Is Counseling a bad idea?

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Comments (3)

GeorgeannJ in Meriden, Connecticut

16 months ago

I am 27 years old and have a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art (first mistake). After years of working minimum wage office jobs to support myself, changes in life situations have given me a the opportunity to take a few years and go back to school full-time. I am planning on eventually relocating to Northwest CT (fairly rural) and am trying to be smart about what type of program I might choose. While I want to do something I enjoy, I am over "following my dreams" and am more concerned about finding something that won't leave me struggling financially for the rest of my life. I am trying to find the right balance of A) something that doesn't require a ton of schooling, B) something that falls in in a solid or growing job market (especially in more rural areas) and C) something I don't hate.
I did well in high school and college in most academic areas. The office jobs I've had have involved a lot of billing and technical work with numbers, computers and money which I have enjoyed very much and in which I've done very well. I am extremely organized and detail-oriented and I don't mind desk work at all (I actually prefer it). I've adapted pretty well to most work situations I've been in (including non-office jobs) but the few things I don't really like are corporate or huge work environments and working with elementary aged kids (though I don't think I'd dislike working with older kids/teenagers). I am somewhat of an introvert and generally prefer to work independently or in small groups.
I was playing with the idea of becoming a certified Medical Coder (I think I would really enjoy this) but I am not seeing ANY jobs posted in the NW CT area for this type of thing and I'd prefer to work somewhere smaller scale than a city hospital. I've always thought I would enjoy being a High School Guidance Counselor but in reading through some threads on here it sounds like it is a real struggle to find a job.

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GeorgeannJ in Meriden, Connecticut

16 months ago

(Does anyone have experience looking for Counselor work in the rural NE?). I really think I would like this too and found a Graduate program in School Counseling that would work for me time-wise and money-wise but I'm nervous about spending time and energy trying to get into another field that might be a dead end.
I am wondering now if I should maybe just try to find an Associate's degree program at a Community College that will prepare me more for some type of payroll/billing/accounting/bookkeeping position (I don't know Quickbooks, Peachtree, etc and have been unable to apply for a number of positions because of it). Would this be a smart move academically? Doing this would, I think, be up my alley but would not prepare me for a specific occupation which makes me a little nervous.
I'm also starting to think about getting a Masters in Speech Language Pathology or even going back to become a Physical Therapy Assistant. I don't think I'd dislike SPL but I'm honestly not sure about the PTA.
Does anyone have any thoughts on any of these fields/programs or any suggestions on other fields before I make a second dumb move? Or any experience with the job market in NW CT or Southern MA? I already wasted 5 years on Art and don't want to put myself further into debt for something that won't pay off.
Any thoughts are so much appreciated!!

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Camille McDaniel in Atlanta, Georgia

12 months ago

Let me say that is you are looking to have a financially secure job and you are moving to a rural area then you probably want to consider those jobs that people can't do without. Medical field, Education (elementary to high school), Financial. Then you want to survey those job markets for where you are moving to.

Counseling is a great field, matter of fact I am a licensed professional counselor myself! However, making a living in the counseling field in a rural part of town is something to look into. There may be a serious need for therapists in your area which could be great. However, you also need to know the economics of the area you will be in. Are there organizations you could work for or would you have to start your own business? If you started your own would you need to be able to accept insurance? <-- something you can only do once fully licensed for a certain amount of time, depending on which insurance company you are talking about.

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