Many graduates of GRTS’s Master of Arts in counseling program choose to pursue traditional counseling careers in agency or private practice settings. Although this is the most common career path, many choose other vocational avenues. We have alumni serving as human resources directors, professors, church ministry leaders and university student development staff. I also chose to go a non-traditional path by stepping into higher education administration. This was not my original plan when starting seminary, but by the time I finished I knew traditional counseling was not my future.
My internship experiences were extremely valuable for helping me discern this. I interned in two agencies, which gave me phenomenal experience in the realm of outpatient counseling. But that experience also confirmed that full time counseling was not the direction I wanted to pursue. I ended up pursuing a role as the director of admissions for GRTS, and 4 years later, the position of associate dean of students. I now serve as the associate dean and feel that my counseling degree prepared me tremendously for this career.
As the associate dean, I regularly interact with students who are preparing for ministry and discerning where God is leading them. I walk with them through valleys in their lives, mountains they have conquered, and roads they are journeying along. My counseling degree equipped me to sit with them, to listen, to engage their concerns proactively and to gently guide as they discern where God is leading next. I have had the privilege of seeing students restored from unhealthy situations and relationships. Unfortunately, I have also seen students who continue to struggle cyclically through the same detrimental paths they have journeyed many times before. I have prayed with them that God will restore them through their faithful commitment to serving him.
I am thankful for the education I received as a counseling student. When I am asked why I’m “not using my counseling degree,” I respond that I am using it every day in the capacity God has lead me.