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How to Become a Grief Counselor

Career News August 28, 2013

Grief is one of the strongest human emotions, and one that can be the hardest to move on from. Loss is usually the starting point of grief, be it a loved one’s death, or even the loss of a relationship or beloved pet. Thankfully, there are those that have chosen to pursue the noble path of grief counseling. If you are wondering how to become a grief counselor then read on for the required steps.

Before embarking on this path, you must make sure that you have an understanding of what the job entails. Your listening skills must be one of your strongest abilities, as most counseling will consist of active listening sessions. You must also be highly empathetic, and be able to handle people when they are often at their lowest ebb. Schools will help you prepare, but these basics skills are things that often come naturally if one wishes to be proficient at this type of job.

Training for Grief Psychology

A grief counselor or therapist must undergo a lot of training in order to enter this special field of work. There are both licensed and unlicensed counselors, but the first step for either is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. A degree in psychology, counseling, or other human services degree is where you begin. If you are looking for jobs in a higher income bracket then your goal should be to go after the master degree program in psychology.

Average pay in this career field is $40,000 annually, although higher education and the location of the job can truly make that number vary with the top ten percent earning upwards of $80,000. The outlook for this career is excellent, with a much higher than average growth rate, which means plenty of employment opportunities. This occupation is set to grow at forty percent until 2020.

Once you have the proper training, it is time to seek out the best job. Grief counselors are utilized in most areas such as hospitals, hospice locations, mental health facilities, and more. You can also choose to focus on one area of loss, such as helping those who have lost loved ones in the military, or those that have lost loved ones to a terminal illness.

Prepare for the Real World with Practical Experience

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Acceptance is often the stage people have a hard time reaching on their own. A kind guide to help give them the tools to move on, or even just allow them to voice all their sorrows, can truly help them accept their grief and learn to move on. This is an extremely challenging career, but helping someone live a happier life, there are only a few such noble jobs in the world.

There are many schools that can help you prepare for this career. Colleges and universities usually provide this program both online and on-campus. Check out our following schools to help set you on the right path to being a grief counselor.

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