11 Alternative Careers for Counselors (Plus Salaries)

Updated March 10, 2023

If you want a job outside of counseling, the workforce offers many alternative employment opportunities. Whether you want to work for a specific age group or in a particular work setting, you can find a job that uses a similar skill set. Knowing the alternative careers to pursue can help you make a more strategic career change. In this article, we explain a counselor's transferable skills and list 11 alternative careers for counselors to pursue.

Related: 12 Counseling Career Paths To Consider

What are some of a counselor's transferable skills?

As a counselor, it's important to have a strong set of hard and soft skills. The latter, also known as transferable skills, can help you complete your duties no matter your profession. Here are some of a counselor's transferable skills:

  • Communication skills: Counselors use their communication skills to demonstrate active listening with their patients. They also use it to explain their thoughts clearly to other professionals in the same field.

  • Empathy: As a counselor, it's important to have a strong sense of empathy to better understand how your patients feel given their conditions or circumstances. This skill can help you build strong relationships and trust with your patients.

  • Problem-solving skills: Counselors use their problem-solving skills to identify and help improve their patients' negative thoughts and behaviors.

Related: Counseling Skills: Definitions and Examples

11 alternative careers for counselors

If you're looking for a job that relates to counseling, the workforce offers a variety of options in different work locations. Before changing professions, consider your career goals and the type of population you want to serve. In addition, consider the types of jobs you may qualify for, along with their primary duties and average salaries. Here are some alternative careers for counselors to consider:

1. Child care worker

National average salary: $29,340 per year

Primary duties: Child care workers supervise children in a child care facility while their parents are away or at work. They supervise children, ensure their safety, provide them with healthy meals, change diapers and help establish a set routine or schedule. Child care workers may also teach young children in a childcare facility and ensure their proper hygiene.

2. Academic adviser

National average salary: $38,758 per year

Primary duties: An academic adviser helps students with their academic plans, schedule and career goals. If a high school student plans on attending college, an academic advisor recommends courses and majors. They may also help high school students with their college applications. Overall, they help foster a student's academic development.

3. Case manager

National average salary: $39,171 per year

Primary duties: A case manager serves as a liaison between medical professionals and their clients. They facilitate and coordinate patient care, identify patient needs and review treatment options. A case manager may also work with patient families, social workers and human services providers.

Related: Learn About Being a Case Manager

4. Caseworker

National average salary: $46,302 per year

Primary duties: Caseworkers provide help and support to a variety of clients. They determine a client's needs, create plans to improve their livelihood and find local and public assistance resources and services as needed. Depending on a client's needs, caseworkers may also offer crisis intervention and therapy. Some of their other duties include filing case history reports, interviewing clients and serving as a liaison between their client and different services.

Related: Learn About Being a Caseworker

5. Special education teacher

National average salary: $50,538 per year

Primary duties: Special education teachers provide instruction to students with different disabilities. They prepare lessons, identify each student's learning difficulties and work with their colleagues to determine the special needs of each student. Special education teachers also adapt lessons to meet student needs, plan activities that coordinate with a student's needs, assess and track student performance and teach classes, small groups and one-on-one lessons.

Related: Learn About Being a Special Education Teacher

6. Social worker

National average salary: $57,790 per year

Primary duties: Social workers determine which individuals and communities require assistance. They identify an individual's needs and situation and help them adjust to the struggles they face in their life, such as divorce or unemployment. Social workers also observe client behavior and create treatment strategies that align with their clients' needs.

Related: Learn About Being a Social Worker

7. Outpatient therapist

National average salary: $63,028 per year

Primary duties: Outpatient therapists provide interventions to patients recovering from mental health disorders in outpatient facilities. They lead therapy sessions, review client histories and find the best patient treatment options. To find a suitable treatment plan, they consult with their patients and other professionals in their field.

8. Elementary school teacher

National average salary: $64,335 per year

Primary duties: Elementary school teachers educate children in kindergarten through the sixth or eighth grade. Working in public or private schools, they create lesson plans, track student performance, assign homework and grade tests. Elementary school teachers also provide feedback to parents regarding their student's progress.

Related: Learn About Being an Elementary School Teacher

9. Therapist

National average salary: $71,049 per year

Primary duties: Therapists diagnose patients with mental health disorders. After evaluating their patients, they create personalized treatment plans that align with patient needs. Therapists also meet with their patients for counseling, perform patient assessments and help individuals, communities and groups improve their mental health.

10. Mental health technician

National average salary: $84,612 per year

Primary duties: A mental health technician supports patients with mental health challenges. They provide direct care to patients, help with medication administration and promote a therapeutic environment. Mental health technicians also help patients with daily living activities and ensure their comfort during treatments.

11. Psychologist

National average salary: $94,803 per year

Primary duties: Psychologists help people cope with their mental health disorders. They study human behavior and brain function, observe individuals, identify psychological disorders and detect emotional or behavioral patterns. Psychologists also speak with patients, develop treatment plans and administer psychological tests.

Related: Learn About Being a Psychologist


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