Earning Additional Certifications in Counseling

Specialization- that is the key to success.

This is a common theme promoted in all areas of work right now.  People are challenged to become so specialized in one topic that they become an "expert".  The idea is becoming specialized creates a niche and job security.  

I believe there is a lot of truth to this, but I also think there is a value in being a "jack of all trades".  Being diversified in your work allows for growth in many areas.  It also avoids putting all your eggs into one basket.

In counseling, many people specialize in a certain field.  Even me- my specialization is in forensic psychology.  Becoming highly skilled and knowledgeable in one area is great, and can open opportunities for future work.  Just make sure you are picking the right specialty.

For example, years ago I paid hundreds of dollars for an anger management certification program.  I paid my money, completed the coursework, received my certificate, began adding a few additional letters to the end of my name, and thought this would help grow my business.  WRONG.  The only thing it grew was the pocket of the person who offered the course.  A specialization or certificate that has no real value or credentialing is worthless in my opinion.  Don't make the same mistake I did early in my career.  Spending money on a certificate that is meaningless will not create new business.  Becoming immersed in learning about something that you are passionate about will.

Before purchasing a certificate course, ask yourself this question: how will this certificate be able to grow my business in the next year?  If you don't have an answer, why spend the money and time?  I would challenge you to find the area of counseling (or whatever work you do) that creates interest and passion and begin learning about it.  Reading and research on the Internet is mostly free and will allow you to naturally transition into a specialty as you develop your knowledge base and skills.  Trust me, your client doesn't know (or care) about those letters after your name anyway.  They only care about whether or not you are the best at your job, and that you can help them.