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Career Services Spotlight Transcripts

Transcript: Career Transition from Military to Counseling

RECORDING OF: YouTube Video Career Spotlight: Career Transition from Military to Counseling

TRANSCRIBED: March 20, 2015

FOR: Walden University


(Denise):  I'm Denise Pranke, careers services advisor at Walden University. I met Steve Zappala at the New Orleans residency. He shares his story about the transition from the military to a career in counseling.

(Steven):  Hi, my name is Steven Zappala. So I'm in the Ph.D. program for counseling, education, and supervision. So I work in a hospital setting, and I am a clinical mental health counselor. Well, I spent over 25 years in the army, and when I got out, I had to transition to a new career. After about a year, almost two years retiring from the Army, I went to a career counselor, and I was able to find some of the skills that I had in the military were transferrable to a career in counseling. And in leadership positions, you have to use counseling skills. We train our soldiers to be counselors and to -- to help people in their lives, both professional and personal issues, all the time, as part of being a leader in the Army. Whether or a non-commission officer or an officer. We gain a lot of skills in order to be able to do that. So it's always been part of my life in the Army. Having left and then transitioned, I also then began to see how -- how important clinical mental health counseling was to others, as well as to myself. And I felt like I would like to be able to use the skill I had in the Army and the skills I was learning personally from my own professional development, to give back and help others.

 In order to find a position in the mental health counseling field, I had to first go through my courses, and my master's program, and in order to do that, I had to have an internship and a practicum. So once I was able to achieve a practicum position, it really opened the door up to me, to learn more about the community in which I was practicing in. Other networking opportunities became available in that position and I got to learn who else did the same type of counseling that I was doing at the time. And from there, I was able to really feel more confident about myself, and feel more able to know who I wanted to work for next. And a lot of opportunities became available, just by that first practicum experience. So one of the reasons I came to Walden was to pursue my doctorate degree, and here at Walden, there had been many opportunities to network in that area for my doctorate degree. In the residencies we get an opportunity to meet the faculty, we get a chance to meet our academic advisors, we get a chance to meet the staff, and all the administration and logistics that we need in order to be successful in our program. And without that opportunity, I think it would be really difficult. My experience, up to this point, has been that the more opportunities that I have had to be able to connect with others and like-minded people, fellow students, the staff and faculty, the better off, you know, that I've been. Walden has been fantastic. The students that I've met so far have been -- just been able to relate to and work with, and really experienced way. More so than a lot of other experiences I've had in the past.


[This text is being provided in a rough-draft format to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings]