Counselor Job Description [Updated for 2024]

counselor job description

In the realm of human services, the importance of counselors has never been more prominent.

As society evolves, the need for skilled professionals who can guide, support, and protect the mental health of individuals amplifies.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s truly expected from a counselor?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the intricacies of counseling,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable counselor job description template, crafted for effortless posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right in.

Counselor Duties and Responsibilities

Counselors use their knowledge of psychological theories and counseling techniques to provide support, guidance, and mental health services to their clients.

This can involve working with individuals, groups, or families to cope with a variety of issues, such as emotional health, stress management, and relationship problems.

Their key duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assess and understand the needs, issues, and goals of their clients
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans
  • Utilize various therapeutic techniques to guide clients towards emotional well-being
  • Monitor client progress and make necessary adjustments to treatment plans
  • Conduct group therapy sessions when necessary
  • Provide crisis intervention in emergency situations
  • Maintain accurate and confidential client records
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to client care
  • Offer guidance on self-help strategies and techniques
  • Stay updated with latest research and practices in the field of counseling and psychology


Counselor Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a qualified and compassionate counselor to provide support and guidance to individuals dealing with mental, emotional or behavioral issues.

Counselor responsibilities include assessing clients’ mental health status, developing individualized treatment plans, and providing therapeutic interventions.

The ideal candidate should be well-versed in various therapeutic techniques, and possess the ability to work with diverse populations, including children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

Ultimately, the role of the counselor is to foster clients’ wellbeing by helping them develop coping mechanisms, improve interpersonal relationships, and address life’s challenges.



  • Conduct assessments to evaluate clients’ mental health status
  • Create individualized treatment plans
  • Provide individual, group, and family counseling sessions
  • Implement therapeutic interventions based on clients’ needs
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals for holistic client care
  • Maintain accurate and timely client records
  • Adhere to professional, ethical, and legal standards
  • Stay current with developments in the field of mental health
  • Educate clients and their families about mental health and wellness
  • Provide crisis intervention as necessary



  • Proven experience as a counselor or therapist
  • Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or related field
  • Current state licensure as a professional counselor
  • Proficiency in various therapeutic techniques (CBT, DBT, etc.)
  • Experience working with diverse populations
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Empathy and strong listening skills
  • Knowledge of legal and ethical considerations related to counseling practices



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Counselor
  • Work Environment: Clinical or office setting. Some evening and weekend hours may be required.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Clinical Supervisor or Director of Counseling Services.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $45,000 minimum to $70,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume, a copy of your licensure, and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Counselor Do?

Counselors typically work in various settings such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, private practices, and corporations.

They provide guidance to individuals, couples, families, and groups who are dealing with issues that affect their mental health and wellbeing.

These issues can range from substance abuse, marital problems, stress management, self-esteem issues, to dealing with major life changes or events like bereavement.

Their work involves conducting individual and group therapy sessions, creating treatment plans, setting goals, and evaluating the client’s progress.

They use a variety of therapeutic techniques and modalities depending on the nature of the client’s problems and their individual needs.

Counselors also often collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses to provide comprehensive care to their clients.

In addition to providing therapy, counselors also perform administrative tasks such as maintaining client records, billing, and reporting.

They may also conduct research and engage in continuous education to stay updated with the latest findings and techniques in their field.

Whether helping someone navigate through a personal crisis or aiding in mental health treatment, the counselor’s primary goal is to assist clients in understanding and addressing their issues, thereby improving their quality of life.


Counselor Qualifications and Skills

A proficient counselor should have the qualifications and skills that align with your job description, such as:

  • Exceptional communication skills to effectively discuss and understand the issues presented by the client, and to provide guidance or advice.
  • Empathy and patience to listen and understand clients’ problems, showing an understanding and caring attitude.
  • Problem-solving abilities to help clients explore and understand their issues and develop effective strategies to resolve them.
  • Good observational skills to accurately assess clients and determine the most effective treatment plans.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to build trust and strong relationships with clients.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and ethical standards as required by the profession.
  • Knowledge and understanding of various counseling techniques and theories to provide appropriate treatment.
  • Ability to work well under pressure and handle stressful situations with grace.
  • Willingness to continually learn and keep up-to-date with the latest counseling practices and theories.
  • Capability to work with diverse populations and adapt counseling methods to meet individual client needs.


