5 Alternative Careers for Counselors

    Authored By

    Pursue The Passion

    5 Alternative Careers for Counselors

    What is an alternative career option for counselors?

    To help you sample career options available for counselors, we asked experienced career coaches and hiring managers this question for their best recommendations. From special education teacher to HR manager, there are several careers that counselors may pursue as fulfilling alternatives to their current roles.

    Here are five alternative career options for counselors:

    • Special Education Teacher
    • Administrator
    • Coaching
    • Academic Adviser
    • HR Manager

    Special Education Teacher

    The best alternative career option for counselors is special education teachers, as some of their extraordinary transferable skills include communication skills, problem-solving skills, and empathy. So, like special education teachers, they can provide proper instruction to students with various disabilities. In addition, they help prepare lessons, spot each student’s learning challenges, and work with their colleagues to ascertain the unique needs of everyone. On the other hand, these professionals also have expertise in the lessons to fulfill students’ needs, plan activities, coordinate with the student’s requirements, track their performance, and teach small groups and classes.

    Caroline Lee, CocoSign


    Counselors often make great administrators, as their interpersonal and conflict resolution skills are ideal in that field. Administrators, and other forms of managers, often are required to various forms of conflict resolution and people management, and a background in counseling with only help. Some of the most talented administrators I’ve known have a Master’s degree in social work or counseling.

    Rob Bartlett
    Rob BartlettCEO, WTFast


    While counseling and coaching are completely different, the skill sets have many similarities. A counselor supports individuals to become whole. A coach partners with individuals who are whole with a focus on what that individual wants to achieve.

    The International Coaching Federation defines it: "Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize
    their personal and professional potential."

    The training is different and at the same time we see many mental health professionals take our classes to become a coach. What drew professionals to counseling, helping people and working one-on-one, is what will draw them to coaching. The added benefit is how positive and proactive the interactions are with the people we serve.

    Cathy Liska
    Cathy LiskaCEO, Center for Coaching Certification

    Academic Adviser

    One of the most stressful parts of being a professional counselor is that you’re often counseling people who aren’t seeking help. It’s tough to deal with that level of resistance all the time. If you’ve had your fill of it, you probably want your next job to be working with people who are more willing to listen to advice. An academic advisor helps students with their post-high school plans. They’re looking ahead to college and their 40-year professional lives. They’re motivated and ready to listen. They want to hear from people who can offer them some good options and guidance. If you have a background in counseling, it should be an easy transition.

    Trevor Ford
    Trevor FordHead of Growth, Yotta

    HR Manager

    An HR manager is a great role for counselors, as it allows them to put their top-notch interpersonal skills to work. HR managers often resolve disputes in the workplace, ensure the adherence of employee protocol in the workplace, and oversee their individual department–all of which are great skills for someone talented at working with people and ensuring the right thing is being done. As listening in any managerial role is often 50% of the job, counselors have already shown they’re up for the task.

    Alex Wang
    Alex WangCEO, Ember Fund