First, to become a licensed professional counselor, you’ll need to pursue a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited college or university.
Then, after you’ve completed your degree program, you’ll still have to complete around 2,000 hours of supervised work before you are eligible to apply for your state license (this number varies from state-to-state).
This is a lot of work, but you’ll receive professional training from experienced educators on how to counsel people using various contemporary therapies. You will also have completed a significant number of supervised therapy hours, hopefully working with a diverse caseload.
At the heart of both professions lies a desire to help people through difficult circumstances. The process of becoming a Professional Counselor or Life Coach is vastly different. To some degree, which path you choose depends on what you aspire to do in your career. If you want to be fully equipped for the helping profession, then make the commitment and sacrifice to become a Professional Counselor. If you’re looking to assist co-workers, family, and friends with challenging life circumstances, but do not have the time or finances needed to complete a graduate degree in counseling, Life Coaching may be a more reasonable and affordable option for you. Either way, it’s a big decision and one that should not be made until you’ve weighed all of your options.
Best wishes on your decision and on your future career path in the helping profession.