Counselor Experience Requirements

Entry-level counselor candidates usually hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field.

They may also have some relevant experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time roles in counseling, social services, or healthcare.

This initial experience helps in understanding the basic counseling techniques, therapies, and patient interaction.

Mid-level candidates generally have a master’s degree in counseling or a related field along with at least 2-3 years of experience.

They might have served in roles such as Mental Health Counselor, School Counselor, or Substance Abuse Counselor.

They are expected to possess a strong understanding of counseling theories and models, crisis intervention, and therapeutic techniques.

Candidates with more than 5 years of experience are often licensed professional counselors or licensed clinical social workers.

They have extensive experience working with diverse populations, managing complex cases, and providing supervision to junior counselors.

These seasoned counselors are typically ready for roles that involve leading a team of counselors, coordinating services, or overseeing programs.

In all cases, counselors are expected to have excellent listening, empathy, and communication skills.

Additionally, certification or licensure is usually required and varies by state.

Continuing education is also crucial in this field to stay updated with the latest counseling techniques and approaches.


Counselor Education and Training Requirements

Counselors typically require a Master’s degree in counseling or a related field, like psychology or social work.

Before enrolling in a Master’s program, they must complete a bachelor’s degree.

This could be in various disciplines, but degrees in psychology, social work, or human services are particularly beneficial.

These programs provide both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in counseling techniques, ethics, and various areas of human behavior and development.

Counselors also need to complete a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience, usually performed during an internship or practicum.

In almost every state, counselors need to be licensed, which generally requires a Master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.

Also, they must pass a state-recognized exam.

Some counselors choose to pursue a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Psychology degree, which often indicates the counselor’s dedication to the field and may lead to higher-level positions.

Continued education is essential for counselors to stay informed about new methods and research in their field.

Many states require counselors to engage in ongoing learning to maintain their license.

Professional certification, such as from the National Board for Certified Counselors, is not always required but can enhance a counselor’s credibility and open up new job opportunities.


Counselor Salary Expectations

A Counselor earns an average salary of $46,240 (USD) per year.

The actual earnings can vary greatly depending on the counselor’s specialization, level of experience, education, geographical location, and the type of institution they work for.


Counselor Job Description FAQs

What are the essential skills a counselor needs?

A counselor needs strong interpersonal skills as they will be working with diverse individuals and groups.

They should have excellent listening and communication skills, to understand and empathize with their clients’ issues.

Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills are also crucial.

A counselor should also be patient, compassionate, and non-judgmental, and have the ability to maintain confidentiality.


Do counselors need specific qualifications or degree?

Most counselors are required to have a master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

They also need to complete an internship or supervised practice in their area of specialization, such as marriage and family therapy, substance abuse counseling, or mental health counseling.

Most states require counselors to be licensed, which typically involves passing a state-recognized exam.


What should you look for in a counselor resume?

First and foremost, look for a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited institution.

Check for licensure and certifications relevant to the counseling field.

Practical experience, internships, or supervised practice are crucial; a counselor needs real-world experience to effectively guide clients.

Look for any specialization or focus areas that may align with your organization’s needs.


What qualities make a good counselor?

A good counselor should be empathetic and have the ability to build trust with their clients.

They should have excellent communication and active listening skills, patience, and the ability to maintain confidentiality.

They should also have a strong understanding of cultural diversity and the ability to adapt their approaches to meet the specific needs of their clients.

A good counselor should also be committed to ongoing professional development to stay updated with the latest counseling techniques and research.


What are the daily duties of a counselor?

A counselor’s daily duties may include conducting individual or group therapy sessions, evaluating clients’ physical and mental conditions, developing personalized treatment plans, and maintaining confidential case notes.

They may also participate in meetings with other healthcare professionals, attend professional development workshops, and conduct outreach programs to educate the community about mental health issues.



And there we have it.

Today, we’ve delved deep into the world of what it really means to be a counselor.

And guess what?

It’s not just about lending an ear.

It’s about building bridges of understanding, one conversation at a time.

With our handy counselor job description template and real-world examples, you’re well-equipped to make your next move.

But why stop there?

Explore further with our job description generator. It’s your next step to creating precise listings or tailoring your resume to perfection.


Every conversation is a step towards a healthier mind.

Let’s shape that future. Together.

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