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How do I Become an Adoption Counselor?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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An individual who wants to become an adoption counselor typically completes high school and then goes on to college to earn a degree in a social-services-related field. A person may pursue this career after earning a bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years to complete. In some cases, however, aspiring counselors go on to pursue advanced degrees, which may require them to spend an additional year or two on their education. While a bachelor’s degree is enough to land a job as an adoption counselor, earning a master’s degree may make a person more hirable.

A person who wants to become an adoption counselor plans to make a career of assisting people through the adoption process. This may mean offering advice and insight into adoption, helping a family or individual prepare to adopt, or facilitating adoption-related services. Sometimes it may even mean working with children who need adoptive parents and biological parents of adoptive children as well.

Entry-level positions for adoption counselors typically require a successful job candidate to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a social-service-related field. For example, an individual may seek a degree in social work or counseling. Alternatively, an aspiring counselor may seek a degree in psychology, or in some cases, education, in preparation for this career. Some employers prefer to avoid hiring adoption counselors who are fresh out of college, so an aspiring counselor may need to obtain at least a little social work experience before competing for this job. For advancement in this position, an adoption counselor may need at least a master’s degree and several years of experience helping people through the adoption process.

Sometimes a person who wants to become an adoption counselor gains valuable experience in this field by completing an internship with an adoption center. Many aspiring counselors apply for these internships while they are still in college. After the aspiring counselor completes such an internship, he may receive a job offer from the agency with which he worked. If not, he may find it easier to secure a job with another agency because of his work experience.

In addition to education, a person who wants to become an adoption counselor usually needs to understand his jurisdiction’s adoption laws and processes. He should also understand the psychological aspects involved in adoption as they relate to the biological parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children. Additionally, knowledge of the rights of birth parents and paternity issues is critical.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Practical Adult Insights writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By DJDezzy — On Apr 11, 2013

Also I wanted to know is if I should take Spanish. Will it help me?

By DJDezzy — On Apr 11, 2013

I'm in high school, and I want to know what classes I should take so I can be ready to be an adoption counselor?

By anon301004 — On Nov 01, 2012

@anon299324: I am about ready to graduate from high school this year. I would definitely recommend taking a psychology class, and AP psychology if your school offers it and if you can handle the course load (in like maybe our junior year.) Also make sure you take four years of math (most schools recommend it anyway) and four years of english.

Also, if you school offers child development classes and parenting classes, take those too, because then you can learn about how children think and how they react. Take care now. --Katrina

By anon299324 — On Oct 24, 2012

I am about to go into high school and I want to make sure I take the right classes to become an adoption counselor. So can someone let me know what those are?

By MrSmirnov — On Sep 01, 2011

I imagine that becoming an adoption counselor would be pretty tough because there are so many issues that come up with the families involved. Choosing a child and going forward with the adoption process is not an easy matter. It can be very time-consuming and expensive.

My brother was adopted after I was already on my own, and my parents went through a lot of stress with their adoption counselor. The counselor was well-informed, but sometimes things come up that are just beyond their control. I think it takes someone really special to be able to handle the pressure and stress that comes with any counseling job.

By manykitties2 — On Sep 01, 2011

A good idea for those that already have a bachelor's degree is to pursue a master's degree in counseling. There are actually programs you can take nearly completely online that cover a lot of the methodology and practical aspects of counseling.

With online master's courses in counseling there is usually a portion done on campus if you do it through a reputable school. You may even be able to find a school that has specific courses on adoption counseling. Having a master's degree is a surefire way though, to put your application at the top of the pile.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Practical Adult Insights writer, where she focuses on topics...
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