HIV/AIDS Health Counselor Jobs: Training, Salary and Career Facts

HIV/AIDS counselors provide valuable services to clients and families affected by the disease. Get information about educational requirements as well as employment options and salary data. Schools offering Community Health Education & Advocacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Education Do HIV/AIDS Counselors Need?

The educational and licensing requirements for becoming a counselor vary by state and by counseling specialty. You'll find training and education in HIV/AIDS counseling through undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education courses in an academic counseling program or through government and organizational training and certification programs. The educational and licensing requirements for becoming a counselor vary by state and by counseling specialty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master's degree is typically the minimum educational requirement for becoming a certified or licensed counselor (www.bls.gov).

Government training courses may instruct you on specific community practices and sociological considerations. You may learn how to develop and maintain long-term care counseling services for patients and their families. You may also have the opportunity to gain experience working with community outreach organizations. In undergraduate coursework, which you might find within a social work degree program, you may study the epidemiology and history of the disease from a medical and social standpoint, methods of prevention, community outreach techniques and public policy concerning safety practices, confidentiality and disclosure.

What Will I Learn in a Graduate Program?

If you want to work toward becoming a licensed or certified HIV/AIDS counselor, you might choose degree programs in psychology or human services. You may study the ways in which prevention and treatment strategies affect communities. You may compare the effectiveness of different delivery systems of counseling and treatment services. Graduate coursework may require you to complete a position paper analyzing the impact of social policies and developing your own proactive prevention and treatment strategies.

What Are My Career Options?

Many HIV/AIDS counselors are employed by local governmental health agencies or non-profit organizations. Your work may be community-based, focusing on public health counseling catering to specific regions, cities or neighborhoods, or you may choose to assist outreach and educational programs that provide care and medical services to high-risk populations throughout the world.

As an HIV/AIDS counseling professional, you'll follow state and federal regulations regarding patient testing, confidentiality and disclosure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides guidelines for proper testing and case management (www.cdc.gov).

What Salary Could I Expect?

Salaries for HIV/AIDS counselors may be somewhat lower than averages for other mental health counselors. According to SimplyHired.com, the 2011 U.S. average salary for HIV/AIDS counselors was $33,000 per year, as opposed to $37,000 per year for all mental health counselors.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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