How to Become a Domestic Violence Counselor
Education for Domestic Violence Counselors is your first step in gaining the skills necessary for the role of supporting victims after they have experienced trauma. Domestic violence counselors empower their clients to develop invaluable skills needed to confidently leave abusive relationships and live with personal independence and success. These important counselors are also tasked with helping their clients effectively stop the cycle of violence for their own welfare and the welfare of those around them. Stopping the cycles of violence can improve relationships throughout one’s life. Domestic violence counselors help their clients develop better self esteem, restore healthy relationship patterns, and learn to consistently display confidence.
Domestic violence counselors can work with clients in private practice or work with those at domestic violence crisis centers or social service groups. Within the justice system, there is an ongoing need for counselors to work with perpetrators.
Domestic Violence Counselor Education and Certification
When looking to obtain counselor licensing for domestic violence, the first thing you will need to consider is whether you are going to work with sufferers or offenders of domestic violence. While being a professional counselor it is important to remain up to date with the states laws. Another thing to consider is how independently you will work, the process will be different from state to state. To be licensed at the highest level you will need to complete a graduate education.
Getting the education and experience you need often involves first working with domestic violence survivors in some helping capacity. Some available positions are residential counselor and temporary manager. These are wonderful opportunities to get direct experience in helping people, assisting them with their needs, and providing a much-needed extra emotional support.
Working as a volunteer is a great way to start. Shelters are often in need of good volunteers. Organizations often demonstrate preference to individuals with relevant degrees, or past experience that proves relevant. Of course, it is always helpful if you have an academic background or work experience in one or more of the following: counseling, psychology, or social work.
It is not uncommon for survivors of domestic violence to want to work in counseling. Having this insight into the experience can provide one a distinct level of empathy. Talk to admissions officers and find the appropriate route to take for your career.
Applicants Who are Already Educated and Licensed in Mental Health
As a licensed counselor or social worker, you will be able to assist domestic violence victims. But, it may be in your best interest to obtain other certifications.
Certification and Licensure in Domestic Violence Counseling
The National Association of Forensic Counselors provides graduate level and non-clinical certifications
Certification in Domestic violence can be obtained through the Forensic Training Institute. This is available to anyone who is a licensed counselor who has completed a graduate education in psychology, social work, and addiction counseling.
Salary and Career Outlook for Domestic Violence Counselors
There is a growing need for specialized counselors in areas such as domestic violence and with The Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that the average mental health counselor earns $43190 per year it’s important you find the right school and get the education you need!