A person who wants to work as an adoption counselor usually finishes high school before enrolling in college to pursue a degree in a social-services-related field. After earning a bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years to complete, a person can pursue this career. However, some aspiring counselors go on to pursue advanced degrees, which may require them to continue their education for another year or two. While a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for employment as an adoption counselor, a master’s degree may increase one’s employability.
A person who wants to work as an adoption counselor wants to help people through the adoption process as a career. This could include providing adoption advice and insight, assisting a family or individual in preparing to adopt, or facilitating adoption-related services. It may also entail working with children in need of adoptive parents as well as biological parents of adopted children.
Adoption counselor entry-level positions typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in a social-service-related field. A person might pursue a degree in social work or counseling, for example. In order to prepare for this career, an aspiring counselor may pursue a degree in psychology or, in some cases, education. Because some employers prefer not to hire adoption counselors who are fresh out of college, an aspiring counselor may need to get some social work experience before applying for this position. An adoption counselor may need a master’s degree and several years of experience assisting people through the adoption process to advance in this position.
An internship with an adoption center can help a person who wants to become an adoption counselor gain valuable experience in the field. While still in college, many aspiring counselors apply for these internships. After completing such an internship, the aspiring counselor may receive a job offer from the agency with which he worked. If not, his work experience may make it easier for him to find work with another agency.
In addition to education, a person who wants to work as an adoption counselor should be familiar with the adoption laws and procedures in his or her jurisdiction. He should also be aware of the psychological aspects of adoption, particularly as they pertain to biological parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children. Furthermore, understanding the rights of birth parents and paternity issues is essential.