Completion of a master’s degree in counseling is often a prerequisite for many counseling jobs, especially those requiring state licensure. Graduate programs in counseling are available in all 50 states. These programs build on the foundation laid by a bachelor’s degree in counseling, focusing on different counseling settings and other specializations. The degree prepares graduates for careers as drug abuse counselors, school counselors or private psychiatrists. A field-based service or practicum component is usually incorporated into online counseling master’s degree requirements. Some graduates go on to obtain an online PhD in counseling to practice psychology or teach in higher education.
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Students can pursue one of several different degrees. The following is a list of some of the types of master’s degrees in counseling that students typically choose:
Completing an online master’s degree in counseling usually takes about 2 years or 37 quarter-credit hours.
The theories and practices prepare students to provide state-licensed services at hospitals, schools, churches or a number of other settings. Regardless of location, counseling students learn about behavioral therapies, emotional development and the effect of culture on psychology.
Some key areas that an online master’s degree in counseling may include:
A bachelor’s degree in counseling in a related field is generally required. Related fields include psychology, sociology, behavioral science, social work and education.
Most graduate programs in counseling require the following:
Professionals looking to make a career out of helping people in need can find a spot for themselves in the field of counseling. Counselors with a master’s degree will have a much easier time getting hired and working in positions that offer higher salaries. Because counseling is a career which deals with mental state and health, six years of education is necessary to be hired by many organizations, schools, corporations or to go into private business. Salaries for counseling professionals range from $44,000 to $140,000 for different positions. While salary is mainly dependent on job title and location, going to the right school can also be helpful.
Counseling professionals will benefit their career by specializing in a niche track. These specialties include clinical mental health, trauma, counseling psychology, professional counseling, school counseling, substance abuse, rehabilitation and more. Many programs will offer in-field experience for students in their specialty of interest to further skills and help students get a leg up when it comes time to apply for jobs. Some job possibilities students can consider:
Certification is required for many counseling positions as well as better pay. For example, a mental health counselor makes $30,325-$53,872/year, but a licensed professional counselor makes up to $62,848, and a marriage/family therapist (certified) can make up to $140,000/year. Most graduate programs offer a certification track where students graduate ready to take their certification exams or with the qualifications and in-field hours required to be certified on the spot.