of acceptance for their past experiences, and developing healthy coping mechanisms that can be beneficial for future health. Professionals within this setting can work with people in all age ranges and can be positive factors for increased emotional growth.

Degree programs for Trauma Counselors often contain the generalized elements of counseling degree programs, as well as specialized courses in trauma studies. Students can learn about how early childhood trauma can play a role in abnormal brain development, future substance abuse issues, and potential compromises to the body’s immune system. Additionally, trauma counselors can work with those who have been victims of violent crimes, veterans, or anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Having this knowledge could be extremely important to counselors interested in nullifying the effects of trauma on individuals within their community.

Read more below to learn about this career field and how you can become a part of it.

Earning Potential of a Trauma Counselor

The role of the Trauma Counselor may be to assist people when they are in very vulnerable points in their lives. This meaningful career can truly influence the quality of life for the people being served. If you have considered Trauma Counseling as a career field, it is important to learn more about your earning potential and career stability.

Our team of educational experts has looked into Trauma Counseling in order to help you make the best choices. Earnings for counselors in this field are often dependent on many factors including where you choose to work, work experience that you may have gained along the way, and the type of responsibilities you have within your position.

The information provided in the list below was gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is representative of real counselors currently working throughout the U.S.

  • Counselors – Individual Services: $41,920 on average per year (BLS).
  • Counselors – All Other: $47,600 on average per year (BLS).

Career Outlook for Trauma Counselors

As the years progress, professionals may be learning more about how trauma can affect mental and emotional development in people from all age groups. This knowledge can help shape how Trauma Counselors engage in their everyday work, which can positively influence people being served. As it stands today, people that have experienced trauma may seek out counselors to help them adjust to normal ways of thinking and positive emotional influences to help increase their wellness or personal happiness.

In the future, you could see an increase in demand for professionals in this field as more people acknowledge their own traumas and search for relevant supports. Trauma counselors are also integrated into fields that influence personal development, such as medical settings and educational facilities. Quick and thorough intervention can be helpful with nullifying the effects of trauma on a person’s natural way of life, making their integration into these different areas of society important for individual growth.

Trauma Counselor’s Working Environment

Trauma Counseling can be an influential career choice for students interested in making a profound difference. The work performed in the field can be life-changing for people seeking assistance, especially for those that are ready and willing to make positive changes within their lives. The roles and responsibilities of Trauma Counselors can look different depending on where you are working. The end result of each position is often similar if not the same.

It is the job of the Trauma Counselor to help clients identify traumatic events that have shaped their manner of thinking and emotional response. Acceptance and healing are two important goals that are often worked towards during this type of counseling. A wide range of therapies are used to achieve this goal. Students in degree programs suitable for Trauma Counseling can learn in-depth methods for communicating and mediating these negative thoughts with their clients.

Counselors within this degree specialization can work in diverse fields including those at the state level. Social service agencies, retirement homes, schools, medical facilities, and non-profit organizations can call upon you to help clients find healthy ways to cope with their past traumas. If you have a certain group or cause you would like to work with, you should research how Trauma Counseling can be integrated into that field prior to applying to a program.

Skills and Attributes Preferred in Trauma Counselors

Working with clients that have experienced trauma may require a unique set of skills. If you are considering a transition to this field, you should compare your personal attributes to those of successful practitioners in this field. Working with survivors of trauma can be challenging. You want to ensure that you are equipped to manage the emotions and situations you will address with your clients.

Our team has listed some of the more well-known characteristics that can be beneficial for those interested in being a part of this field. See if any of these traits are similar to how you would describe yourself.

  • Strong-Willed
  • Willingness to Follow Client Lead
  • Attention to Detail
  • Sensitivity
  • Calming
  • Emotional Strength

Trauma Counseling Degree Programs

The degree program you choose for your education can lay the foundation for your later successes. You should choose degree programs that contain accreditation relevant to your field so that you can pursue your license after you graduate.

There may be a large amount of educational programs to choose from in both the online and traditional setting. Each of these options can allow you to explore the field of Trauma Counseling from an intuitive perspective, which allows for further learning and understanding along the way.

You can take different routes towards this career during your experience. Some professionals choose to initially pursue a general Masters in Counseling program and pursue certification later, while others located Masters in Counseling programs with focus in Trauma Counseling from the beginning. You may have a plan in mind that can set you on track for success. Regardless of which route you choose, you should gain the same level of experience within both areas along the way.

