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Career Plan Instructions

The purpose of this assignment is to prepare you for the next step after you have earned your undergraduate degree. This multi-step project involves planning for alternatives.

Here are the steps you will take to complete this assignment:

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1. Section 1 – Salary Discussion: Look up the job you are interested in having in the future. Make sure you notice the salaries and whether they differ by state.

2. Section 2- Graduate School or Marketability- If this position requires a graduate degree, look up the cost of different graduate programs to determine what is the highest and lowest cost of this graduate degree. Discuss the cost and the time it will take to complete a graduate degree if this career/job requires it. Include whether you are willing to take the economic risk of going to graduate school? If it does not require a graduate degree, discussed in this section how they can improve their marketability while they’re earning their bachelor’s degree? For example, internships, volunteering, etc. How can they obtain these opportunities while at FIU?

3. Section 3- Resume: You will then prepare or update a resume for job applications. Please use the following resume guide from FIU’s Career & Talent Development to help you develop or update your resume:

· https://spark.adobe.com/page/NshJo1ncwAH70/: Choose the appropriate resume to reflect your career goals.

· https://linkedinlearning.fiu.edu: Search for ‘resume’ in the search bar.

· Your resume should not exceed one page. If the job you’re looking for requires a graduate degree, your resume should then reflect that (you will pretend that you have a graduate degree—the goal here is to give you the opportunity to become informed about the degree you would need for this position).

4. Research your Parallel Plan: Now, imagine if your ideal career ceases to exist. Perhaps the robots can do it now, or you are unable to get the degree needed to be eligible for that job, or maybe it becomes obsolete for some other reason. You will need to create a parallel or alternate plan. To do so, you will first identify your career-related interests, abilities, values, and goals.

Your parallel plan should be a different career than the original career goal you had in mind. If your plan is to go into a healthcare profession, your parallel plan should be a career goal outside of the healthcare field. For example, if your career goal is to become a doctor then your parallel plan can be to become a school counselor for the K-12 school system. This way you are exploring and learning about diverse career options that can be a great fit for you.

Think about the following questions (this is brain storming part- you do not need to include this in the paper):

· Why am I interested in pursuing (insert your top choice major here)?

· What do I like most about my current major of interest?

· What classes have I performed well in and what classes have I disliked or struggled with the most?

· What specific careers interest me and why?

· What types of work environments do I prefer?

· What companies would I love to work for and what is my dream job?

· Explore different Majors within your Academic Unit, College, School, etc.

· Look up job opportunities that can be done with the same degree you are earning now. Take note of the fact that the alternate job you’re interested in requires a different degree and consider if you’d be willing to go back to school for another degree.

· Pay attention to the job salaries for these alternate jobs/careers.

5. Section 4: Parallel Plan – Create your parallel plan. When developing a parallel plan, answer the following questions in your plan: (REQUIRED)

· Are there any common courses between my current major of interest and my alternative major choice?

· What courses differ between these majors?

· Are there any application requirements or admission standards that I should know about?

6. Once you have completed all of the above steps, you will prepare document you will be submitting. The document must have the following four sections:

· Current job Salary Discussion

· Graduate School or Marketability

· A one-page resume ready for applying to the job you are interested in pursuing currently.

· Discuss your parallel plan with the alternate job(s) you might pursue instead. Specifically, identify and mention what that job/career would be and discuss why you chose it. You must answer the questions included in step 5 above, and feel free to include other questions you considered in the steps above while developing your parallel plan. Make sure you include what the salaries are and if they differ by city, state or region. Discuss whether you would or would not be willing to go back to school to get the degree or courses required for the alternate job (or if you can complete these requirements currently while earning your current degree). Finally, discuss how job application and resume writing might be different (if at all) with this alternate job versus the current job you are planning on pursuing.


Career Plan: Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Florida International UniversityGerardoCuadraRectangle


Career Plan: Licensed Mental Health Counselor

For many years I was perfectly content with my job as a healthcare professional, and

even thought of it as a career path that was worth following. Most of my colleagues had

Baccalaureate degrees in healthcare administration or psychology, but my years of experience

were enough to help me move up in the field. Slowly, an inescapable feeling of restlessness built

to the surface, a feeling I now attribute to lack of purpose. In my current profession, I often

encounter people in distress, people who are ill or caring for ill family members, people who

struggle to balance physical, financial, and psychological burdens. I’ve always felt a desire to

help them deal with their struggles, and eventually found my purpose in that desire. I am now

pursuing a career in clinical mental health counseling by first earning my bachelor’s in

psychology, and then master’s in professional counseling psychology.

My current major has proven very interesting, aside from the social impacts that its

practice will eventually have on the daily lives of others. Particularly, courses in personality

theory, psychopathology, and psychotherapy have been immensely interesting. Additionally,

courses heavy on statistics such as research methods and psychological testing have also been

challenging and thought-provoking. Even the most challenging course, behavior analysis, was


Current Job Salary Discussion

Pursuing a career change at this stage in my life was not motivated by financial gain, but

rather by a calling. Eventually, I hope to work in an environment where direct contact with

clients will help them rediscover or build the strength to deal with their life stressors

appropriately, improving their quality of life. Ideally, I’d like to work for community outreach

centers that service disadvantaged populations. Unsurprisingly, salaries for my aspired career are


not very high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), the average national salary for

marriage and family counselors is $50,000 a year. In Miami, the average yearly salary for

licensed mental health counselors is below the national average, at $49,000 (Pay Scale, 2020).

