Career Paths and Data Trends

Program marketable skills
A Master of Education Counseling Student will demonstrate analytical and critical thinking skills.
A Master of Education Counseling Student will demonstrate empathy and listening skills.
A Master of Education Counseling Student will demonstrate deductive and inductive cognitive skills.

Marketable skills dissemination strategy
Marketable skills are included in course syllabi for the M.Ed. Counselor degree and the faculty will discuss them online or in-class with students. Each marketable skill development will include consideration of the cultural influence on an individual’s perceptive outlook. The cultural focus will be reflected in all courses and considered explicitly in the EDUC 6318 Multiculturalism and Diversity and EDUC 6340 Bilingual and Bicultural counseling coursework. Reflective writing or research assignments will be in all classes with specialized research focus on the EDUC 5307 Research Methodology, EDUC 6319 Psychopathology, EDUC 6320 Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction, and EDUC 6350 Counseling and the Neurosciences coursework.

Placement and Employment of Graduates
The faculty in the Counseling Program at Sul Ross State University campuses in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Uvalde have been tracking job placements of graduates since 2000. A large share of the follow-up tracking was accomplished through the graduate student – alumni organization maintained by the Graduate Counseling Club. Throughout 18 years, the Counseling Program maintained 100% placement in counseling positions for graduates who were willing and able to commute or relocate. Schools and community agencies in Texas and outside the state are desperate to hire counselors who are trained and skilled at bilingual and bicultural counseling. All graduates of the Counseling Program are well versed in these vital elements of the active counseling relation in Southwest Texas and the U.S. – Mexico border region. However, at least 90% of the program graduates are not occupationally mobile outside of the south and central regions of Texas. They are unwilling to relocate to other states for employment. Typically, characteristic of the dominant cultural value of familismo, program graduates do not want to be more than half a day’s drive from their family members. Many remain in the same jobs they had while they completed the M.Ed. Moreover, they simply wait for relevant counseling jobs to become available.
At least 85% of the students in the Counseling Program were born and raised in the bicultural and bilingual enclave of South Texas. Although most of those individuals would likely say that they are dominant English speakers because they were completely educated on the north side of the Rio Grande River, only about 10% of graduate students consider themselves to be monolingual English speakers. In the Counseling Program, in addition to training the bilingual students on the use of language choice as a counseling strategy, all students are instructed on strategies for counseling bilingual clients with whom there is no common language. Thus, monolingual English-speaking counselors learn strategies and techniques for effectively using language in the counseling relationship. Demographers project that by the year 2040, 60% of Texas will be of Latino ethnicity, yet less than 68% of them will have a high school diploma. The need to train professional counselors who are specialists in bilingual and bicultural counseling will rise at an exponential rate over the next 25 years.

From 2011 through the spring of 2018, a total of 76 degrees were conferred. Follow-up research found that one graduate is currently employed as an agent for the Border Patrol, two graduates are currently unemployed by choice, eight are working as teachers in the public schools of the region, and the employment placements of the other 65 are presented.

Job Demands and Employment Data Trends
Prospective and current graduate students are provided with information about the projected employment trends in the state of Texas. The employment outlook indicates that the need for counselors trained to work with the aging population will increase more than 35% through the year 2025 in Texas.

According to the Texas Workforce Informer (2014) the demands for community mental health counselors, an agency, institution or private practice settings, will grow more than 25% through the year 2020; the need for professional school counselors will rise by 30%; the demand for marriage and family counselors will increase by 27%; the need for counselors with strong backgrounds in substance abuse and addiction will grow by at least 20%.
The Counseling Program faculty members routinely receive requests, reports, and communications from the numerous human resource departments in area school districts regarding job openings for certified school counselors, all of which are directly promoted to the students who are close to finishing the program, as well as to various alumni. Each year there are at least three to four counseling positions that go unfilled in the schools in the thirteen county middle Rio Grande region. In June 2013, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 460 as part of the Student Safety National Alliance Summit. This law requires that public school teachers receive training in the detection and education of students who are at risk for suicide or with other mental or emotional disorders. This law also calls for the inclusion of mental health issues within coordinated school health efforts. Even though the law went into effect in September 2013, school districts have not been consistent in their efforts to meet these new requirements. The passage of this law placed increased professional demands on certified school counselors.

In response to a very recent and horrific school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott strongly encouraged school districts to employ more counselors in schools to help address student mental health issues in order to decrease and prevent school violence and mass shootings. The Governor recommended that school districts find money to hire more counselors and allow them to focus on the social, psychological, and emotional adjustment of students rather than devoting valuable professional time to tasks like course scheduling and college admissions. Governor Abbott argued that the school counselor is typically the only person on campus trained in mental health issues.

Career Pathways
A counseling degree can open up a number of career paths for those interested in helping others; depending on an individual preference, graduates might consider mental health counseling, vocational and career counseling, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, or marriage and family counseling. The following are some areas of career focus.

Private Practice Military Officer Career Counselor
Clinical Practice at a Hospital, Clinic or Nursing Home Homeland Security – Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor School or College Counselor
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Employee Assistance Counselor
Victim Deployment Team – Mental Health
Assessment Specialist
Veteran’s Administration
Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor
Readjustment Counselor
Consultant: School, Local, City, State and Federal Government Agencies, For-Profit and Non-Profit organizations
Substance Abuse Counselor Researcher Court Appointed Couple/Marriage Facilitator

A Master or Doctorate in Counseling provides the recipient with a vast array of career opportunities outside the counselor profession as well. The education provided and the skills development process prepares the guidance to work in areas that require analytical, reasoning, logical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.