How to Become a Counselor for Teenagers? (Updated 2024)

Teenage life is the most challenging as they go through various changes. Changes in their environment, bullying at schools, anger issues, etc., make it difficult for the adolescent to open up with others. One of my cousins had faced these issues when she was a teenager. When she grew up, her only dream was to help other students facing such issues. She told me about her dream and was confused about how to become a counselor for teenagers. I really wanted to help. Thus, I quickly offered her my help. We both did a quick research and got the procedure of becoming a counselor.

I know, like her, you may also want to become a counselor but don’t know how to start the journey. Make yourself free from this confusion by reading the guide below.

Quick Takeaways

  • Counselors for teen counseling help teenagers boost their self-esteem and also help to develop skills like anger management
  • To become a teen counselor you must complete the education, gain the necessary experience, get the license, and start practicing. 
How to Become a Counselor for Teenagers?

What is teen counseling?

Teen counseling helps teenagers with their anxiety, depression, and other related issues. Therapists for teen counseling help teenagers boost their self-esteem and also help to develop skills like anger management. As a teenager counselor, you will connect with the teenagers emotionally and mentally. Also, find out what are the problems faced by them. For this, ensure they open up with you. You have to be very patient and calm while treating them. To help them, you must meet them, and talk to them live on video chat or over a call. 

Types of Teen Counselors

Although the process of becoming a counselor for teenagers is the same, some areas like gaining experience may depend upon the type of teen counselor. Depending upon the problem faced by teenagers, there are different types of therapists or counselors

1. Behavioral Counselors

Behavioral therapists or Counselors are those who help teens to change their behavior against anger, anxiety, etc. As a behavioral counselor, you will not cure the problem but will advise on how to change your behavior with the problem. There are mainly two methods that you will follow-

a. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

You will find out how the patients react to their anxiety or anger issues and will help them change their thoughts and reactions. 

b. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

It is somehow related to the CBT method and helps the patient to know how to deal with relationships.

How to Become a Counselor for Teenagers?

4. Family therapists

They are the ones who are in contact with the patient’s family to help the family communicate with the teen more effectively. You will be counseling the family members on how to behave or communicate when they are around the teen.

5. School-based Counselors

Most high schools have counselors that help teens with the problems that they may be facing in school. As a school-based counselor, you will be dealing with problems related to bullying, or related to studying. 

6. Group therapists

Teen therapy sometimes includes Group therapy for treating the teens. In this therapy, there is one or more than 1 counselor and a group of teens going through some difficulties. You will help the students to communicate with each other and make them trust other people. Group therapy is generally taken by teens who are struggling with substance abuse or eating disorders.

7. Other therapists

Many times your teen feels difficulty even opening up with the counselors. In such a case the best therapy that may help them is by appointing art therapists. You may even involve animals or other activities that will help them.

How to Become a Counselor for Teenagers?

How to Become a Counselor for Teenagers?

Now that you know the types, here is a guide on how to become a teen counselor-

1. Educational Background

To start with, obviously, you need education qualifications to become a teen counselor. In most cases, you must keep your major as Psychology for your Bachelor’s. After completing a bachelor’s, you must go for a master’s. You may need to take a Master of Arts in Counseling or a Master in Social Work. Also today there are lots of online programs that are available related to it. You can avail of any of them to get started.

2. Gaining Experience

Having relevant experience is necessary to get a license. You would need 3000 hours of clinical practice to become LCSW whereas to become LMHC and LMFT you need 3000-4000 hours. Try to take up voluntary projects to get some experience along with your studies. Do various internships related to your field. This will help you to get the required experience for becoming a counselor.

3. Applying for the license

How to Become a Counselor for Teenagers?

There are two types of licenses that you may apply for – Provisional and State licenses. To get the provisional license, you must complete the required amount of hours but for a state license, you will have to clear exams of the Association of Exam Boards and National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. If you have a state license you can work legally for 2-3 years and after that, you will have to renew it.

4. Start legal Practise

Once you have completed all the procedures, and get the license, you can start your legal practices. You can start a private practice or else you can also go for government practice. 

 How much does a Teen counselor earn?

You will be shocked to hear that job openings in this field are expected to increase by 22% by the end of 2028, according to BSL. This means that it is one of the rapidly growing sectors. Also, the statistics of BSL show that the median annual salary of a teen counselor is $46,240.


In the teenage years, many children face difficult situations to deal with. They might have anger, anxiety, or any other kind of issues. For this, it becomes important to appoint a teen counselor. If you love to help others, you may have thought to become one. In such a scenario, it is important to know the procedure. Like any other path, you will have to complete your education first. Remember to keep your major as Psychology. Once you have completed your education, you must gain experience and apply for a license. Finally, when you get it, you can start your legal practice.

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