Salaries vary greatly by years of experience and specialty. Nationally, the lowest ten percent

earns under $31,850 a year, while the highest ten percent earns $82,240 a year (Bureau of Labor

Statistics, 2019). Additionally, wages also fluctuate from state to state and even amongst cities

within the same state. For example, Miami’s top earners in the field net $72,000, while Tampa’s

top earners clear $101,000 a year (Pay Scale, 2020). By comparison, licensed mental health

counselors (LMHC) in New York, NY, average $48,000 yearly, and LMHCs in San Diego, CA,

average $53,000 a year (Pay Scale, 2020).

Graduate School or Marketability

In order to practice as a LMHC, I must take the GRE, be accepted to and complete a

master’s program in professional counseling psychology, complete 1500 hours of direct client

contact as a MHC intern, pass several post-graduation courses, and then sit for the National

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHE) (Florida International University,

2020). The required graduate degree typically takes two years to complete, and the clinical hours

of intern experience must be completed in a minimum of two years. In order to improve my

marketability while in the lengthy process that precedes licensure, I plan on attending relevant

conferences where I may learn and broaden my network, and also hope that I’ll be able to

transfer my current employment to a mental health facility. The cost of graduate school varies

greatly by institution. At FIU, the approximate total cost of the program is $28,560 (Florida

International University, 2020). Albizu University offers a masters in mental health counseling at

an approximate cost of $39,752 (Albizu University, 2020). Other private institutions have


prohibitive program costs, such as Nova Southeastern University’s $55,000 MS in counseling

(Nova Southeastern University, 2020). Given the expected yearly salary, I aim to gain

acceptance at FIU or Albizu University. FIU’s program in professional counseling psychology is

my first choice not only because of the cost and quality, but also because students graduate with

1,000 clinical hours under their belt, making the goal of licensure attainable a year sooner than in

comparable programs.

Parallel Plan Discussion

If some unforeseen life event prevents me from ever becoming a clinical mental health

counselor, I’d focus on a career that would still fulfill my purpose of assisting people in need.

Licensed clinical social workers serve the public in similar ways, and would thus be my next

choice in career path. However, assignment instructions recommend that we look outside of our

current major for alternate career paths. I feel that nursing would also fulfil my desire to live a

purposeful life that enriches or improves the lives of others. None of my upper division

psychology courses are applicable to nursing, but having a double bachelor’s can assist me in

securing a nursing position at a mental health facility. Fortunately, my associates in science

degree had a pre-nursing concentration, so I would not need to take the nursing school

prerequisites. I would still have to take the entrance examinations, HESI or TEAS, in order to

apply. It would take two to three years to obtain a BSN, an endeavor I’d be willing to take on if

graduate school acceptance becomes unattainable. The cost of a BS ranges from program to

program. The most affordable local program is available at Miami Dade College for $16,237

(Miami Dade College, 2020). Private institutions offer nursing degrees at a much higher cost, for

example, NSU’s 81 credit program runs for approximately $65,000 (Nova Southeastern

University, 2020). Salaries for nurses with a BSN are considerably higher than salaries for


LMHCs. National average yearly salaries range from $50,800 to $106,500, with a median of

$71,730 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Locally, annual wages in Miami range from $48,200

to $83,500, but are much higher in other areas of the country such as San Diego, where they

range from $59,800 to $112,00 (Pay Scale, 2020). Compiling a resume for entry level nursing

positions would still include my relevant healthcare experience and direct patient contact, it

would just reflect a different degree.

“I declare that this assignment is my own work and that I have correctly acknowledged the work

of others. This assignment is in accordance with University and School guidance on good

academic conduct (and how to avoid plagiarism and other assessment irregularities).”





Albizu University. (2020). Master of science in psychology (M.S.) major in mental health

counseling. Retrieved February 1, 2020, from



Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2019, September 4). Occupational

outlook handbook: Marriage and family therapists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2019, September 4). Occupational

outlook handbook: Registered nurses. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-


Florida International University. (2020). Department of Psychology: Getting licensed. Retrieved

February 1, 2020, from https://psychology.fiu.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/MS-


Florida International University. (2020). Office of finance and administration. Retrieved

February 1, 2020, from http://finance.fiu.edu/controller/UG_Calculator.htm

Miami Dade College. (2020). Academics. Retrieved February 1, 2020, from


Nova Southeastern University. (2020). Master of science (M.S.) in counseling program: College

of psychology. Retrieved February 1, 2020, from



Nova Southeastern University. (2020). Entry bachelors of science in nursing program: BSN

degree: Nova southeastern university. Retrieved February 1, 2020, from


Pay Scale. (n.d.). Average licensed mental health counselor salary in Miami, Florida. Retrieved

February 1, 2020, from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/


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