What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are worksite-based programs used to help identify and resolve employees’ personal concerns. They offer free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems.
Career Path: Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
EAP Counselor; Financial Counselor
What You Will Do:
EAP professionals address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems and psychological disorders.
While title and duties can vary greatly among providers some typical duties include:
- Serve in a consultative role with managers and supervisors to address employee and organizational challenges and needs.
- Help organizations prevent and cope with workplace violence, trauma, and other emergency response situations.
- Provide financial counseling services to eligible employees including debt management, budgeting, saving, and retirement counseling.
- Collaborate with other counselors and provide/accept referrals as appropriate.
What Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Will Make You Successful:
- Knowledge of financial counseling principles, theories, and practices.
- Ability to apply social services principles, theories, and practices.
- Ability to analyze social and behavioral data to assess trends.
- Skill in oral and written communications.
Where You Should Start:
Most positions will require at least a Bachelor’s degree and a professional certification in the field, including the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) certification.
EAP professionals are starting to enter into the financial counseling/planning space given the connection between stress and finances. Work productivity has also been linked to financial problems in the research.
While some companies are able to support an EAP internally, many companies contract with a third party (i.e. Ceridian, Cigna, CompPsych, E4 Health, HRI, etc.) to provide services to their employees. In either case a financial counselor may either be hired directly by the EAP or establish a relationship by which they receive referrals from the EAP.
For more information on financial planning within EAPs, read the article “Financial Planners and Employee Assistance Programs: An Opportunity for Practice Building” (http://www.iarfc.org/documents/issues/Vol.5Issue1.pdf)
Your Salary Potential:
The average salary of an EAP Counselor will vary depending on your location, experience, expertise, etc.
The median expected salary for a typical EAP Counselor is about $61,000 a year, but this can range from $50,000 to over $80,000 (Source:http://www1.salary.com/EAP-Counselor-Salary.html)