Today, although most counseling center directors are clinical or counseling psychologists, some are psychiatrists and some centers are merged with health services. In the 1980s, staff at counseling centers at small schools began to notice a higher demand for services and greater severity of problems. Staffing trends in the 1980s called for more broad training of staff. By far, psychologists are the largest group of counseling center directors, with counseling psychologists still representing the highest percentage within the group. More psychologists and social workers staffed counseling centers with psychiatrists providing part-time hours, sometimes in a strictly consultative role. Peer counselors or educators are usually undergraduate students who provide basic helping services to other students. Advancement of staff would be considered an important aspect of professional development to staff counselors with career aspirations of working in college counseling centers as a career.
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The college counseling center provides a diverse clinical experience to graduate trainees. Counseling centers have the ability to provide training for a range of disciplines, including counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and other professionals. Master’s-level internship experiences differ from practicum experiences in the number of hours required, the comprehensive nature of training, and the building of a professional identity as a counselor. The doctoral practicum is also an opportunity to amass clinical hours in preparation for applying to a predoctoral internship. Obtaining an internship is an intensive, costly, and at times confusing process. Postdoctoral fellowships in counseling centers can be either formal or informal. Supervision is one of the most critical aspects of counseling center training. Professional development opportunities allow trainees to develop in their professional identities, connect with other trainees and professionals in the community, and build a framework for active postgraduate professional participation.