Bachelors in Counseling

Bachelor’s degree programs in counseling can be great for new students interested in learning the foundation of psychology. In these programs, students can spend around half of their time learning general education components. The counseling-based curriculum in the bachelors program can teach students more about general psychology and how it can be affected by the environment, as well as some of the social aspects that can play a role in general mental health.

Master’s Degree in Trauma Counseling

At the masters-level, students can choose to pursue a general Master’s in Counseling or locate a more specific Masters in Trauma Counseling. The general program can advise students on treatment of clients with a wide range of mental illnesses or disorders. Trauma Counseling programs can provide a more strict focus on how trauma can affect normal development, methods for intervention, and programs within the community that can be beneficial for those in need. Students can also take part in supervised internships as part of their masters program.

PhD/Doctorate in Trauma Counseling

Students that desire more education in counseling may find Ph.D. or Doctoral programs in Counseling more attractive. The Ph.D. program can be great for students interested in changing Trauma Counseling from a research or educational perspective, while the Doctorate in Trauma Counseling may focus primarily on the practical aspects of counseling services within the specialization.

Certification Programs in Trauma Counseling

If you already have a general diploma in counseling or mental health counseling, Certificate programs in Trauma Counseling could be a great way to extend your capabilities as a professional in this field. Courses within these programs may focus specifically on trauma and its interference with natural emotional growth. Certificate programs are shorter in duration than degree programs and can add a little more expertise to your professional resume.

Steps to Becoming Licensed in Trauma Counseling

Even though there are different options for pursuing your degree in Trauma Counseling, there is not as much slack during the licensing process. Each state has their own expectations for counseling licensure, so you should definitely review what your state requires before making any major educational decisions in the beginning. The steps to achieve your license are also very straight forward and contain little room for modification. Since the minimum degree level for licensing in counseling is the masters, you should include that on your list of goals towards working in this field. Our team has listed some of the most common steps for getting licensed in the field of Trauma Counseling below. As you read through, you should take into consideration the accreditation standards and experience requirements that are present within these steps so that you are prepared to make the right decisions during your path to success.

Step 1: Earn a Master’s or Doctoral Degree

The Masters in Counseling is the general minimum standard for professionals interested in becoming licensed in their future. Whether its 2-3 years in a masters program or 3-5 in a doctoral program, you can use your degree to find meaningful careers in counseling after completion. There are plenty of doctoral programs that can also help you gain the skills necessary for success in the field, so the degree program you choose is really a matter of preference. You should be sure to check the accreditation status of your program since this is often required for licensure in each state.

Step 2: Take Part in Field Training

During and after your degree program, you can expect to take part in a supervised work experience requirement to help extend your capabilities as a professional Trauma Counselor. These requirements can also vary depending on which state you live in, with most states requiring 3,000 – 4,000 supervised hours under a licensed counselor. This can translate to around 2-3 years for most students.

Step 3: Successfully Pass the Exam

Before you apply for your license, you must receive proper certification. After applying for your certification, you can take the National Counselor Examination in order to test your abilities and knowledge in the field. When you pass this examination, you can move forward to apply for a counseling license in your state.

Step 4: Apply for Your License

Each state may have varying processes for becoming licensed. In general, you submit an application with proof of degree completion, supervised experience, and certifications to your state’s licensing office. Some states also implement a short and standard law examination prior to approving your for practice in their state.

Professional Organizations for Trauma Counselors

The American Counseling Association

Finding support as a new Trauma Counselor can be best achieved by joining professional agencies such as the American Counseling Association. This organization can be great for counselors interested in learning about advancements in their field, new technologies, and methods for success with diverse groups.

The American Mental Health Counselors Association

Mental health organizations could be an option for you to consider when working as a Trauma Counselor. The American Mental Health Counselors Association brings together Counseling professionals.  Counselors from diverse settings work together to coordinate new methods for working with people from all age groups, group activities to assist with networking, and partnerships for field advancement.

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

If you want to make sure that you are taking all of the right steps as a student in Trauma Counseling, you should seek out information from the NBCC. This credentialing agency sets the standard for upcoming counseling professionals interested in becoming licensed in the future.

Counseling Specialization

Many counselors focus their practice on a specific population or need. Below you will find details about different counseling specializations and degree programs within that specialization.