HIV/AIDS Counselors and Case Managers
HIV/AIDS counselors and case managers work for hospitals, hospices, HIV testing centers, public health clinics, mental health clinics, social service agencies, Red Cross offices, Planned Parenthood centers, and various AIDS service organizations. They may also work for regional AIDS consortia organized by health officials, religious leaders, educators, business leaders, and AIDS service representatives.
New graduates may begin their job searches at the career services centers of their colleges. They might also apply directly to any area social service, health, or AIDS service organizations. Some openings for HIV/AIDS counselors or case managers might be advertised in the classified sections of local newspapers. Membership in a professional organization, such as the American Counseling Association, might also provide the job seeker with leads through publications, meetings, or job banks. Additionally, graduates may look for internship opportunities. Through such internships, graduates can hone professional skills as well as make professional contacts that may lead to later full-time employment.
Counselors and case managers who work for large organizations will have more opportunities for advancement than those who work for smaller ones. In a large organization, for example, the counselor with education and experience might move into an administrative position, such as senior trainer or program director. Because smaller organizations, especially not-for-profit organizations, usually have small staffs, advancement is often slow and limited.
Those who continue their education may have a wider range of possibilities for advancement. Counselors who complete a master's degree in social work or rehabilitative counseling, for example, might be employed by social welfare agencies as medical or psychiatric social workers, child protective workers, rehabilitative counselors, or parole or probation officers. These fields have a broader scope of advancement opportunities.
Finally, some who continue their education elect to go into research or teaching at the college level.
Tips for Entry
In high school, volunteer to work in a hospital helping patients or volunteer with HIV/AIDS advocacy or education groups.
Research organizations such as amfAR, UNAIDS, and The Names Project to become familiar with the history and current events of HIV/AIDS.
Consult the career office at your college for internship opportunities in the field of health care, specifically those related to HIV/AIDS.
Speak to a school counselor about joining or establishing a school group for peer counseling.